With conference play looming, VCU baseball is beginning to find their stride after a slow start to the season.
After getting off to a 2-5 start, the Rams have won seven of their past nine games to improve their record to 10-9.
VCU defeated East Carolina University 4-3 in the opener of the series against in Greenville, N.C. on Friday March 20. VCU took the lead in the top of the ninth inning when sophomore outfielder Alex Gransback reached base on a fielders choice, allowing junior outfielder Cody Acker to score.
Senior pitcher Matt Lees earned the win after pitching 2 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief of starting pitcher Jo-Jo Howie. Howie had a strong start, going 5 ⅔ inning while only giving up three runs. Sophomore infielder Matt Davis hit a solo home run in the sixth.
VCU lost Saturday’s game against ECU, leaving the series tied. The final game of the three-game series against ECU were played on Sunday, March 22 but, results were not final as of press time.
Prior to the three-game series, the Rams dropped a game to Monmouth 7-0 on Tuesday March 17.
Freshman pitcher Sean Thompson had a rough outing as he gave up six runs, five of them earned in 3 ⅓ innnings. The bullpen of senior Thomas Gill, senior Matt Lees and freshman Garrett Pearson only gave up one run the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done. The Rams offense collected nine hits but was unable to score any of the baserunners. Junior outfielder James Bunn led the team with two hits. Seven players recorded one hit.
The previous weekend VCU won two out of three games in the PK5 classic in Richmond.
After dropping the opener to Monmouth University 3-0 on Friday March 13, they bounced back to earn two wins. They defeated James Madison University 7-1 on Sunday, March 15 and won against the University of Minnesota, 11-4, on Monday, March 16.
The PK5 tournament is meant to honor former baseball coach Paul Keyes , who passed away prior to the 2013 season.
VCU has two more non-conference games against Virginia Military Institute and Longwood University before starting conference play against the University of Massachusetts.
The Rams were picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 by coaches in the preseason.