HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Virginia Commonwealth University escaped a late Hofstra University rally with a seven-run ninth inning and defeated the Pride 13-5 Friday afternoon in the first of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at University Field.
VCU wins its sixth straight CAA contest and improves to 19-15 overall and 9-1 in league play, while Hofstra falls to 10-18, 3-4.
Junior John Lenherr went 4-for-6 with two runs and a RBI for VCU, while senior Richard Gonzalez was 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI. Junior Joe Van Meter went 3-for-6 and drove in three runs and sophomores Brent Mikionis and Taylor Perkins each collected two hits for the Rams.
Sophomore Seth Cutler-Voltz picked up his fifth win of the season after allowing four runs (three earned) in eight innings on work. The Richmond, Va., native also fanned seven and issued just one walk.
VCU, which left runners in scoring position in each of its first two trips to the plate, got on the board with a four-run third inning. Four Rams reached to start the frame and Lenherr put the Rams on top with an RBI single into right. Two more runs scored after Mikionis reached on a fielder's choice and sophomore Paul Nice took first base following an error by Ethan Paquette. Perkins then came through with an RBI double into left and gave the Rams a 4-0 lead.
Hofstra scratched a run across in the bottom of the frame as Ford, who singled to left, scored after a pickoff attempt by Cutler-Voltz sailed past Van Meter at third.
VCU pressured Hofstra starter Sean Monaghan and plated two more runs in the fourth. Gonzalez scored on a single by Van Meter before three straight batters reached with two outs and Lenherr gave VCU a 6-1 lead when he came home on a passed ball.
However, Hofstra got a run back in the bottom of the fourth as the Pride scored on a VCU miscue for the second straight inning. Scott A'Hara struck out swinging but John Kenny, who doubled off the wall in left to leadoff the inning, came home on the play as Cutler-Voltz sent a wild pitch past Perkins.
The Pride continued to rally and cut VCU's lead in half with a pair of runs in seventh. Jared Hammer and Matt Prokopowicz led off with back-to-back singles and Paquette loaded the bases on a fielder's choice. Kenny then lined a two-out double up the middle and the Pride pulled within 6-4.
Mikionis sent a two-run blast over the left field wall and started a seven-run ninth inning to put the game away for VCU. Senior Matt Leskiw drew a bases loaded walk, while Gonzalez and Van Meter each drove in two runs apiece to increase the Rams lead to 13-4.
VCU and Hofstra will continue with game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.