Saturday Afternoon Baseball In Bristol Featuring Roger Williams University vs Nichols College

On Saturday March 26th (yesterday), The Roger Williams University (RWU) Baseball team welcomed family, friends, fans, and classmates to their first home games of 2022. A doubleheader opening weekend matchup would feature the RWU Hawks Baseball team vs Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) rivals Nichols College at RWU’s Paolino Field. Coming into the weekend, the RWU Hawks squad had posted an impressive 10-1 record, having just returned from a very successful Spring trip in Florida. RWU was just one of a bunch of baseball games and events happening around Rhode Island yesterday. Field day cleanups, high school scrimmages, local colleges and universities baseball action going on!!! However, since RWU was on my list of fields I had yet to attend for a game, I decided to take the drive out to Bristol for Game 2 – Roger Williams vs Nichols College.

I mentioned “yet to attend a game” because I have been to Roger Williams University before to check out Paolino Field. Just before the pandemic and college baseball seasons were cancelled in 2020, I was able to walk the campus, take some photos of the field, and check out the athletic facilities at Roger Williams. I was eager to get back to Bristol and take in the fan experience for a live baseball game. Depending on your timetable, the town of Bristol can be reached by several routes. On Saturday, I took what I thought was the most direct – 95North to 195East, into Massachusetts. Then Exit 5 (used to be Exit 2) for Route 136, follow into Swansea, then Warren, then all the way down Metacom Ave into Bristol, then left into the Roger Williams University Athletic Fields parking area. From the road, you can see the baseball field on your right as well as the softball field. I parked down by the tennis courts. There was a ton of campus activity going on when I arrived just before Game 2.

First thing I noticed was the very chilly March wind coming off the water. The Mount Hope Bridge was clearly visible when I parked and the wind coming across the campus was most definitely noticeable. I was glad that it was a short walk from the parking lot up to the athletic fields area, because I was seasonably underdressed with just a hoodie on. On my left was the RWU Hawks multipurpose field, where there was a field hockey practice or scrimmage going on. And to the right – Paolino Field. I arrived just before Game 2, teams were warming up on the field, and on the sidelines talking to friends and family. I found a spot in the first base bleachers and checked my phone for results of Game 1. It was an RWU win, their 11th of the season – RWU 4, Nichols 2.

Game 2 got underway right at 2pm. And from the start, the chatter from the stands got underway as well. I didn’t get to see any of Game 1 but fans from both teams were certainly not too happy with some of the calls made by the 2 umpires. Nichols fans were vocal, followed by a few sections of RWU fans that were also very vocal about calls made, balls and strikes, and so on. It was a very well attended game, the stands I was sitting it was full, as were the bleachers to my right. Fans stood and cheered from behind home plate, in the right field fences in their lawn chairs, and up the slight incline next to an RWU building.

I have to admit, I love the chatter of baseball – so long as it is cleaned up and not overly personal or derogatory. It can be downright comical at times and Saturday’s game was no exception. At one point, the RWU Hawks PA announcer read a statement about sportsmanship and fan behavior and asked fans to simply “Be Nice!” I think for the most part it was just parents sticking up for their kids and students/classmates/fans being fans.

I witnessed, with my own eyes 3 bunt attempts, 3 successful plays to advance runners – 1 by RWU and 2 by Nichols College. That was awesome!!! Fundamental baseball in a tightly contested game where runs are going to be scarce. A base hit, followed by the next batter bunting the runner into scoring position, sacrificing his at bat so a runner could move up to 2nd or 3rd base – great to see this on the field and great to see each team executing the bunt play to perfection! Check out the photo above. Is there any doubt that Roger Williams Baseball has made a commitment to good technique when it comes to bunting. Not in my mind.

Pre-game, I checked the rosters of both Roger Williams University and Nichols College for Rhode Island baseball players. Nichols College has 2 players – Kyle McCutcheon and Marc Catone. RWU Hawks Baseball features 6 players total – Kyle Davenport, Connor Padovich, Lucas Lariviere, Mike Uriati, Mike Bogosian, and Alec Lavallee. RWU’s Lavallee started Game 2 in Rightfield and I was able to snap a few photos of his at bats. Nichols’ McCutcheon got into Game 2 after I had already left, and recorded 1 inning of work, no runs allowed.

As I departed in the middle of the 5th inning, the score was tied up 2-2. In the bottom of the 5th, RWU exploded for 5 runs to break this very close game open. Nichols would counter in the 6th and 8th with runs, but RWU had an answer as well, scoring 3 in the bottom of the 7th. A 1-2-3 top of the 9th sealed the win for Roger Williams. Final score – RWU 10, Nichols 5. A doubleheader sweep on a windy March Saturday in Bristol put the Roger Williams University Hawks Baseball team at an impressive 12-1 to start the 2022 season. Very cool!

Great visit to Bristol, RI’s Roger Williams University. I got to experience a very competitive game with good pitching, some well executed and timely sacrifice bunts, a lot of playful banter in the stands from family and fans, the sun came out now and then to say Hello and warm me up, and some great baseball overall. Paolino Field was in really good shape for March and the game was very well attended by family, friends, classmates, and RWU baseball fans. And Roger Williams University Hawks baseball is off to a phenomenal start to the season at 12-1, having swept their opening weekend doubleheader.

For more information on Roger Williams University baseball, head over to their baseball page – RWU Baseball. And make sure you follow them on social media for live game updates, scores, photos, and highlights. Best of luck to the RWU players, coaches, and families going forward!

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