SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Fresh off a weekend sweep of Mount St. Mary's, the Bryant University baseball team makes the short trip to Kingston, R.I., to take on in-state rival Rhode Island at Bill Beck Field on Tuesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs (14-16) and Rams (15-14-1) wrap up their home-and-home series with Tuesday's mid-week contest. URI won the first meeting in Smithfield, 11-6, on April 8. It will be the 10th meeting between the two schools, with Bryant hold a 5-4 advantage.
Bryant comes into Tuesday's game with an offense that is just starting to heat up. After hitting just .234 in their first 16 games, the Black and Gold have hit .341 over the last 14 and are averaging 8.6 runs per game. Last weekend, they hit .370 in four games against the Mountaineers are now hitting .285 as a team with 62 doubles, 11 triples and 28 home runs.
Juniors Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) and Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) have been the hottest of the bunch recently. Named the NEC Player of the Week on Monday, McCarthy is coming off a week in which he hit .714 (10-for-14) with six RBI, three runs scored and a .737 OBP. He's been even better over the last seven, hitting .636 (14-for-22) with nine RBI, five runs scored and a .679 OBP. McCarthy has raised his average from .140 all the way to .292 entering Tuesday's contest.
Rinn has also enjoyed a turnaround this year and is coming off a weekend in which he went 6-for-11 with two home runs, six RBI, eight runs scored, five walks and a .667 OBP. Rinn went 7-for-36 (.194) with six RBI and four runs scored in his first 10 games but has hit .392 (29-for-74) with seven doubles, five home runs, 17 RBI and 23 runs scored in his last 19 games.
Sophomore Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) is scheduled to make his first career start against the Rams. Bingel has appeared in 14 games out of the bullpen in his first year and a half, posting a 1-3 record and a 7.13 ERA. This season, he has allowed 14 runs on 17 hits, walked six and struck out seven over 9.1 innings.
URI is also playing very good baseball of late after taking two-of-three from Richmond this past weekend. The Rams are led by Tim Caputo who is hitting .296 with a team-high 21 runs scored. Mike Corin has three home runs and a team-leading 28 RBI and Martin Taveras has been on a tear since the Bulldogs and Rams last met. Over his last seven games, Taveras has three home runs and seven RBI.
Ben Wessel will make his fourth start of the year for the Rams. He is 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA in 17.2 innings. Wessel has struck out 11, walked three and teams are hitting .269 against him.