Cerrato Announces Staff Changes for Upcoming Season

Photo Credit: Tim Cowie
Photo Credit: Tim Cowie

KINGSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island baseball head coach Raphael Cerrato has announced staffing changes for the upcoming 2018 season, promoting Sean O'Brien and Kevin Vance while also adding Jeff Roy and David Fischer.

O'Brien – who is entering his fourth season with the Rams – will be the team's recruiting coordinator while also working with the catchers and hitters.

"Sean is definitely ready to step into the role of recruiting coordinator for our program," Cerrato said. "He has been a vital part of our success the past three years, working with our pitchers and catchers. This season, he will make the transition to spend more time with the hitters."

Entering his second season with the program, Vance – who has been promoted from volunteer to assistant coach – will continue to work with the Rhody pitchers.

"Kevin did an excellent job with our pitchers last season," Cerrato said. "His wealth of knowledge on pitching, arm care, and strength training is outstanding. He is one of the best young pitching coaches in college baseball right now, and I know he's excited to hit the recruiting trail this fall."

With O'Brien and Vance on staff last season, the Rams led the conference with just 8.04 hits allowed per nine innings – a figure which ranked 30th nationally. Rhode Island also led the Atlantic 10 and ranked 31st in the nation with a team ERA of 3.65.

"It was an easy decision to elevate both Sean and Kevin," Cerrato explained. "Their hard work, knowledge of the game, commitment to the program and support of our student-athletes on and off the field has been exceptional."

Fischer joins the program as a volunteer assistant coach and will assist Vance with all aspects of the Rams' pitching staff. He spent the 2017 season coaching with the Springvale Lions baseball club in Melbourne, Australia. Before that, he worked with the Farm AAU program in Waltham, Mass.

Fischer was an 18th round draft pick out of Connecticut for the Washington Nationals, pitching in their system from 2012-14. He also spent time in the Minnesota Twins system and pitched for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League as well as the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League.

While at UConn, he helped lead the Huskies to the 2011 Clemson Regional title. He also played summer ball with the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

"Dave will be a tremendous help to the pitching staff's preparation, routine and mentality," Cerrato said. "He has an abundance of knowledge from his six-year professional career and should work very well with his former college teammate, Kevin Vance."

Roy is a familiar face to the program, having played centerfield for the Rams from 2011-13. The 2012 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, he also earned All-Region and All-America accolades before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 18th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. He played professionally from 2013-16 and represented the National League team at the 2013 New York-Penn League All-Star Game. He also earned the Roberto Clemente Award for Community Service from the Pirates.

The Cranston, R.I. native was an assistant coach with Division III Salve Regina in 2017, helping the Seahawks set a program record with 36 victories while advancing to the NCAA Division III New England Baseball Regional.

"Jeff has been a valuable addition to the staff as he is here finishing his degree after four years of playing professional baseball," Cerrato said. "He was one of the most accomplished players in URI baseball history and truly cares about the success of our student-athletes and the future of our program.  He brings a wealth of knowledge to all aspects of our offense, as well as outfield defense."