NEWARK, Del. – The VCU Rams dropped the rubber match in the Sunday finale with Delaware, with the Blue Hens taking the game by a score of 6-2.
Delaware improves to 19-18 on the year, including 11-7 in CAA play, while VCU drops to 19-17 and 7-11 in league games.
"It was just a situation where we didn't take advantage of some opportunities that were granted to us early in the game," said VCU associate head coach Shawn Stiffler. "Delaware did a good job, our starter was out of the zone and they did a good job of being patient and coming through with some timely hits. We had a situation get off the field in the second inning, but couldn't get off the field. They did a good job of getting some early runs and making us play catch-up the rest of the way.
The Rams pulled ahead early, scoring one run in the top of the first inning. Sophomore outfielder Bill Cullen laced a triple to left center to get things going. With the triple, the Colonial Heights, Va., native now owns the VCU single-season record for triples in a season, with nine. Cullen (pictured right) came home to score on a sacrifice fly to center by junior infielder Jordan Weymouth.
The Blue Hens came right back with a pair of runs off VCU freshman pitcher Heat Dwyer in the bottom of the inning.
VCU had a chance to knot the score at 2-2 in the top of the second, as senior Taylor Perkins led off with a single up the middle. After an infield popup for the first out, Perkins worked an errant throw from the Delaware pitcher on a pickoff attempt, which allowed Perkins to advance to second. Perkins took third on a groundout to the right side. The Dinwiddie, Va., native would end up stranded on the bases, following a groundout to the shortstop.
Delaware added to its lead in the bottom of the second, pushing across four runs in the frame, extending their lead to 6-1.
The Rams cut the deficit to four, following a solo home run to left field by junior infielder Nick Kime in the top of the fifth inning. It marked the first home run of the season for Kime.
VCU had the chance to cut into Delaware's lead even more in the top of the eighth inning, with the bases loaded and just one out. Delaware relief pitcher Devon Pearson fanned one VCU batter for the second out, before forcing a groundout to the third baseman to end the inning.
The Rams went three up, three down in the top of the ninth, to close out the contest and the regular season series with the Blue Hens.
Dwyer takes the loss for the Rams, allowing four runs on four hits. VCU senior pitcher Kyle Pelchy turned in an impressive performance out of the bullpen throwing six complete innings and allowing just four hits. Junior pitcher Blake Hauser came on in the eighth to record the final defensive out for the Rams, striking out Delaware's Cameron Travalini.
The Rams will continue play on the road this week, traveling to Longwood this Tuesday for a non-conference contest.
"We just have to keep progressing and playing well," added Stiffler. "It's an in-state rivalry game for us and we just have to go out and pitch and play well, and continue to move forward."