NORFOLK, Va. – Seven different players collected hits as the Virginia Commonwealth University baseball team used its best offensive output to claim a 7-6 road victory over in-state rival Norfolk State in non-conference action on Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm proud of the way our guys battled to earn the win," Head Coach Paul Keyes said. "We still have a lot of room to improve and get better, but when you can have those experiences and still get the win, it's a good thing."
After two scoreless innings to start the contest, Prentiss got things rolling with a leadoff single in the bottom of the third off Norfolk State starter Ryan VanAssche. Classmate Bill Cullen (pictured, right) followed with a walk and junior Paul Nice brought home the game's first run with an RBI single into centerfield.
After Cullen scored on passed ball, Brent Mikionis reached on a single and Joey Cujas was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Junior Taylor Buran plated another run on a fielder's choice before freshman Chris Ayers smacked a two-run single into right field to push VCU's lead to 5-0.
Prentiss would cap things off with an RBI single of his own as the Rams sent 11 batters to the plate in the six-run third inning.
However, the Spartans would not go away with a run in the fourth and three more in the fifth to cut the lead to 6-4 heading into the final three frames.
Norfolk State's rally was completed in the seventh when they banged out three hits, two of them doubles, en route to evening the score at 6-6.
However, VCU would not let the Spartans get comfortable taking advantage of two errors and plating the decisive run on an RBI from fly ball from Cullen.
"It's good to see our kids respond after Norfolk State fought back from the early hole," Keyes said. "We have to work on being able to put away teams while we have the chance to, that's what great teams do."
Senior Jonathan Watson came out of the bullpen to lock down the victory with a scoreless ninth to pick up his second save of the year.
Junior Dylan Auker garnered the win after tossing 0.2 innings of scoreless relief, while Raymond Morton was dealt the loss.
Seven of VCU's nine starters tallied a hit, while six of them notched an RBI on the afternoon.
The Rams return to action this weekend when they travel to Clinton, S.C. for a three-game set against Presbyterian College. Game time on Friday is set for 3 p.m.