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Rhode Island Rams baseball


Rhode Island Rams baseball

Rhode Island Rams
Founded: 1898
2013 Rhode Island Rams baseball team
Rhode Island Rams athletic logo

University University of Rhode Island
Conference A-10
Location Kingston, RI
Head Coach Jim Foster (8th year)
Home Stadium Bill Beck Field
(Capacity: 1,000)
Nickname Rams

Keaney Blue and White and Navy Blue

NCAA Tournament Appearances
Conference Tournament Champions
Conference Champions
A-10: 2006, 2013
A-10 East: 2003, 2004, 2005

The Rhode Island Rams baseball team is the varsity intercollegiate baseball team of the University of Rhode Island, located in Kingston, Rhode Island, United States. The program has been a member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference since the start of the 1981 season. Since the 1966 season, the program has played at Bill Beck Field, located on the university's campus. Jim Foster has been the program's head coach since prior to the start of the 2006 season. As of the end of the 2013 season, the program has appeared in one NCAA Tournament. It has won one conference tournament, two regular season conference title, and three regular season division titles. As of the start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season, two former Rams have appeared in Major League Baseball.


Early years

The university first held classes in 1892, as the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.[1] Its varsity baseball program began play in 1898, going 6-2 in its first season. The program played two more seasons before going on hiatus from 1901–1906. It returned in 1907.[2] In 1909, the school was renamed Rhode Island State College.[1] After taking one season off in 1918, due to World War I, the program resumed play for the 1919 season.[2]

Prior to the start of the 1921 season, Frank Keaney was named the program's head coach.[2] In the preceding fall, Keaney had also been named the college's head football and men's basketball coach.[3]

On March 8, 1923, the Ram was adopted as the official mascot and nickname of the college's athletic programs.[4]

New England Conference

Prior to the start of the 1924 season, the New England Conference formed. In addition to Rhode Island State, the conference's members were Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Northeastern. It sponsored baseball from its inception.[5][6][7]

The program played 22 seasons in the conference (1924–1943, 1946–1947), all under Keaney. During this period, in which the program had a 194-92-1 overall record, the program's highest win total came in 1937 (16-4), and its highest winning percentage came in 1933 (.923).[2]

Yankee Conference

Prior to the start of the 1948 season, the Rams joined the Yankee Conference. The conference formed has a result of Northeastern's departure from the New England Conference.[8] It consisted of the four remaining NEC members, along with Massachusetts State and Vermont.[9]

Frank Keaney retired as head baseball coach following the 1948 season. In 26 seasons as head coach, Keaney had a record of 222-113-1.[2] He also stepped down as the school's men's basketball coach at this time, in order to become Rhode Island State's athletic director.[3] Shortly thereafter, in 1951, the name of the school was changed from Rhode Island State College to the University of Rhode Island.[1]

The program struggled during its time in the Yankee Conference. After going 14-3 in 1949, its first season under Vic Paladino, the program had an above-.500 record in only six of 31 seasons. Two of these seasons, 1955 and 1956, came under head coach Bill Beck, who would step down following the 1959 season.[2] In 1966, the program's home venue was dedicated to Beck.[10]

Following the 1975 season, the Yankee Conference stopped sponsoring sports other than football.[11] Rhode Island competed as a Division I Independent from 1976–1980.

Atlantic 10 Conference

Prior to the 1981 season, the program joined the recently formed Eastern 8 Conference, playing in the East Division along with Rutgers and Massachusetts. Following the 1982 season, with several changes to the conference's membership, the conference became known by its current name, the Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10).[12] Rhode Island made the transition under head coach John Norris, who had held the position since prior to the 1970 season.[2] In 1984, Norris led the program to its first postseason appearance, a berth in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Rams qualified for the tournament by finishing tied for 2nd in the East Division. In the four-team, double-elimination tournament, Rhode Island won its opening two games, 15-3 over West Virginia and 7-6 over Penn State. The team then could have won the tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a win over Temple, which had already lost one game. However, Temple defeated the Rams in consecutive games, 6-3 and 6-4.[12] For the remainder of Norris' tenure, which lasted through the 1987 season, and the entirety of Dave Morris' tenure (1988–1992), the Rams finished no higher than third in the East Division and did not qualify for the postseason.[2]

Following the 1992 season, the university hired program alumnus Frank Leoni as head coach at a time when it considered cutting the baseball program. At the time, Leoni was the youngest coach in Division I baseball.[13][14][15] His early seasons as head coach were poor. In 1994, his second season, the team had its worst season in the Atlantic 10 era, going 2-39-1 with a 1-22 A-10 record amid discussions of cutting the program. In the late-1990s, after the school decided to keep the program, however, the team improved. In 1998 and 1999, the team finished tied for 3rd in the East Division. In 2001, it finished with an above-.500 record for the first time since 1984, going 27-23.[2]

In 2003, the program finished tied for 1st in the East Division and returned the postseason for the first time since 1984. In the A-10 Tournament, the Rams went 1-2. In 2004, the program won the East Division outright and returned to the A-10 Tournament. After losing its opening game to St. Bonaventure, the team defeated George Washington and Richmond to advance to the championship game against St. Bonaventure. There, it lost 3-2.[2][12][16]

In 2005, the Rams won the East Division and the A-10 Tournament in order to advance to the program's first NCAA Tournament. In the conference tournament, the Rams went 3-0, defeating Dayton, Richmond, and George Washington to receive the A-10's automatic bid to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. As the fourth seed in the Long Beach Regional, the team lost its opening game to Long Beach State, 11-2. It then lost an elimination game to Pepperdine, 2-1.[2][12][16]

Following the 2005 season, Leoni left Rhode Island to become the head coach at William & Mary.[16] He was replaced by Jim Foster, a former Providence player and minor-league catcher who had been an assistant at Brown from 2002–2004 and at Rhode Island in 2005.[2][17][18] In Foster's first season, 2006, the Rams won the A-10 Regular Season Title.[2] In the A-10 Tournament, the team was eliminated after consecutive one-run losses: 3-2 against Saint Louis and 6-5 in 17 innings against George Washington. In 2009, the team set a program-record with 37 wins and finished second in the A-10. After losing to Xavier in the deciding game of the A-10 Tournament, the team was considered for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but did not receive one.[12][19][20][21]

During an October 2011 fall workout, Rhode Island player Joseph Ciancola collapsed on the playing field and died in the hospital shortly thereafter.[22][23] During the following season, Ciancola was commemorated by both Rhode Island and his former high school team.[24][25]

In the 2013 season, the team finished in a three-way tie for the regular season A-10 championship. Rhode Island, Saint Louis, and Charlotte each finished with 17-7 conference records. In the opening round of the A-10 Tournament, the Rams defeated La Salle, 5-2, behind a complete game by Mike Bradstreet. It then lost consecutive games to Charlotte and George Washington, however, and was eliminated from the tournament.[26]

Conference affiliations

  • Independent (1898–1900, 1907–1917, 1919–1923)
  • New England Conference (1924–1943, 1946–1947)
  • Yankee Conference (1948–1975)
  • Independent (1976–1980)
  • Atlantic 10 Conference (1981–present)
    • Known as the Eastern 8 Conference from 1981–1982


Bill Beck Field

Main article: Bill Beck Field

Since the start of the 1966 season, the Rams have played on campus at Bill Beck Field. The field has a capacity of 1,000 spectators and has been renovated twice since 2000. It is named for Bill Beck, former Rhode Island football and baseball coach.[2] The site of the field has hosted Rhode Island baseball since its first season in 1898.[10]


Home games for Rhode Island baseball and softball are carried by the University of Rhode Island's radio station, WRIU. Many baseball home games (and nearby away games) are broadcast on 90.3FM, with the remaining baseball and all home softball games streamed online on RIU2.[27]

Head coaches

Frank Keaney is the program's longest-tenured head coach, having coached for 26 seasons in two stints, 1921–1943, 1946–1948. Frank Leoni, who coached from 1993–2005, is the program's wins leader with 266.[2][12][28]

Year(s) Coach Seasons W-L-T Pct
1898–1900, 1907–1917, 1919–1920 Unknown 16 64-65-1 .492
1921–1943, 1946–1948 Frank Keaney 26 222-113-1 .622
1949-1953 Vic Paladino 5 41-40-1 .506
1954-1959 Bill Beck 6 40-56-1 .417
1960-1961 John Chironna 2 16-15-1 .516
1962 Pete Stark 1 5-12-1 .295
1963–1968 Bob Butler 6 33-72-2 .314
1969 Brit Piez 1 5-13 .278
1970–1987 John Norris 18 208-267-4 .438
1988–1992 Dave Morris 5 59-128-3 .315
1993–2005 Frank Leoni 13 266-343-4 .437
2006–present Jim Foster 8 256-187-2 .579

Current coaching staff

  • Head coach – Jim Foster
  • Assistant coach – Raphael Cerrato
  • Assistant coach – Matt Unteit
  • Volunteer assistant coach – Mike Walsh[29]

Yearly record

Season Coach Overall Conference Standing Postseason

1898 Unknown 6-2
1899 Unknown 3-1
1900 Unknown 4-2

1907 Unknown 9-3
1908 Unknown 3-4
1909 Unknown 3-3-1
1910 Unknown 2-5
1911 Unknown 3-5
1912 Unknown 2-7
1913 Unknown 2-6
1914 Unknown 2-6
1915 Unknown 7-2
1916 Unknown 3-4
1917 Unknown 5-2

1919 Unknown 6-8
1920 Unknown 4-5
1921 Frank Keaney 4-6
1922 Frank Keaney 9-5
1923 Frank Keaney 7-5
Independent: 84-81-1

1924 Frank Keaney 6-5
1925 Frank Keaney 5-8
1926 Frank Keaney 7-7-1
1927 Frank Keaney 9-4
1928 Frank Keaney 11-1
1929 Frank Keaney 8-6
1930 Frank Keaney 11-3
1931 Frank Keaney 10-3
1932 Frank Keaney 11-1
1933 Frank Keaney 12-1
1934 Frank Keaney 9-5
1935 Frank Keaney 10-3
1936 Frank Keaney 10-6
1937 Frank Keaney 16-4
1938 Frank Keaney 9-9
1939 Frank Keaney 12-3
1940 Frank Keaney 7-6
1941 Frank Keaney 11-3
1942 Frank Keaney 6-7
1943 Frank Keaney 7-3

1946 Frank Keaney 1-3
1947 Frank Keaney 6-1
NEC: 194-92-1

1948 Frank Keaney 8-5
1949 Vic Paladino 14-3
1950 Vic Paladino 9-7
1951 Vic Paladino 7-9-1
1952 Vic Paladino 6-10
1953 Vic Paladino 5-11
1954 Bill Beck 4-12
1955 Bill Beck 10-8
1956 Bill Beck 10-7
1957 Bill Beck 7-9-1
1958 Bill Beck 7-9
1959 Bill Beck 2-11
1960 John Chironna 8-6-1
1961 John Chironna 8-9
1962 Pete Stark 5-12-1
1963 Bob Butler 5-8
1964 Bob Butler 5-13
1965 Bob Butler 3-15
1966 Bob Butler 6-11
1967 Bob Butler 4-13-1
1968 Bob Butler 10-12-1
1969 Brit Piez 5-13
1970 John Norris 9-6
1971 John Norris 6-12
1972 John Norris 7-11
1973 John Norris 6-14
1974 John Norris 8-9
1975 John Norris 7-14-2
Yankee: 204-279-8

1976 John Norris 9-13
1977 John Norris 11-13
1978 John Norris 13-17
1979 John Norris 12-15
1980 John Norris 15-13
Independent: 60-71

1981 John Norris 14-18 3-5 3rd (East)
1982 John Norris 17-19 3-4 3rd (East)
1983 John Norris 15-22 3-7 4th (East)
1984 John Norris 22-18 6-5 t-2nd (East) A-10 Tournament
1985 John Norris 14-16-1 5-7 4th (East)
1986 John Norris 14-15-1 4-7-1 3rd (East)
1987 John Norris 9-22 4-10 4th (East)
1988 Dave Morris 10-28 5-11 4th (East)
1989 Dave Morris 15-25 5-10 3rd (East)
1990 Dave Morris 11-23-2 6-10 3rd (East)
1991 Dave Morris 15-27 4-12 5th (East)
1992 Dave Morris 8-25-1 4-12 5th (East)
1993 Frank Leoni 12-26 5-14 8th
1994 Frank Leoni 2-39-1 1-22 9th
1995 Frank Leoni 12-31 5-16 9th
1996 Frank Leoni 15-24 6-14 6th (East)
1997 Frank Leoni 14-28-1 6-15 5th (East)
1998 Frank Leoni 19-24 8-10 t-3rd (East)
1999 Frank Leoni 22-28 10-11 t-3rd (East)
2000 Frank Leoni 24-25-1 8-13 t-4th (East)
2001 Frank Leoni 27-23 10-12 t-5th
2002 Frank Leoni 24-28 10-14 t-3rd (East)
2003 Frank Leoni 26-26 16-8 t-1st (East) A-10 Tournament
2004 Frank Leoni 35-20-1 20-4 1st (East) A-10 Tournament
2005 Frank Leoni 34-21 18-6 1st (East) NCAA Regional
2006 Jim Foster 35-14 19-6 1st A-10 Tournament
2007 Jim Foster 23-29 16-11 5th A-10 Tournament
2008 Jim Foster 31-27-1 15-11 5th A-10 Tournament
2009 Jim Foster 37-20-1 19-6 2nd A-10 Tournament
2010 Jim Foster 31-26 17-10 3rd A-10 Tournament
2011 Jim Foster 31-22 16-8 2nd A-10 Tournament
2012 Jim Foster 33-25-1 16-8 3rd A-10 Tournament
2013 Jim Foster 34-25 17-7 t-1st A-10 Tournament
A-10: 686-789-12 310-326-1
Total: 1215-1311-21

      National champion         Conference regular season champion         Conference tournament champion
      Conference regular season and conference tournament champion       Conference division champion


Notable former players

The following is a list of notable former Rams.

2012 MLB Draft

One Ram was selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. P Chris Pickering, drafted in the 32nd round by the San Francisco Giants, elected to sign a professional contract.[32][33]


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