HARRISONBURG, Va. – The VCU Baseball team opened up the Virginia 529 CAA Baseball Championship with an 11-7 victory over George Mason on Wednesday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park.
Despite sitting through a four-hour rain delay prior to the bottom of the fourth inning, the fifth-seeded Rams captured the victory to improve their record 33-23 on the year. No. 4 seed George Mason falls to 33-23.
VCU is scheduled to play top-seed UNCW on Thursday, at 1:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.
"It was a great game after a rough day, between the weather delay and the fact that it felt like we played a shortened game," said VCU associate head coach Shawn Stiffler. "Hats off to George Mason, they have a fabulous team, and I have a feeling that we definitely see them again in this tournament. Any time you can stay in the winner's bracket in tournament play is huge, and I was really proud of our guys for going out there and getting the win; we showed a lot of resiliency today."
The Rams pulled ahead in the top of the first inning, pushing across a pair of runs in the frame. After sophomore outfielder Bill Cullen drew a leadoff walk, junior infielder Jordan Weymouth belted a two-run home run over the wall in right center.
The Patriots knotted things up at 2-2 in the bottom of the third inning, scoring the runs off VCU junior pitcher Ryan Farrar.
After a scoreless top of the fourth, the Rams took the field for the bottom half of the inning, before play was halted due thunderstorms in the Harrisonburg area. VCU and George Mason would sit through a four-hour rain delay, before restarting play at 6 p.m.
George Mason took its first lead shortly after the delay, as Chris Cook hit a solo home run over the right field wall off senior pitcher Seth Cutler-Voltz.
The game turned into a back-and-forth affair over the next inning and a half, as the teams traded the lead three times.
VCU manufactured two runs in the top of the fifth, as sophomore infielder Joey Cujas dropped a one-out double into right center. After the Patriots recorded the second out via a strikeout, sophomore designated hitter Chris Ayers roped a double off the center field wall, which scored Cujas. Freshman infielder Vimael Machin plated Ayers, with a single to center.
George Mason pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, to gain a 5-4 advantage of the Rams.
The Rams regained the lead in the top of the sixth inning, a lead they would not surrender the rest of the way, with three runs in the frame. Seniors Nick Abrahamson and Paul Nice led off the inning with back-to-back singles to the outfield, before advancing into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Cullen. Weymouth (pictured right) followed with a single to center field, which was misplayed by the center fielder, which allowed Weymouth to clear the bases and score on the play.
VCU tacked on four more runs in the top of the ninth inning, including a three-run home run to left center by Cullen.
Cutler-Voltz came back out for the ninth inning and allowed a pair of George Mason runs. The Richmond, Va., native earned the victory for VCU, pitching six innings out of the bullpen and fanning three Mason batters.
Weymouth led the Rams offensively, going 2-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBI.