VCU HOLDS ON FOR 6-5 VICTORY FRIDAY AGAINST CLEVELAND STATE

RICHMOND, Va. – Junior Greg Fujii went 3-for-3 and senior Doug Otto hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to lead Virginia Commonwealth University to a 6-5 victory against Cleveland State in the first game of a three-game set Friday afternoon at The Diamond.

VCU improves to 5-3 on the season, while Cleveland State drops to 1-6.

Rams starting pitcher Blake Hauser recorded his second straight win on the mound, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings. The freshman struck out five batters and walked three. Sophomore Kyle Pelchy posted his first save of the season after tossing the final 1.2 innings.

Cleveland State got on the board first in the top of the second inning. Jason Haditsch was hit by a pitch with one out and later scored following a fielding error by Otto.

Fujii got things started for VCU in the bottom of the sixth as he sent a leadoff triple into left center field and scored on a passed ball. Senior Richard Gonzalez followed with a walk before Otto blasted a home run over the left field wall to put the Rams on top 3-1.

With two outs in the home half of the seventh, Gonzalez came through with a two-RBI single and the Rams extended their lead to 5-1. Fujii, who was intentionally walked to load the bases earlier in the frame, scored on a throwing error by catcher Kyle Shaffer and VCU took a 6-1 advantage.

Cleveland State added a pair of runs in the eighth. Shaffer tripled to start the inning and came home on a single by Bob Suitca. Gonzalez came up with a nice play at third base on a groundout by Wynn but Franks scored to cut the VCU lead to 6-3.

The Vikings made it interesting in the ninth as they scored two more runs on four hits and one VCU error. Pelchy ran into trouble to start the frame as four of the first five batters reached. However, with two outs and the tying runner in scoring position, Pelchy settled down and struck out Josh Lowe to end the game.

Fujii had three of the Rams six hits on the afternoon, while Gonzalez, Otto and Paul Nice added one hit apiece.

Shaffer and Ryan Franks each went 2-for-4 for Cleveland State. Vikings starter Anthony Sambula, who finished with six strikeouts, suffered the loss after surrendering five runs on five hits in 6.1 innings.

The series will continue Saturday with a 4 p.m. matchup at The Diamond and conclude Sunday at 1 p.m.

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