May 19, 2011


RIC Falls Short Against Bridgewater State, 8-5
Loss Sets Up Rematch With Lyons

Harwich, Mass.-The Rhode Island College baseball team was unable to overcome a 6-0 deficit and fell to eighth-seeded Bridgewater State, 8-5, in the seventh game of the 2011 NCAA Div. III Baseball Tournament New England Regional held at Whitehouse Field on Thursday afternoon.


Junior shortstop Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, MA) led the way for the Anchormen (22-19) offensively, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base. Senior starting pitcher/designated hitter Gary Levesque (East Providence, RI) took the loss (5-6) for the Anchormen. Levesque went 5.1 innings, allowing six earned runs on five hits, with seven strikeouts and four walks. At the plate, Levesque went 2-for-5 with a run scored.


The Anchormen scored five of the game's last seven runs and brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. However, the lineup was unable to overtake Bridgewater (25-15) junior starting pitcher Dave Billotte (Norton, MA), who went the distance. The Anchormen, who scored 12 runs in Wednesday's, 12-2, win over MIT, mustered just five runs (four earned) on nine hits against Billotte. The junior hurler allowed five walks, but struck out three to earn the win (3-3).



 Senior left fielder Ronnie Bracchi hit a bases-clearing double in the ninth inning.


After scoring a single run in each of the first two frames, the Bear offense stalled against Levesque until he began to tire in the sixth. Levesque walked the first two batters he faced, then surrendered an RBI single to sophomore catcher Keane Costa (Fairhaven, MA) to widen the Bear lead to 3-0. RIC Head Coach Scott Virgulak then summoned junior reliever Eric Blanchard (Warwick, RI) to warm up, but as he was throwing in the bullpen, senior designated hitter Corey Batista (Fall River, MA) belted a three-run homer to end Levesque's afternoon. Blanchard promptly retired the final two batters of the inning to hold the deficit at 6-0.


The Rhode Island College bats started to come to life in the bottom half of the sixth, when Levesque and junior outfielder Brent Hopkins (Cranston, RI) put together back-to-back singles to start the inning. After a balk advanced runners to second and third, senior catcher Justin Corso (Cranston, RI) delivered an RBI single to get the Anchormen on the board.


The Anchormen added another single run in the seventh to draw within four runs, 6-2. After a leadoff walk, junior first baseman Dan Hopkins (Cranston, RI) singled through the left side. Levesque then flew out to center, allowing the lead runner to take third. The run then scored on a two-out fielding error.


RIC mounted its best offensive attack in the bottom of the ninth, but the six-run deficit with which they had to contend, 8-2, proved to be too great. Allaire led off with a single and moved to second when junior first baseman Dan Hopkins (Cranston, RI) was hit by a pitch with one out. A walk to Brent Hopkins loaded the bases and then a double off the bat of senior outfielder Ronnie Bracchi (Wappingers Falls, NY) cleared the bases to bring the score to its ultimate reading, 8-5.


Blanchard allowed just one unearned run in 2.2 innings of relief. He allowed two hits, and struck out two without walking anyone. Sophomore righty Anthony Raymond (North Providence, RI) allowed one earned run on one hit with two walks in the ninth inning.


Costa and Batista both had 2-for-5 days for the Bears. Batista's homer and double accounted for a team-leading three RBI.  Batista scored twice, while Costa also came across once.


With the loss, Rhode Island College falls into the loser's bracket, where they will face third-seeded Wheaton in an elimination game tomorrow morning (9:30 a.m.). The winner will also need to win another Friday elimination game against an opponent to be determined in game 12 to advance to the fourth day of tournament competition.


RIC lost, 12-9, in 10 innings to the Lyons when they met at Anchorman Field on May 5.