Rhode Island Lineup
White (CF), Heiss (SS), Vargas (1B), Coutts (LF), Ulliana (C), Brodeur (2B), Cristino (DH), Mircovich (RF), McManus (3B), Cherry (P)
George Mason Lineup
Reckling (LF), Driscoll (C), Acker (CF), Quinn (1B), Klein (RF), Popatak (3B), Fitzgerald (DH), Brooks (2B), Aponte (SS), Lyons (P)
How it Happened
Rhode Island won a wild, sloppy affair, 7-6, to salvage the final game of its three-game set with George Mason Sunday afternoon. The winning run was scored in the eighth inning, on a balk in which Mason's Nick Zegna dropped the ball mid-delivery.
Rhode Island (18-22, 9-6 Atlantic 10) needed to make a comeback for the win following a strange George Mason rally that included no hits, one walk and three bunts. URI led 3-2 through five innings, but in the top of the sixth, Greg Popatak drew a leadoff walk. Jack Fitzgerald and Daniel Brooks both followed with sacrifice bunts in which Rhode Island's defense was not able to record any outs, loading the bases.
Relief pitcher Cam LeFleur entered the game for the Rams and struck out the first two batters he faced. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Logan Driscoll put down George Mason's third bunt of the inning. LeFleur fielded the ball, but his throw to first base was wild and went down the right field line, allowing all three runners to score. The play gave the Patriots a 5-3 lead.
Rhody responded right away with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Max Mircovich drove in Sonny Ulliana with an RBI groundout before Brett McManus tied the game with a sacrifice fly that brought Josh Brodeur in from third.
George Mason (17-28, 4-11 A-10) reclaimed the lead with a run in the seventh. Tim Quinn reached on a leadoff single but was erased when Bailey Klein hit into a fielder's choice. Klein then moved to second on a Popatak walk and made it 6-5 when Brooks delivered a two-out RBI single to right field.
With the Rams trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, Brodeur started the late rally with a walk, but the next two batters were retired. McManus then drew the second walk of the frame before being lifted for pinch runner Sam Ilario.
Austin White followed by hitting a hard ball up the middle that went off of pitcher James Beasley. The ball deflected to the spot normally occupied by Brooks at second base, but he had moved several steps to his right in attempt to field the ball off the bat. When the ball rolled through the hole and into shallow right field, Brodeur was able to come around from second to tie the game.
Zegna then came on in relief of Beasley and, while attempting to deliver a pitch to Kevin Heiss, dropped the ball and was called for a balk. The bizarre play allowed Ilario to come in from third as the go-ahead run.
George Mason made things interesting in the top of the ninth. Klein was hit by an 0-2 pitch to lead off the inning. After a fly out, Ryan Tassone reached on an error - Rhode Island's fourth of the day - eventually putting both runners in scoring position.
With the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position, Tyler Brosius induced a ground ball off the bat of Brooks. First baseman Xavier Vargas came home with the throw, retiring Klein. Brosius then got Alejandro Aponte to fly out to end the game.
Inside the Box Score
- Of the six runs allowed by Rhode Island, only two were earned.
- Redshirt freshman starter Justin Cherry allowed just one earned run on three hits over 5.0 innings. He struck out the first six hitters he faced and finished the day with nine punch outs.
- Cherry now has 48 strikeouts in 43.0 innings pitched.
- Redshirt junior Tyler Brosius earned the win with 2.0 scoreless innings. He is now 6-0 with four saves and a 1.57 earned run averaged in 18 relief appearances.
- Senior Brett McManus had an effective day at the plate. In four plate appearances, he singled, walked and had a sacrifice fly. He also scored one run.
- Redshirt sophomore Josh Brodeur doubled, singled, walked and scored two runs.
- Junior Sonny Ulliana doubled, singled and scored two runs.
- Eight of the 17 leadoff batters in the game reached base safely.
Rhode Island returns to The Beck to host Boston College on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.