RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University entered Friday's Colonial Athletic Association series against Georgia State riding an eight-game conference winning streak. However, the Rams fell victim to a season-high 17 strikeouts and Georgia State defeated VCU 7-3 in the first of a three-game set at The Diamond.
VCU drops to 22-16 overall, 11-2 in CAA play, while Georgia State improves to 22-17, 6-4 in conference action.
Junior Joe Van Meter went 4-for-5 with an RBI, a double and run scored for VCU. Senior Richard Gonzalez and sophomore Paul Nice each collected two hits.
Sophomore righthander Seth Cutler-Voltz went eight innings and allowed six unearned runs with four strikeouts but suffered his third loss of the season. Georgia State southpaw Aidan Francis scattered seven hits and fanned eight in 5.2 innings to pick up his third win.
Georgia State went on top early with a pair of runs in its first trip to the plate. Brett Maxwell blooped a one-out single into center and came home after Bradley Logan singled through the left side. Junior John Lenherr misplayed a groundball in right field and Carl Moniz came around to score and the Panthers went ahead 2-0.
Senior M.L. Morgan laced a leadoff triple into the gap in right center and VCU loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but the Rams couldn't scratch a run across.
The Panthers scored three more runs with two outs in the top of the second to extend their lead to 5-0. Justin Malone, Mark Micowski and Maxwell each singled to load the bases but a fielding error extended the inning and allowed a run to score. Logan followed with a double to left center and two more runs came home.
Georgia State went ahead 7-0 with two more unearned runs in the top of the fourth. Micowski reached on an infield bunt single and moved over to third after Lenherr couldn't come up with a slicing fly ball down the right field line. Micowski scored on an infield single by Moniz and Maxwell came home after a failed pickoff attempt slid past sophomore Brent Mikionis at first.
Van Meter lined a one-out double off the third base bag and Lenherr came through with an RBI single up the middle and pulled VCU within 7-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
The Rams added a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the Panthers' lead to 7-3, but VCU couldn't overcome a six-run deficit. Sophomore Taylor Perkins reached on an error to start the frame and came home on a single by Gonzalez. Van Meter then collected his fourth hit of the night with an RBI into left.
VCU and Georgia State will continue with game two of the series on Saturday at 4 p.m.