UMass – Sunday
The Rams completed a three-game series sweep over in-conference foes the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after taking a decisive 11-1 victory Sunday afternoon at the Minutemen’s Earl Lorden Field.
The red-hot Rams came rearing out of the gates Sunday. A pair of home runs by senior outfielder Logan Farrar and freshman infielder Steven Carpenter gave the Black and Gold a 3-0 lead in the game’s opening frame.
VCU’s starting pitcher — sophomore right-handed hurler Michael Dailey — picked up where the Rams’ previous two starters left off, fanning seven batters and holding the Minutemen hitless through the game’s opening four frames.
In the third inning, the Rams’ omnipotent offense erupted once more when Carpenter hit his second homer of the night and gave VCU a six run advantage early on.
In the top of the fourth, Minutemen starting right-hander Mike Geannelis’ struggles continued, allowing the Rams to load the bases without earning a hit. With men on and no outs, Farrar grounded to second scoring junior outfielder Haiden Lamb. The play earned Farrar his second RBI on the night. After again loading the bases with two outs, Geannelis was finally able to stop the bleeding by striking out junior infielder Mitchel Lacey to end the frame with the Rams up seven.
The Rams’ offense simply couldn’t be stopped. In the fifth, with men on first and second, senior catcher Dylan Isquirdo singled to score VCU’s eighth run of the night. Two batters later, Farrar once again drove in Lamb for his third RBI of the afternoon. After the Minutemen’s third error of the night, Isquirdo and Farrar scored giving the Rams a commanding 11-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, UMass — for the first time all weekend — were able to get on the scoreboard after an error by sophomore shortstop Zac Ching gave the Minutemen’s Cooper Mrowka the opportunity to score.
That would be the extent of the Minutemen offense Sunday, as the Rams would close it out to take the 11-1 victory and the commanding series sweep.
UMass – Saturday
The Rams clinched an important series win Saturday afternoon, silencing the Minutemen 2-0 in the second of a three-game weekend series.
For the second game in as many days, the Black and Gold were led by superb starting pitching; senior left-hander Brooks Vial carried a no-hitter through six innings in Amherst, Mass.
For the second straight night, both teams’ offenses struggled to get in a groove early on, and the game was scoreless heading into the third frame. VCU once again broke the stalemate as Farrar scored off a single to left field from his outfield partner, senior Alex Gransback.
Vial’s dominance would continue into the game’s sixth frame when Minutemen shortstop Ryan Lever gave UMass their first hit of the night. The next batter, Lever stole second, but that was the closest the Minutemen were to scoring all night.
The Rams’ trusty senior closer Sam Donko once again took the mound in the eighth inning, fanning two in the game’s final two frames to preserve the Rams’ second-straight shutout.
A single by Lamb scored Ching in the top of the ninth inning to secure the Rams 2-0 victory.
The win moved the Black and Gold to 18-13 on the season, safely placing them second in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings — three games ahead of third-place George Mason with five conference series left to go.
UMass – Friday
Following a tough loss early in the week where the Rams’ offense struggled to get going, the Black and Gold returned to form Friday, knocking off UMass 8-0 in in their opening game in Amherst.
Junior right-hander Sean Thompson led the way for the red-hot Rams Friday. The Pennsylvania product tossed seven shutout-innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four on the night.
Carpenter provided the offensive yin to Thompson’s yang, as the rookie DH went 2-4 with a double and his first career home run. He also led the team with two runs scored Friday.
The game’s opening frames moved quickly as both sides went 1-2-3 in each of the first two innings. The Rams got on the board in the third as Carpenter’s deep jack to left field put the Black and Gold up 1-0.
They would double their lead in the top of the sixth when Gransback hit a double into the right field gap to score the Rams’ second run.
In the eighth, the floodgates opened as VCU erupted for six runs in the frame behind RBIs from freshman infielder Paul Witt, junior infielder Daane Berezo, Isquirdo, Ching and Lamb.
In the end, the Rams finished off the Minutemen 8-0 with two games remaining in the weekend series.
William & Mary
Coming off a demonstrative series win over conference-foe George Washington last week, VCU sputtered last Tuesday night, falling to the visiting Tribe of The College of William and Mary 5-1 at the Diamond.
The Rams, led by the outfield duo of Gransback and Farrar, struggled to get hot on offense, scoring only one run — a stark comparison to the 25 in three games against the Colonials the weekend prior.
VCU started the game seemingly poised to carry their offensive momentum against the Tribe when, at the bottom of the first, Farrar doubled in the Rams’ second at-bat of the night. Gransback came to the plate and singled to put runners on the corners, with the Rams in position to strike early on in the night.
Moments later, Gransback bolted towards second base on a steal attempt and, while he was thrown out, Farrar headed towards home to score the game’s opening run. Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, that would be their lone run of the night, as they put up just one hit during the game’s final eight innings.
The Rams held the one-run advantage until the top of the fourth inning, when William & Mary’s offense came to life. The Tribe’s Brandon Raquet, Cullen Large and Hunter Smith each singled putting Rams pitcher Jonathan Ebersole in hot water with no outs in the frame.
Next, William & Mary’s Charles Ameer smashed a triple to left center field to score three runs and consequently ended Ebersole’s night. Two batters later, W&M’s Kyle Wrighte drove in Ameer on an RBI double, putting the visitors up 4-1.
In the top of the eighth, the Tribe scored their fifth run of the evening after Wrighte knocked in Smith on a fielder’s choice off Rams closer Sam Donko. Donko closed out the game as the Rams fell 5-1, dropping their record to 16-13 on the season.
The Rams seek redemption against the Cavaliers when the Black and Gold travel to cross-state rival, the University of Virginia on Tuesday at 6 p.m.