By Andrew Phillips, VCU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
CLINTON, S.C.- In baseball one big inning can change the complexity of an entire game. The VCU baseball team was almost on both sides of a big inning on Saturday against Presbyterian. The Rams tried to battle back from a three-run deficit, but fell just short dropping a 3-2 decision to the Blue Hose. VCU now falls to 4-6 overall, while Presbyterian improves to 6-6.
For the second straight game VCU would have chances early but could not get runs across as Presbyterian starter Jordan Pace went the distance.
After a scoreless two and half innings of play Presbyterian struck first in the third. Rams starter Blake Hauser held the Blue Hose hitless through 2.1 innings before Andrew Williams' got a one-out single. After a pop out and a stolen base, Gabe Grammer sent a hard ground ball through the middle to plate the game's first run. A few pitches later Brad Zebdis homered to left field to extend the Presbyterian lead to 3-0.
The game remained the same until VCU rallied in the ninth inning, due in large part to the Rams bullpen. VCU used five different pitchers and got four scoreless innings from relievers Kyle Pelchy, Brennan Huelse, Josh Alford, David Benson, and Ryan Farrar.
Pace, who held the Rams scoreless through the first eight innings, toed the rubber to start the ninth against the heart of the VCU lineup. Taylor Perkins sent a single up the middle to get things started. Brent Mikionis then reached on a fielder's choice and John Lenherr followed with a triple down the first base line to give VCU its first run of the day. Joey Cujas then pulled the Rams within one after an RBI groundout but it was as close as the Black & Gold would get. Taylor Buran nearly tied it with a screaming line drive into center field but Grammer tracked it down and ended the game.
Lenherr led the VCU offense with a 3-for-4 outing. He was the only Ram to collect multiple hits as he posted three of the team's seven.
Pace, who tossed his first complete game of the season, picked up the win for Presbyterian, while Hauser suffered his first loss of the year for the Rams.
VCU returns to action Wednesday, March 9 against in-state foe Longwood at The Diamond. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. The Rams then host the first-ever Terry Sisisky Classic, which features Holy Cross and Princeton, at The Diamond March 11-14.