RICHMOND, Va. – Junior Brent Mikionis (pictured, right) went 3-for-4 and Virginia Commonwealth University scored all six of its runs with two outs, and evened the three-game series against Monmouth with a 6-5 win Saturday afternoon at The Diamond.
VCU snaps a three-game losing skid and improves to 2-3, while Monmouth falls to 1-1.
Sophomore Kyle Haynes allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in 6.0 innings to pick up his first win of the season. Senior closer Jonathan Watson, a Preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association first team selection, allowed just one base runner in the eighth and ninth innings, and recorded his first save of the year.
Pat Light took the loss for Monmouth after surrendering six runs on eight hits in four innings of work. The Hawks' bullpen allowed just two hits in four scoreless innings.
VCU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Mikionis and Cujas each came through with two-out RBI singles. Freshman Bill Cullen, who led off with a single into right, and Lenherr also collected hits in the frame.
Monmouth got a run back in the top of the second when Jamie Rosenkranz reached on an infield single to start the inning and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Ed Martin.
The Rams continued to pressure and added four more runs on four hits in the third. Mikionis, Lenherr and Cujas all singled with two outs. Cujas drove in his second run of the day and junior Taylor Buran followed with a two-RBI single into left and VCU took a 6-1 advantage.
Monmouth scratched back a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to cut the Rams' lead to 6-3. Josh Boyd singled and scored on a Steve Sanguiliano double, and Sanguiliano later came home on a passed ball to pull the Hawks within three.
Monmouth had a chance to chip away again in the sixth, placing a pair of runners in scoring position with no out. But Lenherr ran down a long fly ball in foul territory and Haynes induced back-to-back groundouts to preserve the scoreless frame.
The Hawks finally pushed across a pair in the seventh to pull within 6-5. Owen Stewart drew a leadoff walk and Boyd followed with a bunt single to place two runners on with no out. Then, an RBI-groundout by Ryan Terry and a single by Nick Pulsonetti made it a one-run game.
Monmouth reliever Andy McDonnell walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth and VCU had a chance to add to its lead. But Neil Harm got Paul Nice to chase with a full count and ended the threat.
Watson retired six of the seven batters he faced in the final two innings to preserve the win.
Pulsonetti, Rosenkranz and Boyd each had two hits for the Hawks.
VCU and Monmouth conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at The Diamond.