RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University dropped its first Colonial Athletic Association series of the season after Georgia State University defeated the Rams 12-7 Saturday afternoon in the second game of a three-game set at The Diamond.
VCU slips to 22-17 overall and 11-3 in league play, while Georgia State, which has won nine of its last 11 games, improves to 23-17, 7-4.
Senior Richard Gonzalez went 4-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored to pace the Rams. Junior Joe Van Meter with 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and a run, while seniors Matt Leskiw and Doug Otto and sophomores Brent Mikionis and Taylor Perkins each collected two hits for VCU.
Freshman right hander Kyle Haynes suffered his second loss of the season after allowing five runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Meanwhile, Charley Olson picked up his third win of the year as he surrendered five runs on 12 hits over seven frames.
Georgia State centerfielder Mark Micowski led off the game with a single up the middle and came home on a double by Carl Moniz. The Panthers then went on top 2-0 after Ryan Fleming singled to center.
VCU threatened in its first trip to the plate as Gonzalez ripped the first pitch he saw into center and reached with a one-out double. Otto hit a sharp ground ball off the glove of third baseman Bradley Logan but shortstop Justin Malone played the bounce and was able to catch Gonzalez off second base. Otto was then thrown out trying to steal second and Georgia State kept the Rams off the board.
The Black & Gold collected three hits and got a run back in the third. Perkins and Leskiw each singled and Otto sent an RBI double down the left field line and pulled VCU within 2-1.
However, Georgia State added a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth and built a 5-1 advantage. The Panthers had an opportunity to add to their lead in the fifth as Haynes was lifted with two runners on and no out. But freshman reliever Brennan Huelse struck out the side and kept the Rams within reach.
Gonzalez cut the Georgia State lead to 5-2 with an RBI single in the fifth but Micowski answered with a solo homer in the sixth and the Panthers regained their four-run cushion.
Rob Lind gave Georgia State an 8-2 lead with a
two-RBI single to right in the seventh before VCU mounted a
comeback in the bottom of the eighth, where five straight batters
reached for the Rams. Junior John Lenherr
drove in a pair of runs with a single to right and Mikionis
followed with an RBI double into left and the Rams pulled within
8-5. But for the second day in a row, Malone moved from
shortstop to the mound and successfully retired the side and ended
the VCU threat.
Georgia State put the game away with four runs on five hits and one VCU error in the top of the ninth inning. However, Van Meter drove in a pair of runs with a two-out single in the bottom of the frame to make it 12-7 but it was as close as the Black & Gold would get.
VCU and Georgia State will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.