Thursday, May 12, 2005




Five-run sixth inning leads Anchormen past Southern Maine, 7-4


MANSFIELD, CT – The fifth-seeded Rhode Island College baseball team erased a two-run deficit by scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning in a 7-4 win over third-seeded University of Southern Maine in a winners’ bracket game of the 2005 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament Thursday night at the Eastern Baseball Stadium on the Eastern Connecticut State University campus.


The win is the second in as many tournament games for Rhode Island (17-19), which is the only remaining undefeated team in the original six-team, double-elimination tournament. The Anchormen, who had won only one game in the double-elimination stage of the tournament in eight years prior to 2005, will play Friday night at 7 p.m. They will play the winner of a noon game between Southern Maine (25-13) and top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.


Trailing 4-2, Rhode Island batted around in the sixth inning against three Southern Maine pitchers. Two walks with one out began the rally and leadoff hitter Peter Olson (NORTH PROVIDENCE, RI) tied the game with a one-out, two-run double. After an infield error, Olson scored the go-ahead run on Chris Higgins’ (SWANSEA, MA) double. Jim Connell’s (SMITHFIELD, RI) RBI single and a wild pitch pushed the lead to 7-4.


Batting eighth and ninth, respectively, in the Rhode Island order, Chris Smaldone (JOHNSON, RI) and Jamie Aldoupolis (ASHLAND, MA) reached base seven times on three hits, three walks and an error, scored three runs and drove in two. Four runners who reached via either a walk or error scored for the Anchormen.


Lefty reliever Matt Brannon (CRANSTON, RI) left two runners stranded in the eighth inning with an inning-ending strikeout and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to gain his second save.


 Southern Maine, which has reached the championship round of six of eight previous tournaments, had 13 hits and also had four batters reach on walks but stranded 11 runners. Rhode Island also played flawless defense.


Southern Maine leadoff hitter Nick Vardaro (NORWOOD, MA) reached safely three times with a single, double and walk, scored two runs and drove in a run. Every batter had at least one hit in the Husky lineup.


The win avenges two regular-season loss at the hands of Southern Maine for Rhode Island, who had opened the tournament Wednesday by downing second-seeded Keene State College, 8-3.