WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University stranded 11 runners in scoring position and couldn't overcome a rainy three-run third inning in a 4-2 loss against William & Mary Friday night in the opener of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Plumeri Park.
The loss drops VCU to 15-21 overall, 7-9 in CAA play. William & Mary improves to 20-20, 10-9.
Sophomore Nick Kime (pictured, right) went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two RBI, while junior Taylor Perkins and freshmen Bill Cullen and Joey Cujas collected two hits apiece for VCU. Junior John Lenherr extended his season-long hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the seventh.
Junior Seth Cutler-Voltz suffered another tough loss on the mound, falling to 1-5. The Richmond, Va., native allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. Jay McCarthy picked up the win for William & Mary, striking out seven in six frames. Closer Brett Koehler registered his seventh save.
VCU stranded 11 of its 13 in scoring position, three times leaving runners on second and third. William & Mary stranded 11 runners in the game but just five in scoring position.
The rainy conditions played a hand in the Tribe's early lead as Tadd Bower lifted a fly ball into left field in the third but Lenherr couldn't make the catch and Ryan Lindemuth, who was part of back-to-back leadoff singles, raced home. A groundout by Jonathan Slattery gave William & Mary a two-run advantage and the Tribe eventually went on top 3-0 after a tailing double into right field by Stephen Arcure.
Cujas singled to left with one out to spark a VCU rally in the sixth. Perkins extended the inning with an infield single and Kime doubled down the left field line to pull the Rams within 3-1.
After VCU made it a two-run game, reliever Matt Davenport spelled McCarthy and struck out the first two batters he faced in the seventh. But junior Paul Nice drew a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and Lenherr put runners on the corners with an infield single a batter later. No harm was done though as Davenport got Cujas to pop up to end the frame.
Senior Michael Cheatham singled to left and Perkins was hit by a pitch as VCU placed a pair of runners on with no outs in the eighth. The Rams chased Davenport and Kime doubled off Koehler to cut the Tribe's lead to 3-2. After Koehler posted back-to-back strikeouts, Cullen was intentionally walked to load the bases but William & Mary was able to escape the jam.
The Tribe added an insurance run in the bottom of the frame when Lindemuth sent a two-out single up the middle.
VCU and William & Mary will play game two Saturday at 4 p.m. and conclude the series Sunday at 1 p.m.