April 26, 2012



Babson Park, Mass.-Junior right fielder Kyle Mann (West Warwick, RI) scored the game-winning run in the top of the 11th inning as the Rhode Island College baseball team defeated Babson College, 9-8, in non-conference action played at Govoni Field on Thursday.


Senior shortstop Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, MA) finished with a pair of base knocks and now has 199 career hits, one away from becoming the first player in program history to record 200 hits in a career. RIC (22-12) has now won 12 of its last 16 contests.



 Junior right fielder Kyle Mann


In a wild back-and-forth affair, Babson (20-16) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as junior third baseman Chris Kucher (Westwood, MA) drew a two-out walk and scored all the way from first on a double to right-center by senior first baseman Travis Jonasson (Needham, MA).


That lead held up until the top of the fifth, when RIC plated a pair of runs against Beavers' junior starting pitcher Steve Shaddock (Milford, MA). Senior second baseman Joan Mustafa (Providence, RI) led off the inning with a triple to left-center and junior third baseman Cody Ortega (Kissimmee, FL) followed with a walk. Mustafa came around to score on an error, and two batters later, senior catcher J.P. Stone (Narragansett, RI) lined a single to center, plating Ortega to give RIC a 2-1 lead.


The Beavers regained the advantage with three runs in the home half of the fifth, all coming with two outs. Junior shortstop Pat Matvichuk (Middleton, MA) and first-year right fielder Dillon Gonzalez (Beverly, MA) started things off with back-to-back singles to right, and junior center fielder Trevor Boyce (Canton, MA) followed with a base hit to left field to drive in Matvichuk with the tying run. After Boyce stole second, Kucher hit a high chopper to the left side that resulted in a pair of runs and put the hosts in front, 4-2.



 Junior third baseman Cody Ortega


Babson added another run in the sixth, beginning when junior designated hitter Conor Kortmann (Manalapan, NJ) led off with a single to center. Senior catcher Sean Cleary (Milton, MA) then reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to third on back-to-back wild pitches, and scored on a two-out single to right by Matvichuk.


The Anchormen surged ahead again the top of the seventh, scoring four times to go up 6-5. Ortega and junior center fielder Kevin Carey (Wakefield, RI) opened the inning with singles and Allaire followed with an RBI-single up the middle. After Stone reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases, senior first baseman Dan Hopkins (Cranston, RI) hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Carey with the visitors' fourth run of the day. Senior left fielder Brent Hopkins (Cranston, RI) then tied the game with an RBI-single to right, chasing Shaddock from the contest, and sophomore designated hitter Alex Verrecchia (Cranston, RI) gave RIC the lead when he greeted sophomore reliever Zachary Price (Franklin, MA) with a sacrifice fly to center.



 Junior center fielder Kevin Carey


Jonasson tied the game again in the bottom of the seventh, when he hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Boyce, who had walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on a fly out to deep center field by Kucher. The contest then remained knotted at six until the bottom of the eighth, when Babson struck again on Matvichuk's second RBI-hit of the day. After junior second baseman John Botelho (Tempe, AZ) drew a two-out walk and took second on a wild pitch, Matvichuk drilled a single to right, allowing Botelho to scamper home just ahead of the relay throw to give the Beavers a 7-6 advantage. The hosts then added an insurance run later in the frame, as Kucher drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Matvichuk for an 8-6 Babson lead.


RIC rallied in the top of the ninth, plating a pair of runs to force extra innings. Dan Hopkins led off the frame with a single to right, and two batters later, Verrecchia drew a one-out walk. Freshman right fielder Dean Grasso (Cranston, RI) then singled up the middle, scoring senior pinch-runner Victor Baez (Providence, RI) to make it a one-run game. Following a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position and a strikeout, Ortega smacked a clutch two-out single to left. That brought freshman pinch-runner Chris Siravo (Wakefield, RI) home from third, but Cleary made a tremendous block of home plate, allowing senior pitcher Rick Gilbody (Hanover, MA) to tag out Grasso to keep the game tied at eight.


After neither team scored in the 10th, RIC finally got the winning run on a strange play in the top of the 11th. After Mann led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mustafa, Ortega reached on an infield single for his third hit of the afternoon. Mann initially held at second on the play, but both runners moved up a base when the throw to first got away. That set up a rarely-seen RBI-double play for the Anchormen, as Carey lifted a fly ball to deep right-center that was caught by Boyce at the wall. The junior centerfielder then fired the ball back to relay-man Botelho, who doubled Ortega off at second for an inning-ending double-play. However, Mann tagged from third and crossed the plate before the final out was recorded, giving RIC a 9-8 lead. Carey was credited with a sacrifice fly and an RBI on the play.


That would prove to be enough for junior left-hander Kyle Florio (Plantsville, CT), who pitched around a leadoff walk to Boyce and a two-out single by senior left fielder Billy Miller (Sagamore Beach, MA) to secure the 11-inning victory.


Senior reliever Eric Blanchard (Warwick, RI) pitched two innings of scoreless out of the bullpen to earn the win for RIC, improving his record to a perfect 5-0. Meanwhile, Florio earned his first save of the year after tossing a scoreless 11th.


First-year right-hander Connor Allen (Madison, NJ) was charged with the loss (0-1) in his first collegiate appearance for Babson, giving up one unearned run on two hits and three walks in two innings.


Kucher drove in three runs to pace Babson, while Matvichuk went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Boyce and Gonzalez each chipped in with two hits apiece, with Boyce scoring twice and driving in one.


Ortega reached back five times to lead RIC, going 3-for-4 with two walks, two runs scored and one RBI. Dan Hopkins, Brent Hopkins, and Grasso each added two hits for the Anchormen.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will resume Little East Conference action with a doubleheader at home against Western Connecticut on Saturday, April 28 (noon).