April 14, 2011



Providence, RI-The Rhode Island College baseball team got off to a fast start and led from wire to wire in a 9-6, non-conference victory over Salem State University at Anchorman Field on Thursday afternoon. Freshman starting pitcher C.J. Tsoumakas (Hope, RI) gave his team six shutout innings and junior left fielder Brent Hopkins (Cranston, RI) highlighted his 3-for-4 day with a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth (4) to put the game away.



 Freshman pitcher C.J. Tsoumakas


Tsoumakas (3-1) continues to impress in his freshman season. The southpaw held the Vikings (11-11) scoreless over the course of six innings, allowing just three hits.  He recorded four strikeouts. His only jam was self-induced in the sixth, when Tsoumakas forced himself to work around back-to-back walks to start the frame, his only two free passes of the day.


The Anchormen (10-11) steadily staked Tsoumakas to a 4-0 advantage over the first five innings, scoring once in the first, twice in the third and once in the fifth. Hopkins contributed the first of his four RBI in the first, delivering an RBI single. In the third, senior designated hitter/pitcher Gary Levesque (East Providence, RI) and senior outfielder Ronnie Bracchi (Wappingers Falls, NY) both singled in runs. Bracchi drove in his second run of the day on a sacrifice fly in the fifth.


All four runs (three earned) were charged to Viking junior starter Mario Padovani (Lynnfield, MA). Padovani (1-4) went four-plus innings, allowing seven hits, in a losing effort. He recorded four strikeouts and walked one.


After Tsoumakas departed, the Viking bats came alive. Salem briefly narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the seventh on a two-out, two-RBI double by junior catcher Eric Juncker (Rockport, MA). But the Anchormen immediately reclaimed a four-run advantage in the bottom half, on a timely two-RBI single from junior second baseman Joan Mustafa (Providence, RI). In the eighth, junior reliever Eric Blanchard (Warwick, RI) made the rally stand by retiring the Vikings in order in his lone inning of work.



 Junior left fielder Brent Hopkins


Following the Hopkins three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth, the Anchormen entered the ninth with a commanding, 9-2, lead. But the Vikings refused to go quietly, and uncorked a spontaneous two-out rally in which they brought home four runs. Freshman catcher Mike Lamouthe (Beverly, MA), in his only plate appearance after entering in the seventh as a defensive replacement, singled through the left side to drive in two runs and bring the Salem within 9-4. After a single and a walk loaded the bases, junior second baseman Chris Cocci (Wakefield, RI) ripped a double down the left field line to score two more and bring the tying run to the plate.


Sensing the emergency situation, Rhode Island College Head Coach Scott Virgulak forfeited RIC's designated hitter in order to summon Levesque to the mound.  Typically the Anchormen's ace starter, Levesque quickly put out the fire, inducing a fly out to right field to record a one-out save, his first. At the plate, Levesque went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.


For the Vikings, freshman left fielder Kyle McElroy (Newburyport, MA) went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Oddly, all 15 of the game's runs were scored with two outs.


The Anchormen return to the diamond at Anchorman Field tomorrow when they take on cross-city rival Johnson and Wales at 3 p.m. The game is a make-up of Wednesday's rainout, which was originally a JWU home game.