Rams drop 9-3 road decision to ECU

FINAL: VCU 3 (10-10), East Carolina 9 (16-7)

LOCATION: Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium – Greenville, N.C.

VCU STARTERS: Farrar (CF), Bunn (LF), Davis (3B), Machin (SS), Carpenter (1B), Rabat (DH), Acker (RF), Haymaker (C), Berezo (2B), Dwyer (SP)

EAST CAROLINA STARTERS: Love (CF), Lamm (DH), Harman (1B), Lowery (LF), Tyler (RF), Watkins (C), Yorgen (2B), Mims (3B), Morgan (SS), Wolfe (SP)

THE BASICS: VCU hung tight with East Carolina for the first seven-and-a-half innings on Saturday, but a big bottom of the eighth for the Pirates was the main culprit in the Rams' 9-3 loss.

HOW IT HAPPENED:
  • This time the Pirates were the ones to strike first with a run in the bottom if the third. The inning started off with a single to centerfield and a sacrifice bunt attempt that was bungled by VCU. Another sac bunt advanced the runners into scoring position and a ground ball to second base allowed the runner to score easily and give ECU a 1-0 lead.
  • The Rams would get that run back in their next inning at the dish. Matt Davis singled for the first VCU hit of the game and Vimael Machin launched a double to deep right field that nearly left the park and allowed Davis to score from first and put the score at 1-1.
  • In their very next at-bat, ECU blasted a ball into deep left-centerfield that looked like a sure extra-base hit, but James Bunn tracked it down and made a spectacular catch for the first out of the inning.
  • Unfortunately East Carolina would plate two runs in that bottom of the fourth on a ground ball that found  no-man's land and allowed two Pirates to come around and sore, putting the Rams down 3-1.
  • VCU was able to cut its deficit in half in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Matt Davis and even loaded the bases with just one out in the inning. No other runs came out of the prime scoring chance for the Rams, though, and the three men were stranded to end the frame.
  • In the top of the seventh VCU was able to tie the game when a hard grounder off the bat of Machin was mishandled by the first baseman and allowed a runner to score. ECU nearly got a run back in the bottom half of the seventh, but Thomas Gill was able to kill the Pirate inning and keep the score at 3-3.
  • ECU really broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth. The Pirates scored six runs on four hits and a couple of VCU errors to grab a 9-3 lead that they would not relinquish, evening the series at 1-1. 
QUOTABLE:
  • "You're not going to win any games making that many errors. We had that big eighth inning that got away from us; we weren't able to make any pitches and we gave away too many free bases and errors. But the series is turning out just like we thought. We had opportunities really up until the bottom of the eighth to put some swings on the baseball and take the lead in the game even though we didn't play that cleanly." - Head Coach Shawn Stiffler
  • "It'll be a great challenge for us tomorrow. I'm excited to see how we come back and respond after having today's game kick down our confidence a little bit. I"m excited to see the guys come out and be challenged and play aggressive. If we do that we have a great chance to win tomorrow." - Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

UP NEXT: The Rams return to Clark-LeClair Stadium tomorrow to try and grab their fourth consecutive weekend series. Game time is 1 pm.