FINAL: VCU 12, UNC Asheville 1 – (Charleston Crab House Shootout presented by Homewood Suites – Charleston, S.C.)
VCU STARTERS: Cullen (CF), Bunn (LF), Cujas (3B), Ayers (C), Machin (SS), Prentiss (RF), Thomas (DH), Weymouth (2B), Marino (1B), Dwyer (P)
UNC ASHEVILLE STARTERS: Towels (2B), Miller (SS), McIntosh (3B), Graham (C), Creighton (DH), Bryant (1B), Joyner (RF), Tredway (CF), Houmard (LF), Roland (P)
THE BASICS: VCU set new season-highs in runs (12) and hits (14) as they rolled past UNC Asheville, 12-1 in the first game of the Charleston Crab House Shootout presented by Homewood Suites. Juniors Joey Cujas (pictured right) and Chris Ayers (pictured cover) paced the Rams' offense with three-hits, apiece.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- VCU's (6-0) offense again opened the first inning with a bang. Junior Bill Cullen started the scoring with a leadoff solo homer over the left field wall. The Rams continued to rally in the first, as they put runners on second and third after a double from Cujas. Still with nobody out, Ayers roped a double to the right field wall to score both runners. Ayers moved third on a wild pitch and came home on a RBI groundout by sophomore Vimael Machin.
- UNC Asheville (3-5) battled to get a run back in the top of the second inning. Ian Graham led off the inning with a single, but was retired on a nice diving play by senior Jordan Weymouth, who fired to second a fielder's choice. With one out and a runner first, Hunter Bryant roped a double to the right field wall to bring home the Bulldogs' lone run.
- The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning. Cujas started the rally by reaching on an error and Ayers followed with a walk. With one out, the Rams had runners on the corners for junior Landon Prentiss, who lifted a sacrifice fly to right making the score 5-1.
- In the bottom of the seventh inning, Cujas and Ayers sparked another Rams' rally. Cujas led off the inning with his second double of the afternoon and Ayers followed with a single to put runners on the corners. The Bulldogs were able to turn a double play, but Cujas scored to give VCU a 6-1 lead.
- The Black and Gold's best inning of the day was the bottom of the eighth inning. VCU brought 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs to make the score 12-1. Freshman James Bunn, Cujas (two), Ayers, and Prentiss (two) all had RBI's for the Rams in the eighth inning.
- Sophomore Heath Dwyer continued his strong start to the season making the start for the Rams. He threw seven innings, allowed one run and struck out four.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- VCU extended its winning streak to six games for the first time since the 2010 season and stayed on pace for the best start in school history (11-0 in 1989).
- The Rams scored four runs in the first inning and have now outscored opponents 9-0 in the first frame. VCU has also scored at least one run in the first inning in all but one game.
- VCU still has not trailed at any point this season. The Rams streak of being ahead or tied is up to 54 innings.
- For the year, the Rams have outscored opponents by a total of 28-6.
- The Black and Gold set new season-highs in runs (12) and hits (14).
- Cujas and Ayers each had three hits. It was the first time a Ram has recorded three hits in a game this season.
- Prentiss, Weymouth and Cullen all finished with two hits to record multi-hit games.
- Cullen hit his first homerun of the season and seventh of his career in the first inning.
- Ayers and Prentiss each finished with three runs batted in for VCU.
- Redshirt junior Seth Greene came on in relief for the second straight game. He allowed one hit and struck out two.
- Freshman Hunter Absher pitched the ninth inning and allowed one hit in his collegiate debut.
"The key to today was that the middle of our lineup was very good. Chris Ayers and Joey Cujas combined for six hits and Bill Cullen and Landon Prentiss had big days for us as well."
- Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the Rams' offense
"It's always great to score runs in the first inning. It allows us to put the other team on their heels right away."
- Stiffler on VCU's first inning success
"Heath Dwyer took advantage of [the lead] and threw seven solid innings for us today. It was good to get Seth Greene and Hunter Absher (in his first appearance) on the mound and they both did a great job for us."
-Stiffler on the Rams pitching
The Rams continue play in the Charleston Crab House Shootout tomorrow, Saturday, March 2, against the host Citadel. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.