RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University set a state baseball attendance record with 5,421 fans but suffered a 14-3 setback against top-ranked University of Virginia Tuesday night at The Diamond. The Cavaliers took an early lead and never looked back, defeating the Rams for the ninth consecutive time.
VCU (17-25) faced the NCAA's top-ranked team for the second consecutive season and fourth time in program history.
Six different Rams recorded a hit, while Jared King paced Virginia's 17-hit attack finishing 3 for 4 with four runs and two RBI. John Hicks and Stephen Proscia each homered for the Cavaliers.
Virginia starter Cody Winiarski (6-2) picked up the win after allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings. VCU southpaw Michael Graham suffered his first loss of the season.
The Rams had runners on the corners with one out in the top of the first but couldn't take an early advantage. Virginia (43-5) went on to plate three runs in the second, four in the third, four in the fourth and three more in the sixth to stake a 14-2 lead.
VCU pulled within 7-2 with a pair of runs in the third but it was as close as the Rams would get the rest of the night. Junior Paul Nice singled and senior John Lenherr was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. Two batters later, sophomore Nick Kime drove in a run with a single into left and Lenherr eventually came home after Virginia committed its second error of the night.
Freshman Chris Ayers drilled a pinch-hit double off the left center field wall, classmate Landon Prentiss reached on a fielding error and senior Ryan Caldwell singled to load the bases for VCU in the seventh. Redshirt-freshman Robert Malan then drew a bases loaded walk to make it 14-3.
Virginia, which became the first 40-win team in the nation, has just one non-conference loss all season – a 4-3 setback against East Carolina on Feb. 27. The Cavaliers, who entered the game with the NCAA's second-best fielding percentage, committed a season-high three errors.
VCU struck out just four times against a pitching staff that ranks second in the nation with 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Rams conclude their five-game home stand Wednesday, May 4 against Norfolk State at 5 p.m. VCU then hits the road for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Towson University May 6-8.