Rams complete three-game season sweep over UMass

Junior infielder Brett Norwood logged four hits and a RBI in the three-game series against UMass over the weekend. Photo by Gessler Santos-Lopez

Ben Malakoff, Contributing Writer

Baseball continued its four-game winning streak, sweeping the three-game series March 22-24 over its first Atlantic 10 opponent of the season. UMass did not score more than two runs in any of the games played at The Diamond.

Sunday

The Rams won their third conference game of the season on Sunday 3-1, completing the three-game series sweep over UMass.

Senior right-handed pitcher Curtis Bafus started for the Rams and pitched four innings, allowing no runs in the first two innings. He only allowed one run throughout his day on the mound.

UMass scored the first run of the game in the top of the third inning when Logan Greene’s RBI hit in Luke Oliphant.

VCU found life in its offense when sophomore utility player Hogan Brown hit home junior outfielder Alex Taylor with a sacrifice fly to right-center field, tying the game at one.

Senior right-handed pitcher Jack Alkire earned his third pitching win of the season after allowing just two hits in 3 1/3 innings pitched.  

Junior infielder Steven Carpenter broke the tie in the top of the eighth inning with an RBI single up the middle of the field, allowing junior infielder Brett Norwood and junior infielder Andrew Puglielli to score the go-ahead runs.

Saturday

VCU won its second conference game of the season, beating UMass 7-2 at The Diamond Saturday.

Norwood quickly began the day hitting an RBI, double-scoring Brown. Sophomore infielder Liam Hibbits’ single brought Norwood home, giving VCU the 2-0 lead.

The bottom of the second was highlighted by junior catcher Josh Simon’s first home run of the year, bringing the score to 3-0.

UMass made its only offensive push of the game in the top of the fourth with two runs — one from a single and the other from a passed ball — bringing the score to 3-2.

Junior infielder Paul Witt’s RBI cushioned the Rams’ lead in the bottom of the fifth, bringing home senior infielder Zac Ching.

Senior right-handed pitcher Benjamin Dum earned his fourth win of the season after giving up no hits in four innings pitched and three strikeouts. The bullpen added on another 10 strikeouts.

Ching hit his fourth home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth, bringing the score to 7-2.

Friday

The Rams defeated UMass 5-2 Friday, picking up their first conference win of the season.  

The first run of the game came early for the Rams when Witt hit in Brown with a sacrifice groundout to shortstop.

UMass quickly responded with two runs of its own in the top of the third, bringing the score to 2-1.

Sophomore catcher Hunter Vay drove in the tying run during the top of the fourth, bringing in Witt. The Rams took the lead on a UMass throwing error by redshirt-sophomore catcher Connor Smith, bringing in Vay and making the score 3-2. This was the Minutemen’s only error of the day.

VCU’s defense was strong for the next eight innings, as no runs were scored. Freshman right-handed pitcher Evan Chenier earned his fourth win and junior right-handed pitcher Sam Ryan picked up his second save of the season. The VCU relief staff finished with 13 strikeouts.

Two more VCU runs came in on a wild pitch. UMass then had a comeback attempt that was quickly shut down on a double play involving Ching, Witt and Carpenter, ending the game.

VCU will play a three-game series against conference opponent Davidson at home, starting March 29.

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