4 Rams collect accolades ahead of season opener

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KINGSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island senior Tim Caputo as well as juniors Lou Distasio, Chase Livingston and Steve Moyers, each have earned preseason recoginition leading into next week’s opener.

Caputo was identified as one of the Atlantic 10’s top defensive infielders in College Baseball Insider’s polling of the league’s head coaches. The Rhody shortstop enters his final season ranked fifth all-time at URI with 476 career assists and holds two of the top three single-game totals. It is the second time Caputo earns this honor as he also was recognized for his defensive ability prior to the start of the 2013 season.

Distasio was listed at No. 7 on Baseball America’s ranking of the A-10’s top draft prospects, and was slotted at No. 15 in New England Baseball Journal’s assessment of the regions top prospects. As a weekend starter last season, he recorded 63 strikeouts in 77.2 innings pitched held Atlantic 10 hitters to a combined .202 average over eight outings. He finished the year with a 3.71 ERA.

Livingston was recognized in CBI’s poll as the A-10’s best defensive catcher. One of four Rhody players to see time behind the dish last season, he ranked second with 17 starts – the majority of which came in conference play. He allowed just three passed balls in 25 games and threw out nearly half (8-19) of the runners attempting to steal on him.

Moyers was tabbed as one of the A-10’s best starting pitchers, according to CBI. He also earned a spot on College Sports Madness’ preseason all-conference team. The Rhody southpaw finished his sophomore campaign ranked second in the conference in both WHIP (1.03) and hits allowed per nine innings (7.21). Overall, he allowed just 66 hits over 82.1 innings and recorded 60 strikeouts opposite just 19 walks. Moyers ended the season with a team-best 2.30 ERA and .216 opposing average.

As a team, Rhode Island was picked to finish 11th of 13 in the Atlantic 10 preseason coaches poll. The Rams are coming off a down year, in which the team went 13-40 (7-18) and failed to qualify for the conference tournament for the first time in over a decade.

However, Rhody returns its top two weekend staters in Moyers and Distasio – a tandem which combined for 13 quality starts and a pair of complete-game shutouts in league play last season. The Rams also welcome back five of their top six offensive performers from a year ago as well as the bulk of their speed on the base paths.

Rhode Island opens the 2015 season with a three game set at No. 2 Florida, beginning on Friday, Feb. 13. The Rams and Gators will play at 7 p.m. on opening night, followed by a 4 p.m. game on Saturday and a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.

2015 Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Poll

Team – Voting Points (first-place votes)

1. Saint Louis – 161 (6)

2. VCU – 157 (5)

3. George Mason – 128 (1)

4. Richmond – 120

5. Saint Joseph’s – 106

6. Dayton – 102 (1)

7. Davidson – 96

8. George Washington – 74

9. Fordham – 73

10. La Salle – 54

11. Rhode Island – 44

Massachusetts – 44

13. St. Bonaventure – 24

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