Quick Start Boosts Rhode Island Past Baseball
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Rhode Island sent 13 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the first inning Wednesday, cruising to an 18-8 victory over the UNCG baseball team at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
The Rams improve to 3-11 overall while the Spartans drop to 8-7 heading into Southern Conference play.
Rhode Island racked up 18 hits against the UNCG pitching staff while also committing five errors. The Spartans also reached double figures in hits with 10 as sophomore outfielder Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) and redshirt freshman infielder Nin Marrero (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) were responsible for two base knocks each. Additionally, junior catcher Cambric Moye (Goldsboro, N.C./Eastern Wayne) tallied his team-leading fifth home run of the season – a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the second.
UNCG sophomore left hander Brandon Browne (Hope Mills, N.C./Gray's Creek) was tagged with his first loss of the season, completing just a third of an inning while giving up six earned runs on two hits and four walks. In all, the Spartans used eight pitchers in the game with sophomore RHP Adam Boghosian (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) throwing two and two-thirds innings and facing 16 batters. He gave up five runs (four earned), walked three batters and struck out two.
Tim Caputo led off the game with a single through the right side before moving to second on a wild pitch. Jeff Roy walked and Mike LeBel popped up to leave runners at first and second with one out. Browne then uncorked two wild pitches to score Caputo and Chase Livingston walked to load the bases. Shane O'Connell then delivered a big blow, tripling to right center and clearing the bases to make the score 4-0. Derek Gardella proceeded to walk before Boghosian replaced Browne on the mound. Connor Foreman added another run on a RBI single and the Rams used a passed ball, as well as a two-RBI single and a run-scoring triple, to cap the nine-run frame.
UNCG fought back in the bottom of the second, as Moye led off with a solo bomb that cleared the batter's eye in dead center field. The next two Spartan batters poked singles through the middle and right side before junior infielder Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) reached on a fielder's choice play to load the bases. Rhode Island's defense broke down on the next play as Marrero took first on an error by the second baseman before the Rams threw the ball around the park – allowing Kalbfleisch and senior infielder TJ Spina (Newberry, Fla./Santa Fe) to cross home safely and cut the visitors' lead to 9-3.
The Rams added two runs in the top of the third, but the Spartans answered with three in the bottom of the fourth. A pair of errors aided in helping UNCG pull within 11-6. Senior outfielder Christian Wolfe (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll) reached on an error by the Rhode Island second baseman which plated Guite for the first run before a groundout by senior outfielder Zach Leach scored the second tally. Senior infielder Lloyd Enzor (Whiteville, N.C./Southeastern CC) was safe at first on an error at short with two outs which allowed junior outfielder Cole Harrison (Key West, Fla./Key West) to score. Harrison had come on to pinch run for Wolfe.
Despite the Spartans' attempt to rally, the Rams put the game out of reach by netting seven runs over the next four innings while UNCG could only manage a single tally. The Spartans closed out the scoring in the bottom of the ninth when Kalbfleisch grounded out and plated junior infielder Shawn Hendon (Bethesda, Md./Montgomery College).
The Blue and Gold opens SoCon play this weekend, hosting local rival Elon for a three-game series at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Spartans and Phoenix will open the set Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m.
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