RAMS DROP HOME FINALE AGAINST HOFSTRA, 9-4

RICHMOND, Va. – After Virginia Commonwealth University rallied with three runs in the bottom of the first, Hofstra University plated six unanswered over the next two frames and held on to defeat the Rams 9-4 in the finale of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series Saturday morning at The Diamond.

VCU, which won the first two games of the series, slips to 21-29 overall with an 11-16 mark in CAA play.  Hofstra, which picked up just its second win in the last 11 games, improves to 13-31, 10-17.

Eight different Rams recorded a hit with five players collecting two apiece.  Freshman Joey Cujas went 2-for-3 with a run and two walks, while classmates Bill Cullen and Chris Ayers, junior Kyle Sutherland and senior Michael Caddell posted multiple hits for VCU.  Seniors Michael Cheatham and John Lenherr, and junior Taylor Perkins each drove in runs.

Jared Hammer paced Hofstra going 2-for-5 with three RBI.  Dylan Nasiatka and Danny Poma also tallied a pair of hits for the Pride.

Jared Rogers (1-4) picked up his first win of the season on the mound, allowing four runs (three earned) on 10 hits in six innings.  Reliever Jeff Guthridge tossed the final three scoreless frames to post his fourth save.  VCU starter David Benson fell to 4-4 after surrendering eight runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Hofstra used a three-run first to take an early lead.  Nasiatka led off the game with a single up the middle and Matt Reistetter followed with a walk.  Hammer doubled into deep right two batters later, which gave Hofstra a two-run advantage.  Then a throwing error by Benson allowed Hammer to score to make it 3-0.

The Rams came out swinging in the bottom of the first and got all three runs back.  Base hits by Cullen and Cujas put runners on with one out before Cheatham lined a single up the middle to put VCU on the board.  A sacrifice fly by Lenherr and a two-out hit by Perkins tied it at 3-3. 

However, the Pride sent 10 batters to the plate and used a five-run third to pull ahead 8-3.  Logan Davis, Matt Ford and Nasiatka each drove in runs with singles as Hofstra took advantage of three walks and four hits during the frame.

Poma led off the fourth with a triple into center field as Cullen lost his footing on the wet grass and scored a batter later when Hammer grounded out to extend Hofstra's lead to six runs.

VCU got a run back in sixth to pull within 9-4 but it was as close as the Rams would get the rest of the way.  Ayers doubled into right with one out and later scored on a fielding error by Pride second baseman Davis.

The Rams stranded a runner at third base in each of the final three innings of the game.

VCU travels to Liberty on Tuesday, May 17 at 3 p.m., for its final mid-week matchup.  The Rams conclude the regular season with a three-game series at UNC Wilmington May 19-21.

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