LEXINGTON, Va. – Junior Joe Van Meter tied a school record with three home runs and Virginia Commonwealth University hit a season-high four long balls in an 11-4 rout of Virginia Military Institute on Tuesday evening at Gray-Minor Stadium.
VCU, which has won four straight and nine of its last 11 games, improves to 22-15, while VMI drops its fourth in a row and falls to 29-9 on the season.
Van Meter went 4-for-4 with three home runs and six RBI to pace the Rams, who recorded 15 hits for the fourth consecutive game. Seniors Richard Gonzalez and Doug Otto, junior John Lenherr and sophomore Brent Mikionis each collected two hits for VCU.
Freshman Ryan Farrar earned his first collegiate win after tossing three scoreless innings with three strikeouts, while Jeremy Brown, allowed six runs on eight hits, suffered the loss for VMI.
Van Meter led off the VCU second with a single through the left side before Lenherr and Mikionis each collected hits to load the bases with no out. Sophomore Paul Nice then followed with a sacrifice fly to center and the Rams took an early 1-0 lead.
Van Meter hit a three-run blast over the fence in right center and Nice added a two-run shot to left and VCU pulled ahead 6-0 in the top of the third. Gonzalez and Otto contributed back-to-back singles with one out before Van Meter came through with his third homer of the season. Mikionis then singled with two outs to set up Nice. It was the first time all season VMI had surrendered multiple home runs in the same inning.
VCU went on top 7-0 in the fifth after Van Meter hit his second home run of the day to lead off the frame but VMI and answered with a pair of long balls in the bottom of the inning. Sam Roberts and Cory Spragenberg hit back-to-back homers with two out and the Keydets pulled within 7-2.
Gonzalez sent a one-out single into right field and Van Meter hit his third homer of the day and the Rams went back on top 9-2 in the sixth.
Four consecutive batters reached to start the VMI seventh as sophomore Aaron Morgan surrendered back-to-back singles and a pair of walks and the Keydets cut the VCU lead to 9-3. However, freshman Brennan Huelse got Sprangenberg to fly out before junior Jonathan Watson struck out the number three and four batters and the Rams escaped the bases loaded threat.
VCU added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth as Gonzalez drew a two-out walk and scored after Otto tripled into the right field corner. Lenherr then sent an RBI single through the right side and the Rams went on top 11-3.
Watson struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth but Chase Worthington lined a two-out double down the left field line and the Keydets got a run back to make it 11-4.
VCU welcomes CAA foe Georgia State to The Diamond for a three-game set this weekend beginning Friday at 7 p.m.