WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – William & Mary erased an early two-run deficit with four runs in the third and four more in the sixth en route to a 8-3 victory against Virginia Commonwealth University Saturday evening in game two of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Plumeri Park.
VCU, which has lost three of its last four CAA series, slips to 15-22 overall with a 7-10 mark in league play. William & Mary picks up its fifth conference series win of the season, improving to 21-20, 11-9. The Rams have played their share of close games in league play this year as Saturday's loss was just the second CAA setback by more than three runs.
Freshman Joey Cujas went 3-for-4 to pace the Rams offensively. Junior John Lenherr's season-long 12-game hitting streak was snapped. Ryan Williams and Tad Bower collected a pair of key home runs for William & Mary.
The third inning hasn't been friendly to VCU in the series as the Tribe used a three-run third to beat the Rams in Friday's 4-2 effort and plated four in a decisive third frame of today's game.
Sophomore starter Kyle Haynes escaped a first-inning jam and VCU used a two-run second inning to take an early lead. Junior Taylor Perkins lined a one-out single into right field but Derek Lowe misplayed the hop and Perkins took third after the two-base error. Sophomore Nick Kime followed with a RBI groundout to put the Rams on the board and freshman Chris Ayers later singled to center to make it 2-0.
After making quick work of the first two Tribe batters in the third, Haynes ran into trouble again issuing a trio of free passes to load the bases. Haynes tried to pick off Slattery at second but the throw was off the mark and Bower scored from third to cut the lead in half. Williams then drilled a three-run homer to put William & Mary on top 4-2.
Kime doubled, Cujas singled and junior Kyle Sutherland was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out in the fourth but VCU, which left 11 runners in scoring position in Friday's opener, couldn't scratch a run as Tribe starter Logan Billbrough escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
William & Mary later used a four-run sixth to push its lead to 8-2. A pair of VCU errors and two-run homer by Bower gave the Tribe a six-run advantage.
Cujas singled and scored on a two-out double by freshman Bill Cullen in the ninth to pull the Rams within 8-3.
Haynes took the loss, allowing four runs in three innings while Billbrough recorded the win after allowing just two runs in seven frames.
VCU and William & Mary conclude the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m.