April 12, 2011



Providence, RI-Rhode Island College squandered an eighth inning lead to fall, 8-5, to UMass Dartmouth in Little East Conference baseball action played at Anchorman Field on Tuesday afternoon.



 Junior second baseman Mike Giustino


Trailing, 5-3, entering the eighth inning, the Corsairs rallied for five runs on five hits to take the lead for good. After putting runners to first and second with no outs, freshman center fielder Shane Leupold (Newington, CT) dropped a perfect bunt near the third base line and sprinted toward first.  Although Leupold had the throw beat for an infield single, an errant throw allowed the lead runner to score, narrowing the deficit to 5-4 with no outs and runners on first and third. Rhode Island College Head Coach Scott Virgulak then summoned sophomore closer Josh Lynch (West Greenwich, RI), but the momentum had already swung in the visitorís favor.


Lynch first faced pinch-hitting senior catcher Matt Ryan (Uxbridge, MA). Ryan, who had been a late scratch from the Corsair starting lineup, delivered a sacrifice fly ball to center field, which easily drove in the tying run, with Leupold remaining at first.  Senior shortstop Ryan McDermott (Pembroke, MA) followed with a double to right field, moving Leupold to third. The next batter, freshman designated hitter Bedward Ortiz (Worcester, MA), delivered the knockout blow with a two-RBI double to give UMass Dartmouth its first lead, 7-5. Senior catcher Zak Talis (Lynnfield, MA) rounded out the scoring by driving a first-pitch Lynch offering to center field for an RBI single to score Ortiz.


The late rally made a winner (2-1) of Corsair senior starter Chris Contre (East Bridgewater, MA), who allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits in seven full innings of work. Contre racked up seven strikeouts and also walked three. Junior reliever Pat Lavey (Cranston, RI) worked two scoreless frames and allowed only one hit to collect the save (4). Junior Eric Blanchard (Warwick, RI) (0-1) took the loss in relief.


UMass Dartmouth's comeback spoiled a quality start from Anchorman sophomore righthander David Hoey (Lincoln, RI). Hoey went 6.2 innings, allowing just three earned runs on eight hits. He faced 31 batters, struck out six, and walked three.


After the Corsairs erased a 3-1 deficit in the top half of the seventh, the Anchormen fought back to reclaim the lead. With two out and a man at first, junior infielder Mike Giustino (Wappingers Falls, NY) delivered some late inning heroics, belting a home run off the left field foul pole to put RIC in front, 5-3. The long ball, Giustino's first of the season, highlighted a 2-for-4 afternoon in which he both scored and drove in two runs.


The Anchormen got off to a hot offensive start, putting up the game's first two runs in a three-hit second inning. Senior outfielder Ronnie Bracchi (Wappingers Falls, NY) got RIC on the board first, belting a solo home run to left field, his first of the season. With two on and two out, junior shortstop Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, MA) delivered an RBI single to give the Anchormen a 2-0 lead. 


After the Corsairs took back a run on a Leupold sacrifice fly in the fourth, the Anchormen received a gift run in the bottom of the fifth to restore the prior two-run cushion. With one out and the bases empty, Giustino doubled into the left field corner, where an access door had been inadvertently left open in the side fencing in foul territory. UMD left fielder Wayne Bolz (Billerica, MA) misplayed the ball, allowing it to exit through the clearing. As a result, Giustino was awarded third base by the umpires, who ordered a fielding error charged to Bolz. The home field advantage paid quick dividends when junior first baseman Dan Hopkins (Cranston, RI) knocked in Giustino on a sacrifice fly, which proved to be Giustino's only opportunity to advance. 


The Corsair offensive effort was led by Talis, who went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Ortiz went 2-for-5 with a run scored and the aforementioned game-winning two run double. McDermott went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored. 


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will play tomorrow afternoon at Johnson & Wales (3:30 p.m.)