April 24, 2009
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Eight early runs were not enough for the Saint Joseph's baseball team on Friday afternoon as Rhode Island took the first of a weekend set, 16-8, at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. SJU's Dewey Oriente put the Hawks on top in the second inning with a grand slam, but the Rams scored 12 unanswered runs to cruise to the victory.
Rhode Island (27-13-1, 13-2 Atlantic 10) took the lead right away, plating a pair of runs on a two-out RBI double by Rob DeVeney in the top of the first.
Saint Joseph's (14-20-1, 7-8 Atlantic 10) answered immediately as the first four runners of the inning reached base. With the bases loaded and no out, David Valesente extended his hitting streak to 18 games with an RBI single to left to score Mike Plakis. Two batters later, a Drew Smith sacrifice fly brought home Joe Cook to tie the game before DeVeney's diving attempt to catch a liner from Ryan McDonald was unsuccessful, allowing Dewey Oriente to score and put the Hawks ahead, 3-2.
URI tied it with two outs in the second on a double by Zoey Angulo, but SJU rebounded quickly, putting a four-spot on the board to take a 7-3 lead. After a pair of singles by Mike Coleman and Plakis to lead off the inning, Cook was hit in the head with a pitch to load the bases. The SJU medical staff tended to Cook before he walked off the field on his own power, replaced on the basepaths by Mike Boyland. The next hitter was Oriente, who hit a titanic grand slam home run to right center to clear the bases and put four on the board.
The Rams got one back in the top of the third on a single by Jeff Cammans, but Boyland ripped a two-out double in the bottom of the frame to score Coleman and restore the four-run lead.
Rhode Island exploded for seven runs in the fourth to take the lead, 11-8. The inning was highlighted for the Rams by a three-run home run by Dan Rhault and a two-run shot by DeVeney, both with two outs. URI added three more in the fifth to extend the lead to six. Kenny Burns led off the sixth with a solo home run to left field to push URI's advantage to 15-8.
The Hawks looked to threaten in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out. Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, McDonald hit a line drive to Oliver Palmer at second to start a 4-6-3 triple play, ending the SJU threat.
A sacrifice fly by Cammans added another tally to the Rhode Island ledger in the top half of the seventh.
Chris Hildreth sent the Rams down in order in the eighth, marking the first inning in which Rhode Island did not score.
Randy Mower took the loss for SJU, falling to 4-5. Dan Rossignol threw four hitless innings in relief for his second win of the season.
The teams will return to Latshaw-McCarthy Field Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for the second game of the series. Live stats and streaming audio will be available at SJUHawks.com.