RICHMOND, Va. – The 2012 VCU Baseball team captured their fifth victory of the season on Tuesday, taking down visiting Norfolk State University 4-3 at The Diamond. The victory over the Spartans helped the Rams reach a program milestone, as the team claimed its 1000th victory in program history.
"It means that this program has been good for a long time," stated VCU Head Coach Paul Keyes. "I have been very fortunate to be in on a lot of those wins, both as an assistant and as the head coach here at VCU. It takes a lot of things to get to a milestone like this, but mostly it's on the players, and we have had a lot of good players here at VCU."
The VCU Baseball program, which started in 1969, features an all-time record of 1000-934-6 after today's victory. Keyes has been a major contributor to the accomplishment, helping guide the Rams to 574 victories during his 18 seasons as head coach of the Black & Gold.
The Rams would have to battle back to win this contest, as Norfolk State scored the first run of the game in the top of the third inning.
VCU responded quickly, scoring its first run of the game in the bottom of the third. Sophomore outfielder Bill Cullen (pictured right)got things going for VCU with a one-out walk from Norfolk State starting pitcher Ryan VanAssche. The Colonial Heights, Va., native advanced to second on groundout by the next batter, before scoring on a single through the right side of the infield by sophomore infielder Joey Cujas.
The score would remain tied at 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth, where the Rams were able to manufacture a pair of runs. Senior Taylor Perkins and sophomore Chris Ayers led the inning off with back-to-back singles to right field. After a quick out, freshman infielder Vimael Machin moved the runners up one base with a single through the right side. Perkins and Ayers would come home to score on a single to center field by Cullen.
The Rams scored the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh, with junior infielder Jordan Weymouth starting things off with a leadoff walk. Weymouth advanced to third on a double to right field by Cujas, before scoring on ground out to the second baseman by Perkins.
The Spartans fought back in the top of the eighth, creating a pair of runs off of two hits and three walks. With one out and the bases loaded, Keyes called upon junior pitcher Blake Hauser to end the Spartan rally. The Chesterfield, Va., native did just so, fanning the next two batters to get out of the frame and hold the 4-3 lead.
Hauser came back out for the top of the ninth and made quick work of the Spartan batters, striking out the first two batters faced, before forcing a slow roller in front of the VCU catcher for the third and final out.
"Blake did a great job bailing us out there," added Keyes. "That was great to see. Anytime you get a win it is great, but I would have liked to see it be a little bit safer."
VCU senior pitcher Seth Cutler-Voltz earned the victory after throwing seven strong innings and allowing just one run. Hauser grabbed his third save of the 2012 campaign, striking out four of the five batters he faced.
VanAssche takes the loss for the visiting Spartans, allowing three runs in six innings pitched.
The Rams will continue play at The Diamond this weekend, hosting Monmouth for a three-game series this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. First pitch for Friday's game is scheduled for 3 p.m.