It was a high-scoring week for the Rams if not a successful one, as VCU racked up 44 runs over four games, despite only winning two of those four matchups. The Black and Gold improved to 28-16, adding several homers and recording a pair of blowout wins over Davidson College and Longwood University.
VCU suffered a disappointing end to a strong offensive week, falling to Davidson by a score of 13-9. Freshman utility player Hogan Brown recorded a four-for-five game, while senior infielder Daane Berezo drove in four of the Rams’ runs. VCU attempted to rally in the eighth, but left several runners on, only managing a run out of the effort. However, VCU continued to chip away, falling just short of a win to close out the week.
Saturday’s matchup against Davidson proved to be the Rams’ largest win of the season, as the Black and Gold rebounded from a close Friday loss by scoring 14 runs. The 14-1 win was sealed by the second inning, as the Rams scored a run apiece in each of the opening two innings. VCU followed that up with 11 runs scattered over the fifth through the seventh frames and tacked on an additional run for good measure in the ninth for the final nail in the coffin. Davidson only managed a single run on the day, responding to VCU’s three-run fifth with one of their own.
Senior pitcher Sean Thompson, coming off of a no-hit bid the previous weekend, put in eight innings of work while striking out six. He tied last week’s outing for his longest of the season, and also tied sophomore Conor Gillispie for the team lead in wins with six. Brown had a career day, reaching in all six plate appearances on three hits and three walks, crossing the plate four times. Senior center fielder Haiden Lamb, junior infielder Zac Ching, and freshman infielder Liam Hibbits each tallied two or more hits, while eight of the nine players added at least one hit over the afternoon. Sophomore infielder Paul Witt also drove in four runners, and Hibbits added his team-leading third home run of the season.
VCU scored nearly as many runs the night before, but fell short, as the Wildcats edged the Black and Gold in a 10-9 loss for the Rams. The opening half of Friday’s game had the Rams flying high, as VCU took a 7-2 lead through the first four-and-a-half innings. However, Davidson chipped away, with the Wildcats down 8-6 heading into the ninth. Senior infielder Mitchel Lacey added an insurance run for VCU, homering in the top of the final frame to put the Rams up by three runs.
The Black and Gold bullpen, however, imploded as the game neared its conclusion, surrendering four runs to give Davidson a walk-off win. Sophomore infielder Steven Carpenter recorded the first four-hit game on the season for the entire team, driving in two runs, while Brown went three-for-five and crossed the plate three times. Lacey also drove in two, as did Witt, and Berezo added an RBI of his own.
Wednesday’s matchup against Longwood proved to be another blowout, as the Rams excelled on both offense and defense, emerging victorious with a 12-2 blowout over the Lancers. After scoring two runs without a hit, VCU proceeded to knock the ball around the park and put up a six-run first inning. The Black and Gold plated four runs in the third and two in the fourth, holding Longwood to only one more run for the duration of the game.
Hibbits reached base all three times on three singles, driving in a pair of runs and scoring twice. Ching added a double, while Carpenter and Brown each racked up two hits, with Carpenter crossing the plate three times. Sophomore pitcher Hayden Moore hurled two shutout innings, tallying his third win in relief, with the entire pitching arsenal holding Longwood to three hits.
VCU faces the Cavaliers of the University of Virginia for the second time this season on Tuesday at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. The Rams routed the Cavaliers 11-3 earlier this season at The Diamond. Next weekend’s series will be a homestand against the University of Richmond, with Friday’s opener kicking off at 6:30 p.m.
Adam Cheek, Staff Writer
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