Rhode Island Lineup
Ilario (RF), Coutts (LF), Ulliana (C), Vargas (1B), Hill (3B), Cristino (DH), Heiss (SS), McManus (2B), Coley (CF), Wilson (P)
C. Peterson (RF), A. Peterson (DH), Misner (CF), Cornelius (SS), McDaniel (C), Swanger (1B), James (3B), Vierling (2B), Brumfield (LF), Sikkema (P)
How it Happened
For the third time in four games this season, Rhode Island rallied back from a deficit in the final innings, this time using a four-run eighth inning to pull ahead of Missouri in an 8-6 win.
Sam Ilario delivered what proved to be a game-winning homer in the eighth, capping a two-out rally with a three-run shot over the left field wall. Kevin Heiss got things started with a two-out single to right and Joe Fortin followed with a four-pitch walk. Heiss then advanced to third on a passed ball before Greg Cavaliere singled back to the mound, allowing Heiss to score and even the game at 5-5. Ilario then drove the first pitch he saw out of the park to put Rhody on top 8-5.
The Tigers (2-4) had struck first, scoring a run in the bottom of the first, but Rhody (2-2) moved ahead 2-1 in the second, taking advantage of a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two Mizzou errors.
Missouri scored twice in the fourth and added two more in the fifth to push its lead to 5-2, but Rhody continued to battle. Laurence Hill scored on a John Cristino double in the sixth and Jackson Coutts drove in Mark Coley in the seventh to get the Rams within striking distance.
After retiring Mizzou in order in the bottom of the seventh, Rhody used the four-run eighth to reclaim the lead. The Tigers added one run in the bottom of the frame to make it 8-6, but that was as close as they would get. Cam LaFleur worked his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the ninth, getting a game-ending double play to secure the victory.
Inside the Box Score
- The win marks Rhody's third victory over an SEC team in the last four years as URI also defeated Arkansas (3-0) in 2017 and South Carolina (5-4) in 2016.
- Redshirt senior Sam Ilario hit Rhody's first home run of the season - a three-run shot in the top of the eighth.
- Senior Kevin Heiss went 3-for-3 with a run scored.
- Redshirt senior Laurence Hill walked twice and scored twice.
- Sophomore Jackson Coutts singled and drove in a run.
- Freshman John Cristino doubled, drove in a run and scored one of his own.
- Freshman Joe Fortin drew a four-pitch walk in a pinch-hit at-bat and later scored on Ilario's homer.
- Freshman Mark Coley was hit by a pitch before coming around to score in the seventh inning.
- Junior pinch hitter Greg Cavaliere was 1-for-1 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Redshirt junior Tyler Brosius picked up his first career win, striking out three and allowing just one hit over 2.2 innings of work.
- Redshirt senior Cam LaFleur earned his second save of the season, getting a bases-loaded double play to end the game.
- Sophomore Ryan Twitchell struck out three over 3.2 innings of relief.
- Redshirt freshman Justin Cherry had a pair of strikeouts of his own - getting Ks for the last out of the eighth and the first out of the ninth.
The Rams and Tigers return to City of Palms ParK for Game 2 of the series, Saturday at 2 p.m.