April 27, 2013


Grasso Picks Up Three Triples & Four RBI

Danbury, Conn.-Sophomore right fielder Dean Grasso (Cranston, RI) went 3-for-4 with three triples and four RBI in nightcap to help the Rhode Island College baseball team salvage a split of a Little East Conference doubleheader with Western Connecticut at Westside Field on Saturday afternoon.


Rhode Island College (10-25, 4-8 LEC) fell in game one, 9-6, before bouncing back to knock off Western Connecticut (13-19, 3-7 LEC) in the second contest of the day, 10-6.


In the opener, senior right-hander Chris Alberto (Trumbull, CT) improved to 5-2 on the season after allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits in eight strong innings, while striking out nine.  


Meanwhile, Rhode Island College right-hander Chris Mann (West Warwick, RI) was throwing a perfect game through three innings until junior second baseman Jeff John (Trumbull, CT) broke up the early no-no with a single to left center in the fourth. The Colonials would eventually load the bases before senior third baseman Bill Eannotti (Shelton, CT) grounded into an inning-ending double play.


Rhode Island College raced out to a 2-0 lead when junior third baseman Justin Costa (Cranston, RI) laced a two-run single to score both senior shortstop Zach Hubbard (Kissimmee, FL) and senior center fielder Kevin Carey (Wakefield, RI), who each reached on back-to-back walks.


An inning later, senior right fielder Kyle Mann (West Warwick, RI) doubled home junior designated hitter Alex Verrecchia (Cranston, RI) with a drive to straight-away center field to make it, 3-0.


Western got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning when senior first baseman Chris Smith (Monroe, CT) led off the frame with his first home run of the season. The Colonials added another run when sophomore right fielder John Kelly (Stratford, CT) drew a two-out walk, stole both second and third base, and came home following a pass ball.


In the bottom of the sixth, Smith blasted a towering two-run shot over the right-center field fence, his second of the game, to score Eannotti and put the hosts up, 4-3. John followed with an RBI single to center field that extended the lead to two.  


The Colonials then tacked on four more runs in the eighth, three of which coming off Alberto’s triple to left field, to take a 9-3 lead.


Keyed by a leadoff single from junior first baseman Justin Rainville (Cumberland, RI) and a double from Verrecchia, the Anchormen scratched a run in the ninth as Alberto loaded the bases and issued a walk to Hubbard. Sophomore right-hander Rob Valunas (Oakville, CT) came on in relief and conceded an RBI fielder’s choice to sophomore second baseman Tyler Collins (Cranston, RI) and an RBI double to freshman catcher Matt Foley (Seekonk, MA) before recording the final out of the ballgame to seal the, 9-6, victory and earn his first save of the season.



 Sophomore right fielder Dean Grasso


Chris Mann took the loss (2-4) after surrendering four runs (three earned) on five hits, while striking out five.


After Carey came around to score on an error in the top of the first, RIC raced out to a 4-0 in game two, spearheaded by a three-run triple courtesy of Grasso.


Following an RBI single from Rainville in the top of the third that made it, 5-0, Western rebounded to score a run in the bottom half of the frame thanks to an RBI single from junior shortstop Bobby Coyne (Clinton, CT) that scored Alberto.  


In the fourth, RIC tacked on a pair of runs following an RBI single from Hubbard and a ground out RBI off the bat of Carey. Grasso followed in the fifth with his second triple of the game to make it, 9-1, after Rainville and Verrecchia came around to score.


In the bottom half of the fifth, senior catcher Conor Bierfeldt (Torrington, CT) laced the first pitch he saw from Rhode Island College senior right-hander David Hoey (Lincoln, RI) for his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot. Moments later, Smith pushed Coyne and Eannotti around to score with a double to the gap in left to cap off a three-run frame.


In the sixth, Rainville singled through the left side to score Costa, making it, 10-4.


The Colonials answered back with a run in the bottom half of the frame, courtesy of sacrifice fly from Coyne that scored John, to cut the deficit in half. Alberto blasted a solo-home run in the eighth inning to make it a 10-6 ballgame, but that was all the hosts could muster against the Rhode Island College bullpen.


Hoey earned the win (2-4) for RIC after scattering four runs (three runs) on five hits and two walks, while striking out four. Freshman right-hander Craig Frobel (Southington, CT) dropped to 1-3 after suffering the loss.


Verrecchia went 5-for-9 on the day with two doubles, one RBI, and five runs scored, while Rainville went 4-for-7 with a double, three RBI, and three runs scored. Hubbard added three hits, two RBI, two runs scored, and three stolen bases.  


Coyne paced Western with five hits, three RBI, and a run scored. Smith accounted for five RBI and two runs scored.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College hosts MIT on Wednesday afternoon at Anchorman Field (4 p.m.).