May 22, 2009
DAYTON, Ohio - Jeff Cammans, Oliver Palmer and Dan Rhault each collected a pair of RBI singles and junior Nick Greenwood tossed eight solid innings as second-seeded Rhode Island moved one step closer to capturing its second title in program history as it turned aside top-seeded Dayton, 9-2, on Friday afternoon at the 2009 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship from Fifth Third Field.
URI (37-18-1), which won its lone A-10 crown in 2005 at Fifth Third Field, advances to Saturday's final round and will play either Dayton, Massachusetts or Xavier at 12:00pm. If necessary, a winner-take-all contest will be played at 3;30pm. Vying for its first league title in program annals, Dayton (38-18) will face the XU-UMass winner at 7:00pm this evening.
"I thought our approach at the plate was great today," said Rhode Island head coach Jim Foster, who has led the team to a program-best 37 wins this season.
"We got on top of a lot of balls and I think we had four or five two-strike hits. It was a little bit of everything today. They did a real nice job."
Rhode Island jumped on Dayton starter Quinn Haselhorst (8-5) for three runs on four hits in the top of the first, highlighted by run-scoring singles from Rhault and Cammans. The Flyers tried to answer in their first at-bat as second baseman Zach Jacob doubled and senior Marshall MacDonald reached on an infield single with one out. However, Greenwood kept UD off the board as Greenwood got Aaron Dunsmore on a ground out and fanned shortstop Cole Tyrell to retire the side. URI pushed its advantage to 4-0 in the second as centerfielder Kenny Burns singled, stole second and scored on Palmer's bloop single down the leftfield line.
Dayton's first two batters reached base in the second as designated hitter Jake Hoover singled and advanced to second on a hit by freshman Max Navalinski. However, Greenwood escaped harm as third baseman UD Jimmy Roesinger grounded into a double play and catcher Scott Dunwoody grounded out to third to end the inning. URI broke the game open in the top of the sixth with four runs on five consecutive singles, including RBI hits from Palmer Rhault and first baseman Tom Coulombe. It marked Rhault's 60th RBI of the season, a program single-season record.
Dayton added a run in the eighth as Dunsmore's RBI single scored senior Jacob Spaeth but the Rams' turned their four double play of the game in the inning and Greenwood notched his fifth strikeout of the afternoon to retire the side. The southpaw scattered 10 hits and fanned five as he improved to 7-3 on the season.
"Coach says all the time that a pitcher's best friend is the double play and I was able to get a lot of ground balls today. When I needed it, I got it," said Greenwood, who did not walk a batter on the afternoon and has issued just 16 free passes in 92.1 innings pitched this season.
"They are a real good fastball hitting team so I just tried to get ahead and use my changeup and curveball, which were good today."
Outfielders Kenny Burns and Zoey Angulo each collected three hits apiece on the afternoon, while Rhault scored three runs and Cammans knocked in three for URI, which pounded out 18 hits on the afternoon.
Jacob paced the Flyers offensively with three hits, while Haselhorst allowed eight runs on 13 hits over 5.1 innings while making his school-record 50th career start.