Baseball went 2-2 last week, bringing its record to 23-13. VCU fell to Virginia Military Institute Wednesday 4-1 before claiming a pair of wins over conference rival Saint Bonaventure University and rounding out the week with a nail biting 3-2 loss Saturday in New York.
After scoring 19 runs in two games Friday, the Black and Gold looked to continue their offensive success Saturday against the Bonnies, but were stymied by a dominant pitching performance and fell 3-2.
Bonaventure pitcher Casey Vincent was dominant in the third game of this weekend series. Vincent went seven innings deep and allowed just one earned run, striking out three VCU batters and only allowing four hits.
VCU looked to rally in the ninth inning. The Rams had runners on second and third with only one out, but were unable to capitalize and left three men on base in the final frame.
St. Bonaventure was able to pull out a 3-2 victory, despite the late scoring opportunity from the Black and Gold.
In the second game of the Friday doubleheader, the Rams showed out offensively, defeating Bonaventure by a final of 8-2. After both sides pitched a shutout through three innings, VCU scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the third inning.
With two runners on base following a hit by the pitch and walk, senior infielder Daane Berezo singled to left field to score both runners. Berezo collected three RBI on the day.
Sophomore starter Connor Gillispie continued his breakout season by pitching a scoreless six innings. Gillispie was credited with the win, improving his record on the year to 6-1.
The highest scoring output of the game came in the top of the 6th inning. VCU scored four runs with a collective display of small-ball. Senior outfielder Haiden Lamb’s bunt-single drove in the fourth and final run of the inning.
The Bonnies out-hit the Rams 13-7 on the day, but left 11 men on base as VCU pitching excelled with runners on.
The Black and Gold traveled up to New York to play the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure in hopes of ending a two-game skid, and did just that with a series-opening 11-4 onslaught.
The Bonnies got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. Ryan MacCarrick salvaged the inning by doubling with two outs. Brandon Henshaw followed him up with a single, driving in MacCarrick to give Bonaventure an early lead.
VCU got on the scoreboard in the third inning. Lamb and Berezo got the rally started with back-to-back singles. Sophomore infielder Paul Witt played the role of clean up and drove both runners in with his double down the line right field line.
The bonnies struck back in the fourth inning by scoring two runs of their own. MacCarrick and Mike Magnanti both hit RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth, giving St. Bonaventure a 3-2 lead heading into the fifth inning.
With the game tied 3-3 heading into the top of the eighth, VCU needed an offensive spark. They got just that, scoring six runs in the top of the frame.
Two consecutive homers from freshman right fielder Liam Hibbits and junior shortstop Zac Ching highlighted the Rams eighth inning rally. Bonaventure never recovered, and the Rams took the series opener in dominant fashion.
VCU’s Wednesday evening tilt with VMI was a make up for a postponed game originally scheduled for March 21.
VMI did all its scoring in the top of the fourth inning after the sides traded zeros through the first three frames.
VMI loaded the bases with two singles and a hit by the pitch with only one out in the inning. Nathan Eaton singled in Will Malbon and Collin Fleischer to give the Cadets an early lead. Matt Pita walked, then Jacob Jaye stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Jaye singled in Eaton and Noah Cook to give VMI a commanding 4-0 advantage.
Witt drove in VCU’s only run with a sac fly in the bottom of the ninth — Lamb tagged up on third to manufacture the run, but it was too little too late for the Black and Gold.
Sophomore infielder Brett Willett’s double play groundout ended the late rally and gave VMI the victory.
Next up, VCU will travel to College Park, Maryland to take on the Terrapins of the University of Maryland Tuesday, April 17.
Nile McNair, Contributing Writer