CLINTON, S.C. – Virginia Commonwealth University split a pair of one-run games at Presbyterian on Friday afternoon in its first action away from The Diamond this season. A sacrifice fly by junior Paul Nice gave VCU a 4-3 victory in game one of the doubleheader but the Rams couldn't overcome a two-run, ninth inning deficit and fell in game two, 4-3.
Senior John Lenherr and junior Taylor Perkins (pictured, left) went a combined 8-for-15 at the plate, including four RBI, four doubles and three runs, to pace VCU's offense. Meanwhile, senior reliever Jonathan Watson tossed the final 1.2 innings of game one, earning his first win of the season.
Game 1: VCU 4, Presbyterian 3
VCU fell behind early in game one, 2-0, after Presbyterian scored a run in each of the first two frames.
The Rams, who left a runner on in the third, fourth and fifth innings, would eventually even the score with a pair of runs on four hits in the top of the sixth. Nice singled to center with one out and came home a batter later when Perkins lifted a single into right field. Perkins then scored on a passed ball with two outs and VCU knotted the score at 2-2.
Lenherr gave the Black & Gold its first lead of the game in the eighth with a RBI-single. Perkins doubled to start the frame, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Brent Mikionis and later came home on Lenherr's knock up the middle.
The VCU lead didn't last for long, however, as Presbyterian answered with a run in the home half of the inning. A leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt and an infield single placed a pair of runners on with no out. Nathan Chong, who drew the free pass, eventually scored on a fielder's choice and the Blue Hose chased junior starter Seth Cutler-Voltz and tied it at 3-3.
Sophomore Nick Kime singled and stole second with one out in the ninth to spark a VCU rally. Freshman Bill Cullen reached on an error, which put runners on the corners, and Nice sent a sacrifice fly into left field and the Rams went back on top, 4-3.
Cutler-Voltz logged 7.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. Watson held Presbyterian scoreless the rest of the way.
Game 2: Presbyterian 4, VCU 3
Presbyterian again jumped out to a 2-0 lead after four innings in game two, but VCU used a two-run fifth to tie it up. Junior Kyle Sutherland drew a leadoff walk and Cullen reached on a fielder's choice with one out. Perkins then came through with another clutch hit, doubling down the left field line and the Rams evened the score at 2-2.
However, the Blue Hose had an answer to VCU's rally in the bottom of the inning as Tony Micklon gave Presbyterian a 4-2 advantage with a two-out double into left.
Still trailing by two, the Rams pulled within 4-3 in the top of the ninth when Lenherr, who reached on a fielding error to start the frame, scored on a Sutherland double with one out. Senior Ryan Caldwell, who pinch ran for Sutherland, stole third but Kime grounded out to end the game.
Perkins and Lenherr (pictured, right) each collected a pair of hits in game two. Junior Chris Shaklee took the loss for the Rams despite allowing no runs on three hits in four innings of work.
VCU and Presbyterian conclude the three-game series Saturday at 2 p.m. The Rams then welcome in-state foe Longwood to The Diamond on Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m.