Three up, three down

Virginia Commonwealth needed two runs, an extra inning and a little bit of luck to hold off rallying William and Mary and win 9-7 yesterday at Plumeri Park and complete a series sweep of the Tribe.

Rams shortstop Paul Swack sent a looper into shallow right field, plating the go-ahead run. He scored an insurance run two batters later on second baseman Roel Koolen’s double.

Swack, a senior, is hitting just .214 this season with 11 RBI, but has come up with clutch hits for the Rams all season.

“Late in the game, I just happen to come up at the right time,” said Swack, who went 2-for-4 with two RBI. “You just have to have the attitude that you can’t be beat. When you go up there with the attitude you can’t be beat sometimes even the little ones fall.”

Left fielder Barrett Ripley hit a big one in the seventh inning, a two-run homer that landed at least 30 feet beyond the 400-foot marker in centerfield. Ripley went 2-for-5 on the day with two runs scored and three RBI.

Third baseman Anthony Granato, the team leader in ten statistical categories, padded his stats with three singles, a RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’m just really concentrating on finding a good pitch, a good ball to hit instead of letting pitchers get me out.”

His 39th swipe of the season came after he took a foul ball off his left foot in the third inning.

“It hurt,” he said, “but I didn’t want to show that. If I can suck it up for two hours, I can rest the next few days.”

The Tribe forced an extra frame when catcher Mike DeCarlo stroked a two-run bomb of closer Cla Meredith (4-3, six saves). It was his ninth home run of the season, but his only hit of the game. Jon Link (3-2) came on in the 10th to close, retiring three of the four batters he faced to earn his first save of the season.

Starter Matt Predergast (8-1) looked sharp for most of his start before stumbling in the eighth on his way to a no decision. He said he threw his breaking ball more yesterday after George Mason got a hold of his fastball last weekend in his first loss of the season.

He said he would start batters of with the breaking ball, then “blow it by them in the end.”

In the eighth and on his final two pitches of the game, Prendergast drilled the Tribe’s Greg Sexton in the numbers, then gave up a two-run shot to Jeff Lunardi.

“That was my fault when I hit the kid (Sexton),” Predergast said, “but what’s done is done. The kid (Lunardi) got a good pitch hit a fought it over then fence.”

VCU was coming off its first conference series loss since last season and the win gave the Rams their first series sweep since they blanked Hofsta in March.

“That’s all that matters,” Predergast said.

VCU............001 102 300 2-9 16  2
W&M............010 011 022 0-7 13  0

Prendergast, Meredith, (8) Link and Farina; Shaver, Bray (6). W-Meredith (4-3). Loss-Bray (4-4). Save-Link (1).

In other games:

  • George Mason 13, Towson 11: Centerfielder Matt Cooksey went 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI the patriots (15-3, 31-12) held on to beat the homestanding Tigers (6-12, 15-27). The Patriots scored seven runs in the fifth inning, Shortstop Jeff Palumbo, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, led the inning off with a double before being driven in by Cooskey’s RBI double.
  • Delaware 14, James Madison 3: Brock Donovan hit two home runs and Steve Van Note, Kelly Buber and Brent Rogers also went deep the Blue Hens completed a three-game sweep of the Dukes (7-8, 26-17). Delaware starter Jarame Beaupre improved to 4-1, allowing five hits and one earned run and striking out eight in as many innings, Brian Leatherwood took the loss for the Dukes to fall to 7-3.
  • UNC Wilmington 7, Hofstra 2: Matt Sutton gave up one run and scattered four hits over his 5.2 innings as the Seahawks (9-5, 23-16) completed a three-game sweep of the Pride ( 3-15, 11-28). Second baseman Lee McLean went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the fourth inning, which put UNCW ahead for good. Center fielder Chip Grawey went 2-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI.

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