Rhode Island Captures 2016 Atlantic 10 Championship; Rams Are NCAA-Bound

Rhode Island Captures 2016 Atlantic 10 Championship; Rams Are NCAA-Bound

Rhode Island Lineup
Hess (2B), Figueroa (3B), Powell (CF), Olmo (RF), McManus (1B), Moyers (DH), Livingston (C), Corin (LF), Hill (SS), Wessel (P)

Davidson Lineup
Bazin (CF), Sidwell (C), Foy (2B), Fortier (1B), Miller (RF), Acosta (SS),  Jones (DH), Robertson (LF), Pope (3B), White (P)

How it Happened
Hits.  Lots of them.  Sometimes in a row.  All of them timely.

A six-run explosion in the fourth inning helped Rhode Island earn its first Atlantic 10 championship since 2005, downing Davidson, 15-2, at Houlihan Park on the campus of Fordham University in the Bronx.  

The Rams got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning, after a Jordan Powell single scored Martin Figueroa from second to make it 1-0.  Rhody tacked on two more in the third inning, after Brett McManus drove in Chris Hess on an infield single and a bases loaded walk from Connor Foreman made it 3-0.

In the fourth, Laurence Hill began the Rhody hit parade with a single up the middle.  The Rams kept the string going, with seven consecutive hits which led to six runs crossing the plate.  Hess (single), Figueroa (RBI single), Jordan Powell (RBI bunt single), Ryan Olmo (RBI single), McManus (two-run double) and Foreman (RBI single) capped off the six-run, seven-hit inning.

Rhody manufactured two more runs in the fifth.  After a single from Hess, Figueroa doubled to make it second and third with one out and Olmo headed to the dish.  The right fielder singled to center, which made it 11-0. 

In the seventh, pinch hitter Derek Gardella laced a two-run single up the middle, extending the lead to 13-0.  

Matt O'Neil entered in the eighth as a pinch hitter for Hill and crushed a two-run shot to left center, making it 15-0.  Over the three games in the A-10 Championship, Rhody outscored its opponents (GM1-Fordham, GM2-Davidson, GM3-Davidson) by a 38-7 margin.

URI's pitching was equally as dominant on Championship Saturday.

Starter Ben Wessel delivered a gem, tossing seven shutout innings, yielding four hits and two walks while striking out three in 92 pitches.  The Scarborough, Maine product improved to 6-4 on the season. 

The Hardware
Martin Figueroa was named the Championship's Most Outstanding Player.  The third baseman was 3-for-5 in the championship game, with an RBI and five runs scored.  Over the three games in the A-10 Championship tournament, Figueroa batted 7-for-11, with four RBI and 11 runs scored.

He is joined on the A-10's All-Championship Team by his teammates Ryan Olmo, Chris Hess, and Ben Wessel. 

Up Next
Rhode Island will find out where it will be headed for the 2016 NCAA Championship on Monday, May 30.  The official NCAA Selection Show will air live on ESPNU, beginning at noon.