May 14, 2011



Mansfield, Conn.-Sophomore center fielder Kevin Carey (Wakefield, RI) tripled in the tying run and junior shortstop and leadoff hitter Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, MA) plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in a two-run fifth inning as Rhode Island College became the first sixth seed to win the Little East Conference Baseball Tournament with a 7-5 win over top-seeded Eastern Connecticut on Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.




With the victory, Rhode Island (21-18) qualifies on an automatic basis for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in six years. As the fifth seed in 2005, the Anchormen defeated then fourth-seeded Western Connecticut, 6-1, in the championship game also played at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.


Rhode Island overcame deficits of 3-1 and 4-3 with timely hitting, capitalized on five Eastern errors and turned double plays in the fourth, fifth and seventh that limited the Warriors to one total run in those innings.



 Sophomore center fielder Kevin Carey


After winning two elimination games on Friday, Eastern led, 3-1, on Saturday, but the Anchormen scored single runs in the third and fourth. RIC tied the game, 3-3, in the fourth without a hit, pushing across the tying run on a walk, hit batsman and an infield error. After  sophomore designated hitter Joe Balowskiís (Berlin, CT) RBI single gave Eastern a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth,  the Anchormen scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the inning when Carey plated senior catcher Justin Corso (Cranston, RI) with a triple through the gap in right-center and scored what proved to be the winning run on Allaireís sacrifice fly to right when he just beat the throw from  senior right fielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY).



 Junior shortstop Kyle Allaire


 Rhode Island committed only one error in the game, while Eastern made five errors. The Anchormen capitalized on errors in scoring their single runs in the second, third and fourth. In the second, an infield error, walk and key catcherís interference on what appeared would be a 5-2-3 double play allowed RIC to cut a run off Easternís early 3-1 lead.


Junior righty Rob Rushton (Freetown, MA) pitched 4.2 innings of one-run, two-hit relief to gain his fourth win (4-1) in five decisions. Rushton replaced junior righty starter Mike DeWald (Hope Valley, RI) while Eastern was scoring the go-ahead run in the fifth on Balowskiís second RBI single. Facing his first batter, Rushton got an inning-ending 5-3 double play started by junior third baseman J.P. Stone (Narragansett, RI) to help RIC escape further damage.



 Junior Mike DeWald


Down by three, Eastern scored its only run off Rushton on a leadoff home run in the eighth by senior first baseman Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) to cut the gap to two, but Rushton retired the final six in order, allowing only one ball out of the infield in the process.


Corso had three of his teamís 10 hits, scored twice and drove in a run and senior left fielder Ronnie Bracchi (Wappingers Falls, NY) had two hits, scored two runs and drove in one with a two-out double in the third.



 Junior pitcher Rob Rushton


Rhode Island senior designated hitter Gary Levesque (East Providence) was voted the tournamentís Most Outstanding Player with a complete-game pitching win over third-seeded UMass Dartmouth on Thursday and a save against Eastern on Wednesday that ended a 15-game losing streak at the hands of the tournamentís top seed. Although he was 0-for-5 in the final, the cleanup hitter reached safely on an infield error and scored the teamís second run in the third. He had five hits, drove in two runs and scored three runs in 19 tournament at-bats. In addition to his go-ahead RBI in the seventh, Allaire led all tournament players with 25 assists.



 Senior catcher Justin Corso


Schult and Balowski each had two hits in the final. In five tournament games, Schult was 10-for-23 with 12 RBI and six runs scored. He plated seven runs with a grand slam and two-run home run in the teamís, 15-8, elimination win over fourth-seeded Keene State on Friday night which moved the Warriors into Saturdayís final.



 2011 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Senior pitcher/designated hitter Gary Levesque