RICHMOND, Va. – For seven innings of Sunday's series
finale between Virginia Commonwealth University and Western
Kentucky University, sophomore right-hander Seth Cutler-Voltz (Richmond, Va.) methodically worked his way
through a potent Hilltopper lineup.
Unfortunately for Cutler-Voltz and the Rams, there was two more innings in the game as WKU plated six runs over the final two frames to pick up the win, 9-4, and the series sweep of the Black & Gold for the second straight year. VCU has now lost seven straight to drop to 9-10 on the year, while the Hilltoppers improve to 16-5.
"Our guys really battled for seven innings, but we just have to improve on the way we finish games," Head Coach Paul Keyes said. "We had a chance to really give us a cushion and we weren't able to do it and when you allow good teams to stick around, eventually they come back to hurt you."
For the second straight day WKU put a run on the board in the first as Kes Carter reached on a two-base throwing error and Matt Rice made VCU pay with an RBI single three pitches later to give the Hilltoppers a 1-0 advantage.
A sacrifice fly by Carter and an RBI single by Casey Dykes in the top of the third increased the WKU lead to 3-0.
Cutler-Voltz and Tanner Perkins locked into a pitcher's duel, keeping both offenses at-bay until the bottom of the sixth.
Junior John Lenherr (Windom, Kansas) started the frame by reaching on a fielding error and classmate Greg Fujii (San Jose, Calif.) moved him to second with a single up the middle. Seniors Richard Gonzalez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) and Doug Otto (Jefferson City, Mo.) followed by connecting on back-to-back RBI singles to get the Black & Gold within one. Sophomore Paul Nice (Powhatan, Va.) delivered the big blow of the inning with a two-RBI double deep in the left centerfield gap to give VCU a 4-3 advantage.
After Cutler-Voltz kept WKU off the board for four straight innings, the Hilltoppers posted four runs and three hits in the top of the eighth to regain the lead at 7-4.
Rice gave WKU more insurance runs in the ninth with a two run homerun down the left field line.
Cutler-Voltz (2-2) threw eight strong innings, allowing five earned runs and nine hits, while walking just two and striking out five. Perkins allowed six hits and three earned runs in five innings of work. Brian Edeland (3-0) picked up the win in relief for the Hilltoppers.
Offensively, Nice, Rodriguez and Joe Van Meter (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) all had two hits apiece, with Nice picking up two RBIs on the afternoon.
Rice led WKU with a 4-for-5 day with three runs
scored and three RBIs. Four other Hilltoppers had multi-hit
The Rams return to The Diamond on Wednesday evening when they host the Lancers of Longwood University in a 7 p.m. match-up.