May 20, 2011


Wild Ninth Inning Comeback Bid Falls Short

Harwich, Mass.-The Rhode Island College baseball team got going a little too late, scoring six times in the ninth inning, but falling to third-seeded Wheaton, 10-6, in game nine of the Div. III NCAA Baseball Tournament New England Regional played at Whitehouse Field in Harwich on Friday morning. The loss is the fifth-seeded Anchormen's (22-20) second of the tournament, which results in their elimination from the regional and ends the 2011 season.


Junior second baseman Mike Giustino (Wappingers Falls, NY) led the squad with a 3-for-5 performance, which included an RBI. Classmate outfielder Brent Hopkins (Cranston, RI) went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.  Classmate pitcher Mike DeWald (Hope Valley, RI) gave the Anchormen (22-20) three innings of quality relief, allowing just one unearned run on three hits, with two walks and a strikeout.



 Junior second baseman Mike Giustino


After picking up the game's first two runs in the bottom of the third, the Lyons (31-11) took a commanding advantage by posting six runs on the board in the fourth and widening the lead to 8-0. Senior first baseman Sean Munley (Ewing, NJ) led off with a single and was promptly doubled in by sophomore catcher Dan Gusovsky (Andover, MA). Later in the frame, a two-RBI single off the bat of junior infielder Dan Haugh (Andover, MA) capped off the run scoring.


Munley finished the day going 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Gusovsky went 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Wheaton picked up single runs in both the fifth and seventh innings to open up a double-digit advantage, 10-0.


With three outs left in their season, the Anchormen started a remarkable rally which forced a pair of pitching changes and brought the tying run to the on deck circle by game's end. Rhode Island College, thanks in large part to three walks and a fielding error, sent 11 batters to the plate, scoring six runs on just three hits. The first hit, a single from Giustino, drove in a run. With two out, Hopkins and senior outfielder Ronnie Bracchi (Wappingers Falls, NY) bashed back-to-back singles for two and one RBI, respectively. With runners at first and second and two out, Wheaton went to the bullpen for junior righthander David Longley (Brunswick, ME), who recorded his first career save by fanning senior catcher Justin Corso (Cranston, RI) to end the game.



 Sophomore pitcher David Hoey


Wheaton senior starter Corey Laliberte (Nashua, NH) fell just shy of a complete game, tiring in the ninth after pitching eight full innings of shutout ball. Laliberte left three inherited runners behind when he departed with no outs in the ninth, all of which came in to score. In sum, Laliberte earned the win (2-1), allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits, with four walks and a strikeout. 


Anchorman sophomore starter David Hoey (Lincoln, RI) battled through six full innings, taking the loss (3-6). Hoey, whose victory over Keene State in a similar situation in last week's Little East Tournament enabled RIC's NCAA bid, allowed nine runs on 11 hits, with three strikeouts and two walks. Four errors by the Anchormen defense led to four of Hoey's runs being unearned.


Friday's loss ends a memorable run for the Anchormen, who narrowly qualified for their conference tournament by winning a tiebreaker to earn the sixth and final seed.  RIC then strung together four wins in four days over elite Little East competition to become the first No. 6 seed in the history of the conference to win the tournament, and earn the Little East's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. For RIC, it marked the second LEC Tournament championship in program history (2005) and the first under second-year Head Coach Scott Virgulak.


In the first game of the New England Regional, the Anchormen defeated MIT, 12-2, to garner the program's first NCAA Tournament victory since 1980.


Wheaton advances to this evening's game 12, an elimination game against the winner of game 10 between St. Joseph's (ME) and Tufts (8 p.m.)