Dwyer, Lees Combine to Shutout Saint Joseph's, 1-0
FINAL: VCU 1, Saint Joseph's 0 (The Diamond - Richmond, Va.)
VCU STARTERS: Cullen (CF), Weymouth (2B), Cujas (3B), Ayers (C), Machin (SS), Buran (RF), Prentiss (DH), Marino (1B), Bunn (LF), Dwyer (P)
SAINT JOSEPH'S STARTERS: Forgey (CF), Renner (2B), Kumpel (RF), O'Keefe (C), Hueth (LF), Kancylarz (3B), Judge (DH), Cirillo (SS), Muha (1B), Mullen (P)
THE BASICS: VCU sophomores Heath Dwyer and Matt Lees blanked Saint Joseph's 1-0 in the first of a three game non-conference series in VCU's home opener on Friday. The Rams scored a run in the first inning on an RBI single by junior Joey Cujas.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- After Dwyer retired Saint Joseph's in order in the top of the first, the Rams went to work in their half of the first. Junior Bill Cullen led the inning off with a double to center field. After senior Jordan Weymouth was hit by a pitch, junior Joey Cujas belted a single to left field to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
- VCU (3-0) continued to threaten in the first,with a single by junior Chris Ayers, but had a runner thrown out at home plate
- Saint Joseph's (2-2) first chance came in the top of the sixth inning. Anthony Cirillo led off with a single, advancing to second on a wild pitch. After a fly out and a strikeout, Quinn Renner singled to put runners on the corners, but Dwyer was able to get the final out unscathed.
- The Hawks also threatened in the top of the eighth inning. Again Cirillo started the rally with a single advancing to second on a wild pitch and later to third on a stolen base. However, Lees struck out the side to end SJU's threat.
- After surrendering a run in the first inning, Kyle Mullen settled down to throw seven strong innings, and only allowed three hits after the first inning.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- VCU improved to 3-0 on the year for the first time since the 2006 campaign.
- The victory also was the Rams third straight home opening victory. The Rams have won seven of their last eight home openers.
- Through the first three games, VCU has not trailed at all and have only been tied for a total of three innings.
- Bunn had his second two hit game of the season, finishing two-for-three.
- Cullen also recorded his first multi-hit game of the year (2-for-4).
- Dwyer recorded six strikeouts while allowing just three hits. He picked up his second victory of season.
- Lees pitched the final two innings allowing one infield hit to earn his second save of the season. Through seven innings, Lees has only allowed two hits, striking out nine batters, and has retired 21-of-23 batters he's faced.
- The shutout was VCU's first since April 29, 2012. VCU pitchers Kyle Haynes, Kyle Pelchy and Blake Hauser combined to blank Old Dominion 3-0.
"It is good to start the home opener off with a win. We played well and itwas a very well pitched game. Heath Dwyer was very good for us tonight and Matt Lees was steady for us at the end. That's a Friday night game and I told the guys you are going to win those games 2-1, 3-2. It comes down to little things, and little mistakes and fortunately tonight we avoid those things to earn the win. They're a very good, veteran team and if we continue to pitch well and play good defense we are going to win a lot games."
-Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the win
"Kyle Mullen showed why he was Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year last year. He can really throw his fastball for strikes and has confidence throwing is breaking ball down in the count."
-Coach Stiffler on SJU's Kyle Mullen
"He has been good for us early on and the thing about it is we are going to have to work hard to keep [Lees] fresh. He is a warrior out there and he prepared himself for this spot at the end of last year. He is as steady as they come."
-Coach Stiffler on Matt Lees
"I have just been trying to keep the ball down and pitch to my strengths. I have been able to rely on the defense which is really important. I can trust them wherever I throw it and wherever they hit it my defense is going to be able to make the play."
-Sophomore Heath Dwyer
The Rams and Hawks continue their three game series at The Diamond tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. and conclude the series Sunday Feb. 23 at 1 p.m.