The College Baseball Blog made the annual trek out to Amherst MA to check out the UMass Minutemen. This trip was even more important as I got a chance to see the Rhode Island Rams who started to make some national noise this season with victories over Oklahoma State, NC State, Miami (FL), and Ohio State. The game featured a pair of lefthanders facing off with UMass giving the ball to Nick Serino while Rhode Island countered with Nick Greenwood.
After a scoreless first inning for both squads, each team would get on the board in the second. Rhode Island took avantage of two walks, an error, and a wild pitch to score three runs with the key hit being a Milan Adams two run double to left-center field. UMass would follow in the bottom of the inning with a one out homer from Mike DiCato and a two out RBI single to center by Tom Conley to put the Minutemen down 3-2 after two frames.
Rhode Island would take on a single run in the third inning on a Dan Rhault homer and in the fourth inning as Mike Lebel scored on an attempted steal of third base where the ball got by the third basemen allowing him to score.
The score would remain 5-2 until the bottom of the fifth inning. UMass put together back to back singles by Kyle Multner and Sam Boone to put runners on first and second with no outs. Adam Tempesta would step to the plate and hit a long fly ball to centerfielder Kenny Burns who reached over the fence and brought the ball back. The catch saved the three run homer and was slightly less impressive then his catch against Northeastern. (Click here). The next batter for the Minutemen was Brian Baudinet who was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jim McDonald would follow with a grand slam down the left field line to give the Minutemen the 6-5 lead. The next batter in Mike Donato hit a groundball up the first base line which was fielded by Nick Greenwood who proceeded to tag Donato hard which prompted Donato to get in his face. Both teams benches cleared but first base umpire Bob Wilman was able to get between the players and prevent anything major happening.
Kenny Burns of URI would tie up the game in the seventh inning as he was hit by a pitch. He then took second base on a steal but the pitch ended up getting away from the catcher thus letting Burns get over to third base. He came home on an Oliver Palmer fly out to left field to tie the game at 6. UMass would respond in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings with two runs in each inning to expand the lead to 10-6. Rhode Island would rally for three runs in the ninth and leave the tying run on second base as UMass hung on for the 10-9 victory.
The most impressive hitter on the day was Dan Rhault who went 4-5 with a homer, two doubles, and two RBI on the day.