Baseball reaches 20-win mark with 9-6 victory against Cincinnati

Tuesday night VCU Baseball defeated Cincinnati in the first game of a two-game series. The Rams have reached the 20th win mark and hope to earn their 21st in the second game in the series.

Two VCU players hit big for the Rams. Senior right fielder Justin Mattison went three for four, scoring three runs and freshman Gabe Riley earned a career-high four runs.

Junior second basemen Nick Jones also added two hits and two RBIs to the Rams’ tally. The team ended up with a 9-6 win and a 20-6 record. The Bearcats dropped to 6-15, earning their fifth loss in a row.

The first inning was full of action, with the Bearcats up first. Cincinnati had two runs, with second baseman Mark Muscenti and sophomore center fielder Justin Niefer both reaching home plate.

VCU kept up with the pace set by Cincinnati in the bottom, when Riley drove in freshman left fielder Joe Meador on a groundout to second base. Junior second baseman Jones then doubled to right field, sending home junior first basemen Anthony Granato and Mattison, to give the Rams a 3-2 lead.

The Bearcast earned two more runs in the third inning. Senior shortstop Brad Schutz made it to first on a VCU error and then stole second. Left fielder Jake Smith then singled, driving home Schutz, and advancing senior third basemen Brad Dorrmann who had gotten on first with a walk. Later in the inning, catcher Josh Romero was walked, which sent in Dorrmann.

VCU had no runs in the bottom of the inning but would redeem themselves in the bottom of the fourth. After entering the inning down 4-3, Jones opened up with a base hit off of Cincinnati’s starter Nick Buscemi. Sophomore Jeff Parish then had a base hit, which drove Jones to third base. With runners at the corners, senior left fielder Jose Pabon had an infield single to send home Jones with the tying run. Parish scored next when junior shortstop Paul Swack grounded out. At the end of the inning, the Rams were up 5-4.

VCU added two more runs to their lead in the fifth. Riley drove home both Mattison and Granato on a double.

In the top of the sixth, Cincinnati picked up one more run, to get the VCU lead back down to two. Romero doubled, then scored on a base hit by Schutz.

Sophomore reliever Cla Meredith was then sent in to replace junior Matt Prendergast on the mound. Meredith held UC scoreless for the next two innings.

VCU earned two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to pad their lead to 9-5.

Cincinnati would try to make a comeback in the ninth. Dorrmann started the inning with a leadoff double off of Tommy Edulblut who had relieved Meredith. Freshman Jon DeLuca then sent Dorrmann home with a base hit.

VCU then brought in closer Brian Marshall, who ended the short Bearcat rally and picked up his sixth save of the season.

Prendergast earned the win, bringing his season record to 3-0, after allowing two earned runs over five innings. Meredith had five strike outs in his two frames of work.

For the Bearcats, Buscemi was charged with 11 hits and eight earned runs. Buscemi also struck out five Rams in his first career start.

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