Easter is a time for large get-togethers, usually punctuated by an Easter egg hunt. The baseball teams of the University of Rhode Island and George Washington University spent their holiday not on the lookout for candy, but for a run.
Charged with keeping the Colonials at bay for URI was Pilgrim graduate Sean Furney, who rewarded the faith of coach Jim Foster by pitching 8.2 innings of shutout ball, taking a no-hit bid into the seventh and striking out a career-high 13 batters on only two hits before giving way to the Ram bullpen with the score still knotted at zero.
Furney’s flirtation with the no-no came to an end with one out in the seventh inning, when George Washington’s Jimmy Best chalked up the only extra-base hit of the game, a double down the right field line which promptly went for naught as Furney settled down and got the final two outs of the frame in order.
Two innings and a pair of outs later, Furney hit the wall and left the game with the potential go-ahead run in scoring position. Reliever Ty Sterner ensured that there would not be a blot on Furney’s copybook by striking out Kyle Gelling to retire the side.
Rhody then proceeded to blow a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth by leaving the bases loaded before redeeming themselves in the tenth.
The bonus frame for the Rams started with a Tim Caputo base hit before Hendricken product Jeff Roy laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Caputo into scoring position.
Chris Famiglietti then flew out to right for the second out, which was then followed by a Jeff Cammans intentional walk, setting the stage for Milan Adams to be the hero.
The Hendricken graduate obliged, connecting on a 1-2 pitch and ending the heretofore fruitless search for a run by driving home Caputo, netting URI’s 16th win of the season in the process.
The 13-strikeout, two-hit performance served as the culmination of Furney’s recent transformation from struggling reliever to sterling starter. His earned run average has dwindled from 7.36 to 2.10 over his last three appearances — all starts— and he has allowed only one earned run over that same stretch.
Roy has made sure that the sophomore jinx would not afflict him as it has to countless others. He leads the team with a .322 batting average, along with ten stolen bases and a team-high 31 runs. Roy also cleared some room on his personal trophy shelf recently, when he was named the Atlantic 10 Conference player of the week for the week ending April 1.
Prior to his extra-inning heroics, Adams had been putting together a solid season at the plate in his own right. His .311 batting average trails only Roy, while contributing eight doubles and a home run, which came in a 10-7 defeat against UC Santa Barbara on March 15.
The Rams currently possess a 17-14 record, boosted by recent series wins over Charlotte, Saint Joseph’s and George Washington in A-10 play. After midweek contests versus Quinnipiac and Bryant, Rhody returns to conference action Friday afternoon in the first game of a three-game away series against St. Bonaventure.
McGuirl earns conference honor
Warwick’s Don McGuirl, a freshman at St. Michael’s College, was named the Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week for the week ending on April 8.
McGuirl batted .357 for the week, recorded a .500 on-base clip and was perfect defensively from his position at shortstop during a 2-3 week for the team. He reached base in every game, walking three times and being hit by a pitch while driving in three runs. Against The College of Saint Rose on Friday, he was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in the opener before going 2-for-3 with two RBI, a run and a walk in the nightcap. Versus No. 12 Le Moyne College on Saturday, he walked twice in game one.
McGuirl leads the team with 16 RBIs despite starting every game batting ninth, and he is also hitting .271 while having struck out only five times in 80 plate appearances. His three sacrifice bunts also pace the squad, and McGuirl has successfully fielded 93.3 percent of his chances at shortstop.