RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University plated runs in seven different innings and used a balanced attack to defeat cross-town rival University of Richmond, 9-4, Tuesday night at The Diamond. With the victory, VCU evened the season series at a game apiece.
VCU snaps a three-game losing skid and improves to 19-28 on the year. Richmond falls to 23-22-2.
Senior Michael Caddell (pictured, right) had his best day as a Ram finishing 3-for-3 with a triple, a walk and a run, while senior John Lenherr and freshman Chris Ayers each posted two hits. Freshman Bill Cullen collected a game-high three RBI.
Brian Conway went 3-for-4 to pace Richmond's offense.
Sophomore Blake Hauser allowed two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to pick up his third straight win on the mound. Jacob Mayers, who made his first start since missing 28 games with a hand injury, suffered his second loss of the season surrendering four runs (two earned) with five walks in three innings.
Back-to-back one-out doubles by JB Gadd and Mike Mergenthaler gave Richmond a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. But Mayers struggled to find the zone early and VCU was able to take advantage in the bottom of the frame. He walked the first two batters he faced, throwing 10-straight balls, before getting freshman Joey Cujas to chase. A sacrifice fly by senior Michael Cheatham then evened the score at 1-1.
Cullen drove in a pair with a double down the right field line to give the Rams a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second. Perkins drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a throwing error by Richmond shortstop Gadd, who was trying to turn a double play. A groundout by junior Kyle Sutherland moved the runners over and Caddell walked to load the bases. Cullen then lifted a ball into the right field corner to give VCU the lead for good.
Richmond got a run back and pulled within 3-2 in the fourth after Phil Ruzbarsky walked and scored on a double by Bryan Conway. However, VCU plated two more in the fifth to build a four-run advantage. Lenherr singled and scored on a base hit by Ayers, who later came home on a throwing error by Mergenthaler after Sutherland lifted a hit into right field.
The Spiders had a pair of runners on with two outs in the sixth when Hauser exited the game. Sophomore reliever Brennan Huelse hit Adam Forrer to load the bases but got Derek Bolick to fly out to end the threat. Cujas, who reached on a fielding error by Forrer in the bottom of the frame, scored on a wild pitch to extend the Rams' lead to 7-2.
Caddell lifted a one-out triple into the left field corner and freshman Landon Prentiss, who pinch ran for Caddell, scored on a sacrifice fly by Cullen to give VCU an 8-2 lead in the seventh.
Richmond added a run in the eighth to pull within 8-3 but Cheatham scored on a triple by Lenherr to make it a six-run game in the home half of the inning.
Gadd drew a leadoff walk and scored on a single by Mayers to pull the Spiders within 9-4 in the ninth.
VCU returns to Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend with a three-game home series against Hofstra, beginning Thursday, May 12 at 11:30 a.m. The Rams and Pride are slated for an 11:30 a.m. start time on Friday and conclude the series Saturday at 11 a.m. It's VCU's final home series of the season.