May 1, 2012

VCU POSTS 6-3 MIDWEEK VICTORY OVER VMI FOR THIRD-STRAIGHT VICTORY

LEXINGTON, Va. – The VCU Baseball team extended its winning streak to three, with a 6-3 midweek victory over host VMI on Tuesday night at Gray-Minor Stadium.

The Rams improve to 25-20 overall with the victory, while the Keydets drop to 14-31 on the year.

"It was a good game and I thought both teams played really well," said VCU associate head coach Shawn Stiffler. "Heath Dwyer gave us a solid start, before giving way to the bullpen. Bill Cullen had four hits and really carried us tonight. It was just one of those wins in which we grinded it out. We really competed for our at-bats took advantage of our opportunities. One thing I was really proud of was that every time VMI scored, we answered with a run of our own, which is the sign of a good team."

The Rams pulled ahead in the top of the third inning, as Cullen hit a solo home run over the wall in center field. The Colonial Heights, Va., native's hit streak was extended to 20-games with the home run.

The Keydets got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, as VMI's Nick Dwyer belted a one-out solo home run to center off VCU's Dwyer.

VCU regained its lead in the top of the fifth, with Cullen hitting his second home run of the game, this time to right field. Sophomore infielder Joey Cujas kick started a two-out rally, with a double down the left field line. After redshirt junior infielder Brent Mikionis drew a pitch off his arm to put runners on first and second, sophomore designated hitter Chris Ayers lined a single up the middle, which scored Cujas and put Mikionis on third. Redshirt junior outfielder Taylor Buran brought Mikionis home with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt for a single.

VMI produced its second run of the game off another home run, this time with Rob Dickinson lifting a home run over the wall in right field.

The Black & Gold added a run in the top of the sixth, after senior outfielder Paul Nice reached on a one-out hit-by pitch. Cullen followed with a single through the right side, which allowed Nice to advance to third on the play. Nice (pictured right) came home to score on an infield groundout by junior infielder Jordan Weymouth.

The Rams worked themselves out of jam in the bottom of the sixth inning, behind some slick defense from Buran in right field. With runners on first and second and two outs, VMI's Thomas Stallings lifted the ball to right field, but Buran made a sliding catch to record the third and final out.

VCU added to its lead in the top of the eighth, after Nice worked his way on with his second hit-by-pitch of the evening to get things started. Cullen roped a single through the right side to advance Nice to third, before Nice scored on an infield groundout by Weymouth.

VMI scored its third and final run of the contest, with another solo home run, this time from Matt Winn.

VCU sophomore Ryan Morrison earned the victory, his first of the season after pitching one and one-thirds innings while fanning two VMI batters. Junior Blake Hauser came on in the ninth and struck out the side, to earn his ninth save of the season.

VCU is set to return to The Diamond this Friday for the start of a weekend CAA series against Georgia State. First pitch for Friday's contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.
 
"They are a good club," added Stiffler. "They are a young team, but at this point in the season all of their guys have gained a lot of experience. We need to be ready from the get go, because this is a pivotal series for us and we need to continue to grind out wins."

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