by David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
NEW BRITAIN, CT-When the game started at Beehive Field it was bright and sunny, and sixty degrees, but by the time it ended in the darkness it was likely in the 30s. The change in the weather was quite symbolic of the changing nature of a game which URI appeared to be in control of twice, but would eventually fall to a Central team which just kept fighting and took advantage of some Rhody errors in the process. In the process both team showed their offensive proficiencies and their ability to take what was given to them by the opposing pitching and defense and use it.
Pat Robinson started the game for the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut, and opened things up giving up a single to URI’s Pete Mastors, who was sacrifice bunted to second by Oliver Palmer, and knocked in by Dan Rhault’s single to left field. A fielder’s choice would folow and Robinson would strike out Rob DeVeney looking for the third out.
Ken Graveline took the mound for URI in the bottom of the 1st and got a 1-2-3 inning including striking out Central’s Sean Allaire and Jay Schillaci.
In the second Robinson got Jeff Cammans swinging, but hit Zoey Angulo with his first pitch. The next two batters resulted in a pop out and ground out preventing the hits batsmen from causing any damage.
Graveline gave up his first hit of the game to CCSU’s Richie Tri, but other than that it was a quiet inning.
Robinson struck out Mastors to open up the third, but gave up a double which flew over the left fielder’s head to Palmer. Rhault then it a single to center, but Mastors held at third. Tom Coulombe hit a hard grounder which bounced off the Blue Devil’s third baseman and flew into left field scoring Palmer, moving Rhault to third and Coulombe made it into second in the scramble. After a conference at the mound, the next two Rhody Rams batters grounded out to limit the damage.
Graveline walked Central’s Sean Parker to open the inning, and Mitch Wells hit a single to Center leading to a URI conference at the mound. Graveline struck out Allaire, and Casey Walko stepped in. He knocked the ball to third and the URI fielder got the force out only to have the throw to first come out of the glove and the runners were safe at 2nd and 1st. Schillaci grounded to second to end the inning though getting Graveline out of the jam.
At the top of the 4th Central brought in a new pitcher, Tyler Riordan who gave up two singles to open things up when Angulo and Mike LeBel went back to back. Milan Adams popped up a bunt up too high and it was caught of the pop up. Mastors stepped in and fouled the ball off three straight times, though the count eventually made it to 3-2, and he fouled it off again, and again. All the while Riordan was keeping a close eye on Angulo at second, and eventually made a pickoff attempt that flew into center field advancing each of the runners. Mastors fouled off another pitch, though finally put the ball in play with a grounder to 1st, but Angulo scored in the process. Palmer flied out to Center, but the Rams had another run on the board.
Graveline got a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 4th and brought his team up to bat again quickly.
Rhault singled to center, and Coulombe blasted a home run to deep left field putting URI up by 5. DeVeney grounded to first, but Cammans singled to center leading to a call to the bullpen, Central’s Jack Greenhouse came in and got Angulo to fly out to right field. LeBel came up to bat, and Cammans made a run at second, the pitch was in the dirt and the throw was not in time. With the count at 3-2, LeBel blasted a shot down the line, but CCSU’s Pat Epps made a great dive, snagged it, and sent it to first to end the inning.
To open up the bottom of the fith, Kyle Zarotney, and Sean Parker both singled. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Wells hit the ball to second base, and the force was acquired, but the throw to 1st went awry, putting Wells on 1st and Zarotney on third. Allaire then sent a sacrifice fly into center field getting Central on the board. Walko then smashed a home run to left scoring two runs and putting CCSU back in the game. Schillaci stepped in and bunted the ball to the pitcher, who threw it way off line giving the Central player a run to 2nd. With that the URI bullpen started up. Epps then hit a grounder to short, which looked routine but he beat it out before the throw arrived putting two Central runners on base. Graveline remained in the game and got Tommy Meade swinging for the strike out to end the inning, but it was a ballgame again.
The top of the sixth opened with a ground out, though Mastors made it to base when the shortstop bobbled his grounder, though Palmer flied out next to put 2 outs on the board. With Rhault up to bat, Greenhouse picked Angulo off between 1st and 2nd base and CCSU was coming up to bat again.
Gardner Leaver was the new Rams pitcher to open the inning, and gave up a walk to Tri, only to get Zarotney to hit into a double play. With 2 outs, Parker sent a blooper into shallow center, and Wells followed it with a single to left. Allaire sent another single into left, and Parker arrived at home. Walko got a 3-2 count before singling to center and sending Wells all the way home. Schillaci flied out to center, and the game was now 5-5.
Rhault opened up the seventh inning with a triple to the right field corner. Columbe walked to put runners at the corners. DeVeney then whacked one to left field to score another run. A pitching change followed and Ken Kerski arrived on the mound. Cammans laid down a sac bunt to move the runners along. The dangerous Angulo then doubled over the left fielder into the corner, and two more runs followed. Kerski struck out LeBel, but Milan Adams struck swith another single scoring another run. Mastors fouled the ball all over the place, before following blooping the ball to center. Palmer stepped in and knocked a single to right field, and the URI runner’s attempt to score failed as the throw arrived on time. The score was now 9-5 URI however.
Rhody picked up two outs quickly in the bottom half, but Tri walked, and later stole 2nd, only to be joined on base by Zarotney who also walked. A mound conference followed but URI escaped when Parker popped out.
Dan Markoya arrived on the mount for CCSU to start up the 8th. Central’s first baseman saved a hit with a diving save to the gap between 1st and 2nd for the first out of the inning. Coulombe hit a single to Center and would end up at second when a pitch went in the dirt. DeVeney lined out to center, but Cammans walked and Coulombe made it to third on another pitch in the dirt. Angulo flied out to get Markoya out of trouble and leave the deficit at 4.
Mark Fraser came into pitch for the vistors, but walked Wells. Allaire’s double to track in the outfield, moved Wells to third and quickly lead to a pitching change bring Cam Fox in. Walko welcomed the new pitcher with a triple to right field scoring Wells and Allaire and Luke Demko was quickly brought in from the URI bullpen. Schillaci lined out, but Epps was hit by a pitch, and Meade hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Walko. The rally ended with Tri’s fly out to center, but the score was 9-8 and it was a ballgame once again.
Chris Chagnon was the new CCSU pitcher in the top of the 9th. LeBel was able to make it to first when Chagnon bobbled a grounder hit to him, but Adams popped a bunt out, and Mastors popped out to short as well. LeBel then tried to steal second and was thrown out.
As the bottom opened, Zarotney was unable to make it to first on a bunt attempt. Parker however made contact with a half swing, which sent a ball bouncing right first, only to have it bobbled by the first basemen and allow him to make it. Wells was struck out looking to put 2 outs on the board. Allaire came up and found himself with an 0-2 count. He fouled a ball off, and a ball followed. He followed that with smacking the ball to outfield and Parker made it home and Allaire arrived at third in the ensuing throwing around. The score was now tied. The incredibly dangerous Walko stepped in and was also brough to an 0-2 count, Fraser threw two straight balls and it was 2-2 before he sent a wild pitch flying past his catcher and Allaire raced home.
Rhode Island 9-17-2
Central Connecticut 10-14-4