Rams Battle Back to Force Extra Innings; Fall to Rutgers 9-6 in 12 innings

FINAL: Rutgers 9, VCU 6 – 12 innings (The Diamond – Richmond, Va.)

VCU STARTERS: Bunn (LF), Machin (SS), Cujas (3B), Ayers (DH), Buran (RF), Weymouth (1B), Acker (CF), Haymaker (C), Crimi (2B), Marino (P)

RUTGERS STARTERS: Teitz (3B), Favatella (2B), O'Grady (CF), Melillo (C), Zavala (RF), Zarrillo (LF), Law (1B), Clemente (DH), Sweeney (SS), McCue (P)

THE BASICS: VCU erased a 6-0 Rutgers deficit, but the Scarlet Knights rallied to win 9-6 in 12 innings in the final game of a two-game series at the Diamond. Freshman James Bunn, and seniors Jordan Weymouth and Taylor Buran  each collected three hits apiece.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Rutgers (6-10) scored the game's first run in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Vinny Zarillo walked and advanced to third on a two-out single by Charlie Law. Law stole second safely, but the throw was in the dirt allowing Zarrillo to score and giving Rutgers a 1-0 lead.
  • The Scarlet Knights brought three around to score in the top of the third inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Rutgers scored two runs on a balk and a wild pitch, respectively. The Scarlet Knights added another run on a RBI single from Steve Zavala, giving Rutgers a 4-0 lead.
  • Rutgers again loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning, but were able to score when VCU turned a double play. The run put the Scarlet Knights ahead 5-0.
  • Rutgers padded their lead again in the top of the fifth. With two outs, and runners on first and second, Law singled to center, scoring a run but the trial runner was thrown out at the plate on a relay by Bunn and sophomore Vimael Machin, ending the inning. The run gave Rutgers a 6-0 advantage. 
  • VCU (12-6) battled back and scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Back-to-back singles from Bunn and Machin put runners on the corners for junior Joey Cujas. The Midlothian, Va. native roped a single into right field scoring Bunn and cutting the lead to 6-1. After an out, Buran dropped a drag bunt down the third base line scoring Machin, making the score 6-2.
  • The Rams continued to fight back, adding two more runs in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Bunn led off the inning with a single, advancing to second on a walk to Machin. Cujas grounded to second, but reached on a fielder's choice. With runners on the corners, junior Landon Prentiss sent a ball to the left field wall, which was deep enough to score Bunn cutting the lead to 6-3. The next batter, Buran doubled into center field scoring Cujas from first, making the score 6-4.
  • VCU tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, Cujas was a hit-by-a-pitch, advancing to second on a walk to Prentiss. Buran blooped a single into left field scoring Cujas and making the score 6-5. The next batter, Weymouth roped a single into right field, which scored Prentiss to tie the game. The throw to the plate went over the head of the catcher, and Buran tried to score, but the pitcher threw it back to the catcher  just in time for the final out of the inning.
  • In the top of the 12th inning Rutgers rallied with two outs for three runs. Zavala walked and reached  third on an error that also allowed Zarrillo to advance to second. Law followed with a double down the right field line giving Rutgers the 8-6 lead. The next batter, pinch-hitter Ross Costello singled home Law making the score 9-6.
  • VCU loaded the bases in the bottom of the 12th inning with two outs, but Rob Corsi was able to secure the final out and give Rutgers the 9-6 victory.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Bunn had three hits and recorded his team-leading eighth multi-hit game of the season for VCU.
  • Buran finished with three hits and three RBIs for the Rams. It was the second time this season  Buran recorded three RBIs.
  • Freshman Dan Black threw three innings of relief and allowed a run on two hits.
  • Junior Logan Kanuik pitched five innings and didn't allow an earned run, while striking out three. He was charged with his first loss of the season.
  • Junior Trevor Marino started for the Rams, but left with an injury. He had thrown 2.2 innings with three hits and allowed one earned run.
  • It was the second straight night Rutgers and VCU played extra innings.

QUOTABLE
"It was a good game and a really good series. I am really proud of our guys for battling back after being down 6-0. We took a blow early with Chris Ayers and Trevor Marino leaving the game early with injuries and Rutgers took advantage of that. I was very proud of the way we fought back and had chances to win the game in the ninth and 12th innings."
- VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the game  

WHAT'S AHEAD
VCU opens its inaugural season in the Atlantic 10 this weekend with a three-game series with Butler. The series opens on Friday, March 22, at 6 p.m.

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