Rams Rally in Ninth But Wichita State Walks Off With 8-7 Win

Photo Credit: Bret Munson
Photo Credit: Bret Munson

Rhode Island Starters
White (CF), Coutts (LF), Cristino (DH), Vargas (1B), Ulliana (C), Heiss (SS), Hill (3B), Brodeur (2B), Mircovich (RF), Twitchell (P)

Wichita State Starters
Boyer (SS), Gibson (RF), Ritter (2B), O'Brien (1B), Wallace (3B), Slavens (DH), Cadena (C), VanVooren (LF), Katzfey (CF), Snavely (P)

How it Happened
Rhode Island suffered its third walk-off loss of the season Friday night, giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth in an 8-7 loss at Wichita State.

The Rams (2-9) had trailed 5-4 heading into the final inning, but pushed across three runs there, to take a 7-5 lead. Xavier Vargas was first hit by a pitch before being replaced by pinch-runner Greg Cavaliere, who stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With runners on the corners after a Sonny Ulliana walk, Kevin Heiss singled to short to drive in Cavaliere and even the score at five apiece. Josh Brodeur later sent a two-out single to center, scoring Sam Ilario - who was pinch running for Ulliana - and advancing Heiss to third. Back-to-back walks to Max Mircovich and Austin White then plated Heiss to give Rhody the 7-5 advantage.

The lead was short-lived however as the Shockers tied the game on a two-run homer from Paxton Wallace. Wichita State then used a single and two walks to load the bases before another base on balls sent in the winning run. Up until the ninth inning, the Rams had not issued a walk all night.

Rhode Island had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Austin White worked a 10-pitch walk and later crossed the plate on a triple by John Cristino. Xavier Vargas then sent a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Cristino and put the Rams up 2-0.

Wichita State (7-9) eventually got on the board in an error-extended fifth inning, scoring four runs on five hits. The Shockers added another in the bottom of the sixth to push their lead to 5-2.

The Rams cut it to 5-4 in the top of the seventh with Cristino scoring on a Sonny Ulliana single and Vargas coming home on a wild pitch. That set up the late Rhody rally, which forced a bottom of the ninth. There, the Shockers responded with a three-spot of their own to walk off with the victory

Inside the Box Score

  • Redshirt sophomore Max Mircovich singled, doubled and walked twice.
  • Redshirt sophomore Josh Brodeur singled twice and drove in a run.
  • Sophomore Austin White (3), freshman John Cristino (2) and senior Kevin Heiss (2) combined for seven walks. Cristino also tripled and scored twice while White and Heiss each crossed the plate once. All three players drove in a run as well.
  • Sophomore Xavier Vargas had one RBI and one run scored. He reached base twice on a walk and hit-by-pitch.
  • Junior Sonny Ulliana singled, walked and drove in a run.
  • Redshirt senior Sam Ilario and junior Greg Cavaliere both crossed the plate in the top of the ninth, after entering the game as pinch runners.
  • Sophomore Ryan Twitchell went 4.2 innings in a no-decision start. He allowed four runs - all of which were unearned - in the bottom of the fifth. With three strikeouts on the night, he has now fanned 14 hitters this season without issuing a walk.
  • Redshirt senior Cam LaFleur was charged with the loss, allowing three runs on three hits and a pair of walks in the bottom of the ninth. He left the game with the bases loaded and the game tied at 7-7. Junior Jake Walker then walked in the game-winning run.

Up Next
The Rams and Shockers return to Eck Stadium for a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m Eastern.