Adam Cheek, Staff Writer
Baseball trekked across town to Richmond over the weekend, as the Rams took one of three games. Severe storms moved Friday’s game to Saturday, forcing a doubleheader.
The Rams and Spiders battled for 11 innings in Sunday’s feature, and Richmond came out on top with a 5-4 win.
In the 11th inning, Richmond’s Mark Ready grounded a ball back to senior right-handed pitcher Benjamin Dum, who tried to beat the runner at home for the force out, but was a step too late.
The Spiders struck in the bottom half of the first, with Anthony Forte blasting a two-run home run to right. VCU matched that total in the third, tying the game at two after junior infielder Brett Norwood also hit a two-run home run.
In the top of the fifth, junior infielder Paul Witt singled to right field, scoring sophomore outfielder Hogan Brown and advancing Norwood to third. Sophomore utility player Liam Hibbits then lofted a single into center, scoring Norwood and VCU up by two.
However, RBI hits by Richmond’s offense knotted the game up at four, tying it once again. The next five frames featured zeros across the board, with neither team gaining an advantage and neither bullpen cracking.
Both teams used at least three pitchers, with VCU’s sophomore starter Justin Sorokowski putting in nearly five innings of work. Sorokowski struck out six and allowing four runs.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Evan Chenier then took the mound for 2.1 innings; he allowed no hits in 10 batters faced and struck out one. Dum then entered the game, striking out two but inheriting the loss after Richmond’s walk-off.
The Rams dominated the Spiders in the second game at Pitt Field, winning 16-3 and racking up 13 hits.
Saturday’s second game featured the Rams’ offense at their best — the team put up 16 runs over five innings against the Spiders’ pitching.
Witt went 3-for-3, driving in seven runs, two on a two-RBI triple. Sophomore infielder Zac Ching and Norwood also recorded three hits each, and Norwood added two RBI.
Starting senior pitcher Jack Alkire went five innings with three strikeouts, walking three and allowing two runs. Freshman left-handed pitcher Jaden Griffin and freshman right-handed pitcher Danny Watson relieved the Rams on Saturday, each throwing two innings.
A Witt base hit and a wild pitch put VCU up 2-0 in the top of the first, but a Richmond two-run homer tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Three Rams recorded RBI in the top of the second inning, and five Black and Gold players crossed the plate to put VCU up 7-2.
Norwood then plated junior outfielder Alex Taylor in the top of the fourth to extend the lead to six. Five more VCU runs came in the opening half of the sixth inning to push the lead to 11.
The opposite occurred at the first game Saturday, as both offenses put up respectable performances, but Richmond edged out the Rams 8-5.
Brown and Hibbits each put up two hits, with Brown knocking in a run and Hibbits scoring two of his own. Taylor also drove in a pair of runs, while Ching and junior infielder Steven Carpenter added one apiece.
Taylor drove in Hibbits in the top of the second to open up the scoring, and Brown drove in Carpenter soon after for a 2-0 lead.
The Spiders tallied a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, taking a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth after an RBI double. Taylor, Ching and sophomore catcher Hunter Vay notched an RBI apiece in the top of the eighth to retake the lead with a two-run advantage, but Richmond rallied to tie in the bottom of the frame.
Richmond senior catcher Kyle Schmidt put the final nail in VCU’s coffin, blasting a three-run shot to walk it off for the Spiders in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Rams will take on George Washington at home for a three-game weekend starting April 26 at 6:30 p.m. They will then host Virginia for the Duel at The Diamond April 30.