Rams take series with 3-2 win at East Carolina

PHOTO GALLERY

FINAL: VCU 3 (11-10), East Carolina 2 (16-8)

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

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

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

THE BASICS: VCU's 3-2 win over East Carolina this afternoon clinched yet another weekend series victory for the Rams. Matt Blanchard, Matt Lees, and Daniel Concepcion all pitched well enough today to keep the nationally-ranked Pirate offense at bay, allowing just five hits. Haiden Lamb's run in the eighth inning off of an ECU throwing error was the difference in today's rubber match.

HOW IT HAPPENED:
  • It didn't take long for the Rams to draw first blood in the rubber match with the Pirates. Logan Farrar led off with a double down the right field line and he would later score on a single by Vimael Machin, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games on the play. ECU would get that run back an inning later on an RBI groundout to second base.
  • VCU took the lead back in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Brett Hileman. The inning began with a leadoff base hit by Darian Carpenter, who then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cody Acker.
  • In the bottom half of the fourth East Carolina struck back and tied the game up at 2-2. With two outs left in the inning, Kirk Morgan lined a single into right field for ECU's first hit of the ballgame, driving in the runner at second base in the process.
  • For the second straight game, VCU held East Carolina to just a couple of hits through seven innings. Starter Matt Blanchard tossed four innings of one-hit ball and Matt Lees added three terrific innings out of the bullpen to keep the Rams in the game long enough to pull ahead.
  • That opportunity to pull ahead presented itself in the top of the eighth. Pinch runner Haiden Lamb was on third base and wandered out a little too far on a ball in the dirt, prompting a throw from the catcher. The throw ended up sailing into left field and Lamb easily scored, giving VCU a late 3-2 lead.
  • Whereas last night the bottom of the eighth brought doom to the Rams, today the Pirates put on a clinic for how not to run the bases. ECU put a man on second base with a leadoff double, and in the very next at-bat he ran into an out at third base on a routine groundball to short. Moments later Daniel Concepcion picked off the runner at first, whipping the VCU dugout into a frenzy and helping VCU get out of what could have been a productive East Carolina inning.
  • Concepcion came out for the bottom of the ninth and, save for a two-out base hit, blew through the ECU batters he faced en route to a 3-2 VCU victory. 

QUOTABLE:
"It was a great series win and a total team effort to get this done this weekend! I am especially proud of how we responded after Saturday's tough loss, and we didn't have an error on the board today! The bullpen gave us five scoreless innings today, and that is what we needed." -- head coach Shawn Stiffler

UP NEXT: VCU returns home this upcoming week with a Tuesday matchup with VMI and a Wednesday game against Longwood.