RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University had four players record two or more hits and defeated Cleveland State, 10-7, in the second game of a three-game series Saturday evening at The Diamond.
VCU has now won four of its last five games and improves its record to 6-3 on the season, while Cleveland State falls to 1-7 to start the 2010 campaign.
Richard Gonzalez, Joe Van Meter, John Lenherr and Brent Mikionis each recorded two hits apiece for the Rams, while Taylor Perkins went 1-for-3 with three RBI.
Cleveland State wasted little time getting on the board in the top of the first inning. Rams starter Michael Graham, who retired the first two batters he faced before allowing three straight Vikings to reach, surrendered two runs on three hits and Cleveland State took an early 2-0 lead.
VCU answered with runs in its first two trips to the plate. In the bottom of the first, Gonzalez singled to center with one out, stole second, advanced to third on an error and scored the tying run on a groundout by Doug Otto. Mikionis, who reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning, scored the go ahead run in the second after a throwing error by Cleveland State pitcher Coty Bates.
The Rams added two more runs in the fourth and went on top 8-3 following a four-run fifth frame.
Van Meter led off the fifth with a single up the middle before Mikionis and Matt Leskiw drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Perkins came up with another timely hit as he lifted a two-RBI single into left field. Andrew Dimino followed with a two-RBI single to cap off the four-run inning.
Cleveland State stormed back and scored three runs on three hits in the sixth and added another in the seventh to pull within 8-7.
However, VCU added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Otto drew a one-out walk and stole second before scoring on a passed ball. Lenherr followed with a double into right center and came home on a two-out single by Mikionis.
Robbie Andrews, who pitched the final 1.2 innings, retired the side in the top of the ninth and picked up his third save of the season.
Graham allowed six runs on six hits in five innings of work and earned his second straight win on the mound for the Rams. He also finished with eight strikeouts and just two walks.
VCU and Cleveland State conclude the three-game series with a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday at The Diamond.