RICHMOND, Va. – After Friday's game was postponed due to weather and Saturday the Rams dropped a close one, the team had a full day of baseball ahead of itself on Sunday to right the ship, as VCU and Monmouth met for a pair of games on Sunday at The Diamond.
The Rams took full advantage of the situation, winning both games of the twin bill. VCU won the first game by a score of 8-0, before capturing a 5-3 victory in the series finale. With the two victories, VCU improves to 7-5 on the season, while Monmouth drops to 4-5 on the year.
"We did a really good job of just playing baseball today," said VCU head coach Paul Keyes. "In the first game, we threw a lot of strikes, made the plays defensively when we needed to and came away with hits when we needed to. In the second game, I thought we had some quality at-bats and got some guys in scoring position, but didn't have a lot to show for it. We hung in there and Joey (Cujas) provided a big double down the line late, which gave us some space for the final innings. Our pitching was great all weekend and we relied upon it to help us come back and get the doubleheader sweep today and win the series."
The Rams won the first game behind a strong pitching performance from junior Ryan Farrar, as he allowed just five hits in seven innings of work. Farrar was relieved by freshman Matt Lees (one inning pitched, one hit, one strikeout) for the top of the eighth, before senior Josh Alford (one inning pitched) came on to pitch for the ninth.
VCU sophomore outfielder Bill Cullen had a strong performance at the plate for the Black & Gold, collecting four hits in five at-bats and driving in three runs in the contest. The Colonial Heights, Va., native was an extra-bases machine, roping a triple and a pair of doubles.
The Rams jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, before adding three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 5-0. After adding a lone run in the bottom of the sixth, VCU tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth to bring the score to its final, at 8-0.
In Sunday's second game, the Hawks pushed across their first run of the game in the top of the second. The Rams answered with a run of their own to tie the contest at 1-1.
Monmouth was again able to manufacture a run off senior pitcher Kyle Pelchy in the top of the third, but the VCU offense was able to hand Pelchy the lead after scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame. Senior outfielder Paul Nice delivered a single into left centerfield to start off the inning, before advancing to the third on a one-out double by junior infielder Jordan Weymouth. Both Nice and Weymouth would advance one base on a balk, allowing Nice to cross home plate to tie the score at 2-2. Sophomore infielder Joey Cujas (pictured right) drove Weymouth in from third, with a sacrifice fly to left field to hand VCU a 3-2, a lead VCU would not relinquish.
The Black & Gold added their fourth run of the game in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 4-2, before Monmouth responded with a run of its own in the top of the fifth.
VCU would score its fifth and final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh, with Cujas delivering a one-out double down the left field line to score Cullen from second.
Pelchy would earn the victory throwing 5.2 innings, while junior pitcher Blake Hauser picked up his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. Keyes also called upon junior Brennan Huelse, who worked the Rams out of a jam in the top of the sixth.
The Rams are scheduled to take on Temple this Tuesday at The Diamond, with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.