KINGSTON, RI – The Sacred Heart Pioneers scored eight runs in the fifth inning to take an 8-4 lead but couldn't hold on as the Rhode Island Rams scored four in the seventh and two in the ninth to walk off with a 10-9 win Tuesday afternoon at Bill Beck Field.
It was the tale of three tough innings for the Pioneers, giving up four runs in the second, four in the seventh, and then two in the ninth to blow an 8-4 lead.
Rhode Island jumped all over Sacred Heart in the second inning. The Rams loaded with bases with three straight base hits to start the inning, before back-to-back walks gave them a 2-0 lead. URI added more after a failed pickoff attempt by catcher Jake Friar (Westport, MA) allowed Dan Hetzel to score. Shortstop Tim Caputo knocked in Rhode Island's final run of a four-run second with a single up the middle.
Sacred Heart stormed back in the fifth inning, putting together some big hits and capitalizing on some poor URI fielding. Senior Conor McEvoy (Watertown, CT), Victor Sorrento (Monroe Township, NJ), and Kenny Byram (Ponte Vedra, FL) all knocked base hits to start the rally. Byram' base hit knocked in McEvoy and Sorrento. Junior Keaton Flint (Charlton, NY) singled through the left side to score Byram. The Pioneers loaded the bases after another URI error allowed Friar to reach. With the bases juiced, freshman Keith Klebart (Orange, CT) smacked a gap shot to left center field to bring home all three Pioneers and give SHU a 6-4 lead. Next batter, Zack Short (Hurley, NY) knocked home Klebart from third and SHU led 7-4. Short then capped off the huge inning, scoring on a wild pitch to give SHU an 8-4 lead.
Rhode Island came right back in the seventh inning, getting a walk, back-to-back singles, a walk, and then another single before the Pioneers could register an out and were quickly within one run at 8-7. The Rams capped off the four run inning with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at eight.
The Pioneers were able to re-take the lead in the eighth inning as Flint knocked a sacrifice fly to score Sorrento and give SHU a 9-8 lead. Sorrento started the rally with a walk, and ended up on third after a hit by pitch to Byram and a sacrifice bunt by Friar.
Down to their last three outs, the Rams rallied and scored two in the ninth. Center fielder Nick DeRegis started the rally, reaching second base off back-to-back SHU errors. First an error by Short at shortstop allowed him to reach base and then a failed pick-off attempt put him on second. Pat Quinn continued the rally with a single to left field to give the Rams runners on the corners with no outs. Pinch hitter Mike Corin smacked a double down the left field line to tie the game at nine and put runners on second and third. After an intentional walk, Mike Sherburne nailed a deep single off the left field wall to win the game 10-9.
This was the first of six games for the Pioneers this week. Sacred Heart will next take on Quinnipiac on Thursday afternoon.