Baseball suffered its first loss since March 4 last week, snapping a 14-game win streak. The Black and Gold posted a 2-2 record over the week, winning the Duel at the Diamond against the University of Virginia and the opener of a three-game series against St. Louis before falling in the final two games to the Billikens in a doubleheader Saturday. VCU’s streak was the longest in Division 1 baseball aside from the Billiken’s own 15-game streak — something had to give in this highly touted showdown for A-10 supremacy.
VCU improved its overall record to 18-10 and 4-2 in conference last week. Despite two losses to close out the week, the Rams capped a stellar 14-game winning streak that featured everything from blowouts to walk-offs and 15-inning marathons.
St. Louis wore down VCU in Saturday’s doubleheader, with senior outfielder Haiden Lamb providing the standout offense for the Rams. Over the course of the two games, Lamb went five-for-eight, scoring VCU’s only run of the day. Sophomore infielder Paul Witt added two hits in the first game, and freshman infielder Liam Hibbits reached base three times, and three additional players had a hit apiece.
The Black and Gold’s weariness showed in the second game, as the Billikens added a win to their record with a 9-0 shutout. St. Louis scored all nine runs in the first four innings of play, as they scored between one and three runs from the second through the fifth innings. VCU, unable to manage a rally, was able to limit the damage there, shutting down the Billiken offense for the remaining three innings.
The Billikens plated all seven of their runs in the first game before five innings had elapsed, scoring every other inning without an answer until VCU drove home a run in the opening half of the sixth. The Rams couldn’t get a rally going, however, and fell to snap their winning streak.
Friday’s opener against St. Louis proved to be a strong start for the Rams in the series, as the Black and Gold took a 4-2 victory over the A-10 conference leader and snapped their winning streak. Witt and Hibbits both recorded two RBI apiece on Friday, with each player hitting two-run homers to provide the Ram offense.
As of Friday, VCU’s winning streak was the longest active in the entire country, and junior Mac McCarty tallied his 12th save of the season. Graduate student Braxton Wilks added his third win to the season total while relieving for starter Connor Gillispie. Senior infielder Daane Berezo also added a run scored and a double with a one-for-four effort.
The Rams took on the ranked Virginia Cavaliers on Wednesday and showed their might as they ran away from the ‘Hoos with an 11-3 victory. Virginia pitcher Griff McGarry struggled early, forcing him to walk the bases loaded before he hit sophomore infielder Brett Willett with a pitch to plate the first run of the game. The Rams took a 7-0 lead after two innings, as sophomore infielder Steven Carpenter singled home two more runs in the opening inning. Willett tripled home two more the following inning and scored on a wild pitch. Sophomore pitcher Hayden Moore recorded the win after 2.1 innings of shutout relief and three strikeouts.
Baseball will look to return to their winning ways Tuesday at 3 p.m. against Towson University.
Adam Cheek, Staff writer