VCU baseball bounced back after two conference losses last weekend to win consecutive weeknight games against two in-state rivals the College of William and Mary and Norfolk State University.
The Rams defeated the Spartans Tuesday evening by a score of 4-2 in a rugged affair at The Diamond.
Three consecutive walks with one out in the bottom of the first inning loaded the bases for VCU. Sophomore catcher Brett Hileman was then hit by a pitch to force in the game’s first run. First baseman Cody Acker followed him up with a deep sacrifice fly to right field, giving starting pitcher Jonathan Ebersole an early 2-0 cushion to work behind without the benefit of a hit.
Ebersole was masterful in five innings of shut-out ball. The junior allowed a mere three hits and left the game with the lead intact, but did not factor into the decision.
The Spartans offense broke through in the top of the sixth. Redshirt-junior infielder Roger Hall ripped a single to right to score two runners and tie the game at two runs apiece.
The Black and Gold responded in the bottom of the frame. Acker and left fielder James Bunn reached base to start the rally. Third baseman Zac Ching laid down a pivotal sacrifice bunt to advance both of his teammates to scoring position. Norfolk State then attempted to intentionally walk center fielder Logan Farrar, but balked in the process to score Acker and hand the Rams back the lead.
Hileman walked and came around to score a manufactured insurance run on a double play turned by the Spartans in the bottom of the eighth.
The VCU bullpen put in a strong effort behind Ebersole, aside from allowing two runs in the sixth. They were led by Tanner Winters who notched his first win of the season and shut-down closer Sam Donko who secured his 12 save.
William & Mary:
A short trip down interstate 64 resulted in a big win for the Rams on April 13, as a 19 hit explosion propelled the Black and Gold to a 12-4 victory over William and Mary.
The Tribe kept things tight through four innings as both sides put up three-run frames early on. VCU starter Benjamin Dum gave up four runs and finished with a no decision.
Senior catcher Walker Haymaker came up with the big hit to highlight a three-run top of the third. Haymaker singled to center with two men on and two men out to give the Rams a 4-3 lead.
W&M would equalize in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double by Charley Gould. The game then turned into a battle of the bullpens after a scoreless fourth.
The Rams grabbed a 6-4 advantage in the top of the fifth. Senior second baseman Cooper Mickelson keyed the rally with an RBI double.
VCU broke the game wide open in the top of the sixth. The Black and Gold connected for five runs, fueled by another RBI double, this time from third baseman Zac Ching.
The rally gave the Rams an 11-4 advantage, and they would not look back. Junior right-hander Luke Crabb was credited with his first win of the year in relief.
VCU’s 19 hits in Williamsburg is its highest total of the 2016 season. Seven of nine starters connected for a base knock in the collective offensive explosion.
Junior designated hitter Darian Carpenter had himself a solid night, going 3-5 with a team high four runs batted in and three runs scored.
Senior shortstop Matt Davis likewise lit up the scoreboard, going 4-6 on the evening with an RBI and run scored.
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