Rhode Island Wins 2016 Atlantic 10 Baseball Title
BRONX, N.Y.—Top-seeded Rhode Island won its first Atlantic 10 Championship since 2005, beating Davidson 15-2 Saturday at Fordham’s Houlihan Park.
The Rams (30-25), had played in the title game twice since 2005, in 2009 and 2015, but last took the trophy home 11 years ago. They claim the A-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals and will find out their fate during the NCAA Selection Show Monday.
Rhody scored one in the first inning and two in the third before a six-run fourth inning broke the game open. URI scored a run in seven of the nine innings. The offensive outburst was led by the championship Most Outstanding Player Martin Figueroa, who was 3-for-5 Saturday with five runs scored and an RBI.
The Rams also had a strong game defensively, starting with pitcher Ben Wessel. Wessel (6-4) made his first appearance of the tournament Saturday, pitching his way onto the All-Championship team, with a seven-inning, four-hit shutout.
Davidson (28-26), playing in its first conference title game in program history, avoided the shutout with a two-run pinch-hit bomb by Aaron Tovsky that landed on the road outside Houlihan Park. Surprisingly, Tovsky’s round-tripper was the only homer on Saturday by either team. There were 20 home runs in the first 11 games of the championship, with six of those from Rhode Island.
Max Bazin led the Wildcats, who were playing their fifth game in four days, with a 2-for-4 day at the plate. Durin O’Linger (7-5), who had a brilliant game to open the championship for Davidson, took the loss. O’Linger was pitching on short rest after throwing six 1/3 innings on Wednesday.
Joining Figueroa and Wessel on the All-Championship Team from Rhode Island were Chris Hess and Ryan Olmo. Davidson had four players on the All-Championship team. Lee Miller, Josh Smutzer, Brian Fortier and Westin Whitmire, Davidson. Also on the team were Joey Runco from Fordham, Logan Farrar of VCU, and Pat Vanderslice and Deon Stafford, Jr. from Saint Joseph’s.