PANTHERSVILLE, Ga. – With a weekend forecast calling for a heavy dose of showers and storms, VCU and Georgia State adjusted the series schedule and played a doubleheader Friday evening to assure at least two games.
Georgia State (20-5, 4-1 CAA) took game one 11-8 before VCU (8-13, 2-3 CAA) won the nightcap, 10-6, in 11 innings. With the victory in game two, the Rams snapped the Panthers' 11-game winning streak.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. But with weather in the area, stay tuned to VCUAthletics.com for further updates.
Game 1: Georgia State 11, VCU 8
After VCU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Georgia State used a four-run second and three-run fourth inning to stake a 7-3 advantage. The Rams then rallied on three occasions but the Panthers answered each threat and defeated VCU, 11-8, in game one.
Cheatham went 4-for-5 with three RBI and a triple and Lenherr went 3-for-3 with three runs to pace VCU's 16-hit attack. Junior Seth Cutler-Voltz, who left the game trailing 8-6, suffered his second loss of the season, while Aidan Francis picked up the win for Georgia State improving to 4-0. Jake Dyer posted his fourth save.
VCU got on the board with a quick two-run first inning. Freshman Bill Cullen drew a leadoff walk and Lenherr was hit by a pitch with one out to put a pair of runners on. Rookie Joey Cujas then doubled over the head of right fielder Ryan Fleming and Cheatham followed with a single through the right side to make it 2-0.
Georgia State countered in the bottom of the second as Bryan Condotta lifted a grand slam over the left field fence and the Panthers went in front, 4-2.
The Rams cut the lead in half in the top of the third when Cheatham came through with his second RBI single of the game. Lenherr drew a two-out walk, Cujas blooped a single into right before Cheatham pulled VCU within 4-3.
Georgia State added three more runs in the fourth on a pair of singles, a balk and fielding error as the Panthers built a four-run advantage. But VCU kept it close in the sixth as sophomore Nick Kime and freshman Chris Ayers each drove in runs to cut the deficit to 7-5.
The Rams continued to swing the bat and eventually pulled within 7-6 after Cheatham collected another RBI-single in the seventh. However, Georgia State again had an answer to VCU's rally, scoring two more runs in the bottom of the frame on a double by designated hitter Joey Wood.
VCU left the bases loaded in the eighth and a two-run, pinch-hit homer by Carter Sackett made it an 11-6 game in the bottom of the inning.
The Rams rallied once more in their final trip to the plate as Cheatham led off with a triple and scored on a single by junior Taylor Perkins to cut the deficit to four. VCU loaded the bases and Cullen made it 11-8 with a single but the Panthers threw out freshman Landon Prentiss, who overran second base, and got junior Paul Nice to fly out to end the game.
Game 2: Georgia State 10, VCU 6 (11 innings)
VCU erased a three-run deficit to go on top 4-3 in the seventh but both teams traded runs the rest of the way and VCU scored four in the 11th inning to defeat Georgia State, 10-6, in the nightcap.
Sutherland led off the 11th inning with a double into right and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Prentiss. Cullen then walked and Nice put VCU on top 7-6 with a one-out double into left. After Lenherr was intentionally walked to load the bases, Cujas added a pair of insurance runs with a single up the middle and Perkins added another with a sacrifice fly that built a four-run cushion.
Junior Kyle Sutherland went 3-for-5 with a run and RBI, while Lenherr (pictured, left), Nice and Cheatham each collected two hits apiece. Fleming, who went 3-for-5 for Georgia State, was a single away from the cycle.
A Fleming triple, Wood single and VCU throwing error allowed Georgia State to take a 3-0 lead in the second.
After Benson issued back-to-back walks to start the third inning, VCU turned the rare triple play to get out of the frame. Williams lined a strike to Prentiss at shortstop. He then threw out both runners, who were on the move, at first and second.
Cheatham sparked a VCU rally in the top of the fifth as he doubled and scored to pull the Rams within 3-1. Georgia State third baseman Brandon Williams couldn't come up with a ground ball by Sutherland and Cheatham scored from third with one out.
Panthers' starter Charley Olson issued free passes to Cullen and Nice to start the sixth and VCU plated a pair of runs to even the score at 3-3. Lenherr singled to load the bases with no outs and Cujas lifted a sacrifice fly into center to cut the deficit to one. Then, a wild throw by Sackett on a stolen base attempt allowed Nice to come home.
VCU continued to battle back as Ayers reached on an error to start the seventh and Sutherland followed with an infield single, which chased Olson. Cullen later put VCU on top 4-3 with a RBI groundout.
The lead wouldn't last for long, however, as Georgia State tied it in the bottom of the frame. Sackett led off with a single into right and eventually scored on a VCU throwing error with two outs and the Panthers knotted the score at 4-4. Junior reliever Kyle Pelchy entered the game with the bases loaded and got Lind to ground out and preserved the tie.
The Rams once again rallied and regained the lead in the top of the eighth. Lenherr led off with a double into the right field corner and moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt from Cujas. Cheatham then hit his second triple of the day in the right center gap and the Rams went back on top. Perkins followed with single into shallow right and extended VCU's lead to 6-4.
Georgia State answered VCU's surge and tied the game again in the bottom of the inning. Fleming made it a one-run game with a leadoff homer and Wood, who reached on an error, later scored on a double play to knot it at 6-6.
Nice roped a two-out double down the left field line and Lenherr was intentionally walked a batter later but it was as close as VCU would get to scoring the go-ahead run in the ninth. Pelchy then retired three of the four batters he faced to force extra innings.