FINAL: VCU 3, Saint Joseph's 2 – (The Diamond – Richmond, Va.)
VCU STARTERS: Cullen (CF), Bunn (LF), Cujas (3B), Ayers (DH), Machin (SS), Buran (RF), Octavi (C), Crimi (2B), Marino (1B), Buckley (P)
SAINT JOSEPH'S STARTERS: Forgey (RF), Pater (CF), Kumpel (DH), O'Keefe (C), Kancylarz (3B), Hueth (LF), Brue (1B), Cirillo (SS), Veeder (2B) Carter (P)
THE BASICS: Junior Landon Prentiss' two-out, pinch-hit RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted VCU to a 3-2 victory against Saint Joseph's on Saturday at The Diamond. VCU's bullpen, junior Logan Kanuik and sophomore Matt Lees, combined to pitch 4.2 scoreless innings. With the win, VCU improved to 4-0 for the first time since the 2004 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- VCU (4-0) wasted little time getting its offense started in the first inning on Saturday. Junior Bill Cullen and freshman James Bunn each singled to put runners on first and second for the middle of the lineup. Junior Joey Cujas, the next batter, grounded out to short, but the relay throw to first was overthrowen allowing Cullen to score.
- Saint Joseph's (2-3) responded in their half of the second inning. With runners on first and second with two-outs, Anthony Cirillo singled to bring home Stefan Kancylarz and tie the score at 1-1.
- The Rams retook a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the fourth. Senior Taylor Buran and junior Nick Octavi singled to put runners on first and second. After a sacrifice bunt by junior Tom Cimi, junior Trevor Marino plated Buran on an RBI groundout.
- VCU's lead was short lived, however, as the Hawks responded for a run in the top of the fifth. SJU loaded the bases with nobody out. Chris Hueth brought home a run a sacrifice fly to center. The Hawks threat was stalled by Kaniuk, who came on in relief, to get the final two outs of the inning.
- The Black and Gold grabbed the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore Vimael Machin drew a one-out walk to start the rally. After a strikeout, Prentiss ripped a double to the left field wall to allow Machin to score from first.
- VCU's defense held strong again today and turned three double plays to end three sperate Saint Joseph's rallies. The first came in the top of the second when Machin leaped to make a catch on a line drive and throw a runner to far off the bag at second. The second, in the top of the fourth inning when Crimi skied to make a catch and fire to Marino at first to get the second out. The final one was a 'stike-em-out-throw-em-out' double play in the top of the seventh.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- With the victory, the Rams improved to 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2004.
- VCU's bullpen (Kanuik and Lees) combined to throw 4.2 scoreless innings. To date, the Rams bullpen has allowed just one run in 13.2 innings.
- The Rams have still not trailed at any point throughout its first 36 innings.
- Kanuick earned his first career win for the Rams, while Lees picked up his third save this season and fifth of his career.
- Bunn had his third multi-hit game of the season. He leads the Rams in batting average at .500 (6-for-12).
- Cullen, who has recorded a hit in each of the Rams' four games, has also led off every game with a base hit.
- Buran finished the game 2-for-4 and had his first multi-hit performance this year.
"That's a bottom line result and that's a bottom line win for us. Give credit to their starter [Jordan Carter] and their bullpen they were outstanding. So far every guy they have brought in has been able to come in throw three pitches for strikes and keep the middle part of our lineup off balance. We played them tight. We did a poor job in the shutdown inning today. In order to be a good team we have to take care of shutdown innings."
- Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the Rams win
"Landon Prentiss comes in off the bench again and he's prepared and he's ready to go and gets a big hit for us they we took advantage of."
-Stiffler on Landon Prentiss' game-winning double
"Logan Kanuik comes in and pitches out of two jams and does a great job in the shutdown inning in the eighth. Matt Lees was there for us again in the ninth."
- Stiffler on the bullpen
"I felt prepared coming off of the bench, but I just wanted to help the team out the best I could. Personally, I find [pinch-hitting in big moments] thrilling and like when the odds are stacked against me, so it's fun to me."
-Junior Landon Prentiss
VCU and Saint Joseph's conclude their three game series tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 23, at The Diamond. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.