CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University couldn't overcome an early deficit and a powerful University of Virginia offense and fell to the top-seeded Cavaliers, 15-4, in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Baseball Regional Friday evening at Davenport Field.
VCU (34-25-1) generated scoring opportunities early as the Rams had runners on in each of the first five innings, including the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth and fifth frames, but couldn't keep pace with Virginia's offense.
Junior Joe Van Meter (right) went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI and extended his Colonial Athletic Association hits record to 106, while also tying the VCU single season record with 74 RBI. Senior Richard Gonzalez (below) also collected two hits, while sophomores Brent Mikionis and Paul Nice each drove in runs for the Rams.
Virginia (48-11) used a three-run second frame and set the tone early. After VCU starter Seth Cutler-Voltz, who surrendered five earned runs in four innings, got the leadoff batter Jarrett Parker to chase, junior John Lenherr couldn't come up with John Hicks' fly ball in right and the Cavaliers' centerfielder reached to start the scoring spree. Tyler Cannon, Franco Valdes and Phil Gosselin each drove in runs to put Virginia on top 3-0.
VCU, which stranded a runner in each of the first three innings, finally pushed across a run in the fourth. Mikionis drew a leadoff walk, Lenherr reached on a bunt single and senior Doug Otto walked to load the bases with no outs. Nice then cut the Virginia lead to 3-1 following a sacrifice fly but Cavaliers starter Cody Winiarski induced a double play to get out of the jam.
Virginia continued to pressure the VCU defense in the fourth as the first four batters reached and the Cavaliers plated four more runs to take a 7-1 lead.
However, VCU loaded the bases for the second straight inning and pulled within 7-4 in the fifth. Van Meter drove in two with a single into right and Gonzalez scored after Hicks couldn't come up with Mikionis' ground ball to first base. But Virginia again escaped a jam as reliever Tyler Wilson forced Otto to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
The Cavaliers carried the momentum into the bottom half as Parker and Hicks hit back-to-back home runs and Virginia increased its lead to 9-4. Wilson then struck out the side in the top of the sixth and the Cavaliers scored six runs over the final three innings to go in front 15-4.
VCU will play the loser of No. 2 Ole Miss/No. 3 St. John's on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the elimination game at Davenport Field.