RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU baseball team saw its three-game winning streak come to an end on Friday night at The Diamond in first day action of the 2012 Terry Sisisky Classic, as the VMI Keydets stormed back from a 6-2 deficit to claim a 7-6 victory over the Rams.
VMI, which was playing the final games of its season, improves to 16-36 on the year. The Rams overall record now stands at 31-23 overall.
"Give VMI credit as they played hard to the end," said VCU associate head coach Shawn Stiffler. "It was just a situation where they did a good job of scoring early on and then their bullpen did a great job of shutting us down. We gave up the big five-spot in the top of the fifth and that was really disappointing."
The Keydets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first off VCU junior pitcher Kyle Haynes, with the runs coming off a two-run home run by George Piccirilli.
The Rams came right back in the bottom of the first, with three runs, all coming by way of extra-base hits. Junior infielder Jordan Weymouth laced a one-out double into left center to get things going for VCU. After sophomore infielder Joey Cujas was retired on an infield groundout, redshirt junior outfielder Taylor Buran lined a double into the gap in right center, which scored Weymouth. Sophomore designated hitter Chris Ayers followed with a two-run home run just inside the right field foul pole, for his first home run of the 2012 campaign. The home run handed the Rams a 3-2 advantage.
VCU added to its lead over the next three innings, with lone runs coming in the bottom of the second, third and fourth innings.
In the second, after reaching on a single through the right side, senior outfielder Paul Nice took two bases on an errant throw on a pickoff attempt by VMI pitcher Campbell Henkel. Nice would later come around to score on a single to center by Cujas.
Redshirt junior infielder Brent Mikionis pushed a one-out single up the middle in the bottom of the third inning to start things off. The Powhatan, Va., native took second on an infield groundout, and then came around to score on a pair of wild pitches.
VCU's final run of the contest came in the fourth inning, with Cujas leading off the frame with a single back up the middle. Cujas advanced to second on a wild pitch, before taking third on a bunt single by Buran. The Keydets again misfired on a pickoff attempt, this time trying to catch Buran off balance at first, but the throw sailed into the right field foul territory; the play allowed Cujas to score and Buran to advance all the way to third.
VMI's big inning came in the top of the fifth inning, with five runs scored in the frame. The Keydets runs came off of five hits, including a pair of doubles.
The Rams were held to just three hits over the last five innings of play, including a two-out double by freshman infielder Vimael Machin in the bottom of the ninth. Machin would end up stranded on second base following a swinging strikeout to end the game.
"Tomorrow we need to do a better job of competing throughout the whole game," added Stiffler. "I didn't feel like we competed very hard throughout the second half of tonight's game."
VCU will close out the regular season on Saturday at The Diamond, with a 2 p.m. meeting with East Carolina. Prior to tomorrow's game, the Rams will honor seniors Nick Abrahamson, Josh Alford, Seth Cutler-Voltz, Michael Graham, Nice, Kyle Pelchy, Taylor Perkins , Chris Shaklee and Kyle Sutherland.