February 27, 2011

RAMS FALL IN EXTRA INNINGS TO MONMOUTH IN SERIES FINALE, 6-5

RICHMOND, Va. – In a game that saw 35 different players and 11 pitchers, it seemed only fitting to play a couple extra innings to add to the fun.

Unfortunately, it wasn't fun for the Virginia Commonwealth University baseball team as the Rams dropped the series finale to the Monmouth Hawks, 6-5, in 11 innings on Sunday afternoon at The Diamond.

Freshman Joey Cujas (pictured, right) led the Rams offensively with three hits, two RBIs and one run scored, while junior Taylor Perkins chipped in two hits and an RBI.

Monmouth's Jamie Rosenkranz had three hits and two RBIs, but it was an RBI single from freshman Jon Guida in the top of the 11th that was the deciding factor.

"It was good to see our guys battle back from being in an early hole, but I'm disappointed we weren't able to finish the job," Head Coach Paul Keyes said. "I thought we got some good efforts from some of our guys, but again it wasn't from everybody. Once we can get the same consistent effort from everybody in every game, that's when we'll be a good team."

The Hawks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to single runs in each of the first three innings.

Cujas would get VCU on the board for the first time in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single through the left side to plate senior John Lenherr.

As they did all weekend, Monmouth responded with back-to-back runs in the fifth and sixth to hold a 5-1 lead entering the home half of the sixth.

That's when the Black & Gold came to life, beginning with an RBI triple from Perkins to plate classmate Paul Nice, who had led off the frame with a single. After Lenherr drew a one-out walk, Cujas deliver once again with another RBI single.

With runners on first and third, Monmouth reliever Neil Harm balked to plate Lenherr and Cujas eventually scored on a wild pitch to even the tally at 5-5.

The relief pitching took over and the score remained tied heading into the bottom of the ninth when VCU had its best chance when freshman Bill Cullen was drilled with a pitch with two outs. An errant pickoff attempt and an obstruction call moved Cullen over to third, but Monmouth reliever Andrew McGee was able to buckle down and get a pop out to send the game to extra innings.

Monmouth would get the decisive run in the 11th when Ryan Terry reached on a bunt single to lead off the frame and moved to second on a sac bunt. After a pop out and an intentional walk put runners on first and second with two outs, Guida stepped to the plate for his first collegiate at-bat and sent an RBI single into centerfield to plate Terry and give the Hawks the series win.

McGee notched the win after tossing 5.1 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief, while striking out three and walking none. Senior Jonathan Watson was saddled with the loss after giving up just one run over two innings of work.

The Rams return to action on Tuesday as they head to Norfolk State for a 1 p.m. contest.  

 
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