VCU baseball defeated the University of Richmond 2-1 in the second game of a three-game series. The game last Sunday was the first of a double-header, with game two being played at 5 p.m.
Last Saturday, the Spiders snapped the Rams’ seven-game winning streak by defeating their city rival 5-4 in extras. In game one on Sunday, strong pitching led by Rams junior starter Brooks Vial overwhelmed the Spiders, who only managed two hits in the game. Vial pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up just one run and fanning five.
“My mindset was to try to stay in the game as long as possible since we had a double-header today,” Vial said after the Rams’ win.
Junior Logan Farrar got VCU on the board first with a lead-off triple in the fourth inning. Farrar later scored on a Darian Carpenter RBI single down the third-base line. The hits continued in the fourth, with Mitchel Lacey driving an infield single extending the Rams lead to 2-0.
But the Spiders responded immediately.
In the top of the fifth, after a leadoff walk and a balk by Vial, Richmond got on the board with a sacrifice fly to center by Brandon Johnson, cutting VCU’s lead to one run.
Vial regained control by getting the Spiders lead-off man to fly out to center, ending the threat. Vial continued his pitching gem by retiring the side in the sixth. He recorded one out in the seventh before closer Sam Donko was handed the ball to finish the game.
After giving up a couple of walks, Donko settled in and recorded his 15th save of the season in a 2-1 VCU victory. The save broke VCU’s single-season saves record which was set last season by Daniel Concepcion.
“I balked, and that’s unacceptable in that situation. We had a good game plan coming in and I wanted to try to preserve the bullpen,” Vial said. “Most of all, I just wanted to give my team a chance to win.”
Unlike the game earlier that day, the teams combined for a total of 28 hits in game two.
The Rams got off to a quick start with a single to centerfield from lead-off man senior outfielder James Bunn. The Princeton, New Jersey native then advanced to second when Farrar was hit by a pitch, putting the Rams in scoring position.
VCU’s first out of the inning came on a pop-up to left field. The next batter, junior infielder Matt Davis, hit an RBI single to centerfield that put the Rams ahead 1-0. The inning would stall the second out coming on a fielder’s choice then a strikeout to end the threat.
The Rams added another run in the second when Cooper Mickelson scored on a throwing error by Richmond’s shortstop.
The Spiders answered quickly by scoring two runs in the top of the third, tying the game at two apiece.
With several strong defensive plays in the fourth inning, highlighted by a throw-out at the plate by Richmond’s centerfielder D.J. Lee, both teams went scoreless in the frame.
After VCU woes on defense, the Spiders claimed the lead for the first time in the fifth by putting an unearned run on the board and going up 3-2.
In the seventh, Richmond’s Michael Morman hit a solo home run — his third of the season — over the left-field wall, extending the lead to 4-2.
The Rams refused to lose to the Spiders as Farrar scored in the bottom of the seventh and Cody Acker in the bottom of the eighth. The game was knotted 4-4 heading to the ninth inning.
The Spiders would load the bases in the ninth, but the inning would stall on a fly-out as regulation ended with neither team scoring after the eighth.
In the 11th, Richmond started off with a single from Morman and one batter later he was in scoring position after advancing to second. The next batter hit a single to right field, scoring Morman and putting the Spiders up a run.
The Spiders picked up an insurance run on a sacrifice fly that Kraeger scored on giving, the Spiders a 6-4 advantage.
The Rams couldn’t respond in the bottom of the eleventh as Richmond’s pitcher, Daniel Brumbaugh finished the game out with his third scoreless inning.
The loss was VCU’s second series loss of the season.
Battling the elements on a near-rainout contest against Virginia Military Institute, VCU baseball scored eight runs in the first four innings to defeat the Keydets 8-5.
Rams pitchers, freshman Benjamin Dum and junior Johnathan Ebersole, combined to hold the Keydets to six scoreless innings. Both the Rams and Keydets went scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the bottom of the second, Kerrigan got the game rolling with a single to right field. After a steal to second by Kerrigan, Mickelson hit an RBI single to left field that gave the Rams an early 1-0 lead.
Another run would be tallied in the second inning after a run scored on a ball hit to the shortstop, increasing VCU’s lead to 2-0.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Kerrigan would reach base on a single and eventually steal second putting himself in scoring position. An RBI single hit to right field by Haymaker would score Kerrigan and, at the end of four, VCU led 8-0.
With minimal offense through six innings of play, VMI showed resilience in the seventh. With two outs in the top of the seventh, the Keydets managed to score their first runs of the game.
VMI scored two more runs on a throwing error by VCU’s third baseman, shrinking the Rams lead to five. A single to the right side would score two more Keydets as VCU looked to their bullpen to stop the bleeding.
After a short rain-delay the game was called, and VCU walked away with an 8-5 victory over the VMI Keydets. The win improved VCU’s record to 28-14 for the year.
Brian Williams, Contributing Writer