KINGSTON, R.I. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team scored three runs in the top of the 14th inning to defeat the Rhode Island Rams, 5-2. With the win, Richmond improves to 24-23 on the season and to 11-9 in Atlantic 10 conference play. With the loss, Rhode Island falls to 27-23 overall and to 12-8 in league action.
Senior Adam McConnell had the biggest hit of the game - a two-run double in the top of the 14th inning for the Spiders. Sophomore Adam Forrer had a pair of hits including a two-run triple, while senior Phil Ruzbarsky went 2-for-7 with a RBI double and a run scored. Freshman Eric Flanagan also had a pair of hits on the day.
On the mound, freshman Zak Sterling had a great outing for the Spiders, pitching six-plus innings. The rookie allowed just one run on five hits while striking out five and not issuing a walk. Out of the bullpen, sophomore Andrew Brockett was spectacular. A day after 2.1 innings to get a save, Brockett tossed five shutout innings to earn his first win of the season. The sophomore struck out eight in the outing, surrendering just three hits.
With the win on Saturday, Richmond clinched the series against the Rams. The A-10 road series win is the third this year for the Spiders, the most since the team won am amazing four during the 2007 season.
Rhode Island struck first in on a beautiful afternoon, scoring one run in the bottom of the third inning to take a 1-0 lead over Richmond.
The Spiders wasted little time answering back, taking the lead from the Rams in the top of the fourth. With one out and a runner on first, Ruzbarsky lined a double down the right field line to put runners at second and third base. Two batters later, Forrer smacked a triple over the head of the URI center fielder, plating both runs easily to give the Spiders a 2-1 lead.
Still leading by one, the Spiders got an unbelievable effort from three freshmen pitchers in the bottom of the seventh to maintain the Richmond lead. After the leadoff batter reached third base on an error, the Spiders turned to their bullpen. James Lively was first out of the pen, inducing a lineout for the first out. Left-handed redshirt freshman Dylan Stoops was next, getting the second out with a big strikeout. Finally it was Ray Harron, who got Richmond out of the frame with a groundout. After seven complete innings, the Spiders held on to a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the eighth, however, Rhode Island was able to tie the game with a leadoff triple and sacrifice fly. Neither team was able to score in the ninth inning as the two teams headed to extra innings.
The bottom of the 10th brought more drama for the Spiders. After back-to-back singles, Brockett induced a groundout for the first out of the inning. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, it appeared the Spiders got the double play they were looking for. URI tried to bunt the winning run in, but Brockett fielded the ball well, cutting down the runner at home on the force. The catcher Chris Cowell went to first and appeared to get the runner, but the umpire said Bryan Conway's foot was off the bag. Despite the call, Brockett induced an inning-ending fielder's choice, sending the game to the 11th.
Defense again was key for the Spiders in the 11th. With two outs, runners were on first and second for Rhode Island. Swinging at the first pitch, URI's Tim Caputo shot a liner towards second base. Timing his leap perfectly, J.B. Gadd snatched the ball out of the air, keeping the game alive for Richmond and sending the game to the 12th inning.
The breakthrough finally came in the top of the 14th inning for Richmond. Sophomore Nick Poulos started the frame with a leadoff single to center. Poulos then was able to move to second on the hit when the URI center fielder bobbled the ball. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk, runners were on first and third with one out for McConnell. The redshirt junior came through in a huge way, doubling down the left-field line, scoring both runners.
After a fielder's choice cut down McConnell at third, there was a runner at first with two outs for Ruzbarsky. The senior added an insurance run for the Richmond, plating Mike Small from first with a RBI double to right field. Heading to the bottom of the 14th, the Spiders led Rhode Island, 5-2.
Looking for his first win of the season, Brockett came out to finish off the game for Richmond. After a fly out, Brockett struck out the next batter for the second out. After issuing a two-out walk, Brockett slammed the door on the Rams, notching his eighth strikeout of the game to end it.
The Richmond Spiders will look to complete the sweep of the Rhode Island Rams on Sunday at Beck Field. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.