RAMS EARN SERIES SWEEP OVER NORTHEASTERN WITH SOLID PITCHING AND HITTING ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON
BOSTON, Mass. – The VCU baseball team used a balance offensive attack with solid pitching and defense to complete the sweep of Northeastern with a 10-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Friedman Diamond.
With the win the Rams improve to 16-12 overall and 6-6 in CAA play, while the Huskies drop to 12-10 overall and 3-6 in the CAA.
"It was a very complete weekend for us. We were really good; we played great defense and pitched extremely well," VCU head coach Paul Keyes said.
For the first time all weekend the Rams found themselves trailing after the first inning. The Huskies lead was short lived, as red-shirt junior Taylor Buran stepped to the plate and tied the game at 1-1, with a line shot home run to left field. It was Buran's second homer in as many days.
The rally was not over for VCU, as freshman Vimael Machin followed with a double, and moved to second on a sac-bunt from senior Nick Abrahamson. Machin would come around to score on a passed ball, giving the Rams a 2-1 advantage.
The Huskies would manufacture another run to tie the game at 2-2 in their half of the second, but the Rams bats would come alive again. With one man out in the top of the third, redshirt junior Brent Mikionis hit a double to the wall. After a fly out and Buran reached on a hit by a pitch, Machin came to the plate and bunted safely to load the bases. Abrahamson came to the plate and smoked a two run single to right to hand the Rams a 4-2 lead, and VCU would never look back.
"I thought we did a great job of manufacturing some runs in the beginning part of the game all the way through to take control of the weekend," Keyes said.
For the third straight day the Rams received an excellent performance from their starting pitcher. Freshman Heath Dwyer, who allowed two early runs, settled in and retired 19 of 20 batters over his last six innings, including 13 Huskies in a row. Junior Blake Hauser came on in the ninth and retired the Huskies in order to close out the game. Dwyer got the win and improved to 3-1 on the season.
"We got ahead of their hitters all weekend long, and then made big pitches when we needed to," added Keyes.
The Black and Gold would add two more runs in the top of the fourth, fifth and six innings. In the fourth inning, Mikionis recorded his second double of the game to bring home junior Jordan Weymouth to make the score 5-2. Sophomore Chris Ayers (pictured right) came to the plate and sent a sac-fly to center score sophomore Joey Cujas.
In the fifth inning the Rams came up with a two out rally. A two out walk to sophomore Bill Cullen was followed by an errant pick-off attempt to first; Cullen raced all the way to third on the play, beating out the throw from the Huskies. Weymouth then made the Huskies pay, with an RBI single; a pitch later Weymouth stole second. Cujas then singled to score Weymouth giving the Rams an 8-1 lead.
For the final time in the six inning the Rams were able to plate two more runs. A leadoff walk to Ayers was followed by a Buran single putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Machin would come through with a sac-fly to score Ayers. Buran would come around to score on a double from senior Paul Nice.
The Huskies would add a run off of a solo shot from Rob Fonseca, but the combo of Dwyer and Hauser would be enough for the Rams to pick up their fourth straight win and fifth in six tries.
The Rams return home for a mid-week date with Liberty on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Diamond.