March 2, 2013

Machin, Lees Lead VCU over the Citadel, 11-6

FINAL: VCU 11, Citadel 6 (Charleston Crab House Shootout presented by Homewood Suites – Charleston, S.C.)

VCU STARTERS: Cullen (CF), Bunn (LF), Cujas (3B), Ayers (DH), Machin (SS), Prentiss (RF), Marino (1B), Octavi (C), Crimi (2B), Buckley (P)

CITADEL STARTERS: Davis (2B), DeKerlegand (LF), Jackson (C), Thompson (1B), Griffin (RF), Stokes (SS), Smith (DH), Rush (3B), Armstrong (CF), Reeves (P)

THE BASICS: Junior Vimael Machin had a five-RBI and sophomore Matt Lees threw 3.1 scoreless innings to earn the save as VCU held off the Citadel, 11-6. The Rams won their seventh straight game to open the 2013 season.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • VCU (7-0) again scored in the first inning on Saturday night. Junior Bill Cullen, for the second day in a row, led-off the game with a homerun to left field giving VCU a 1-0 lead. Freshman James Bunn followed with a single and junior Chris Ayers reached on walk to put runners on first and second. Machin followed with a one-out RBI single putting VCU up 2-0.
  • The Rams added two more runs in their half of the third inning. Ayers reached on an error to start the inning and Machin was hit by a pitch putting runners on first and second. Junior Landon Prentiss followed with a RBI single to plate Ayers putting VCU on top 3-0. After loading the bases, junior Tom Crimi was hit by a pitch earning a RBI and giving the Rams a 4-0 advantage.
  • The Citadel (5-5) responded with a run in the bottom of the third inning. After loading the bases with two outs, Mason Davis came around on a balk, making the score 4-1.
  • Again in the bottom of the fifth the Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs. This time, Joe Jackson was hit by a pitch to score the run, cutting the Rams lead in half at 4-2.
  • The game remained scoreless until the top of the sixth inning. Cullen led off by drawing a walk and Bunn reached on a bunt single, however, the throw got away from the first baseman allowing both Cullen and Bunn to reach third and second, respectively. With an out, Ayers walked to load the bases. Machin then belted a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall for a grand-slam putting VCU on top 8-2.
  • Citadel came storming back in their half of the sixth. The Bulldogs again loaded the bases with two outs.  Tyler Griffin was hit by a pitch to make the score 8-3. Jonathan Strokes came up next, and singled to third base allowing a run to score and cut VCU's lead in half at 8-4. Jason Smith followed suite with a single to center bringing home two runs and making the score 8-6.
  • VCU added three runs in the final two innings to extend their lead to 11-6. The Rams scored a run on an error in the top of the eighth, before scoring two in the ninth on RBI's from junior Joey Cujas and Ayers.
  • Junior Tyler Buckley pitched five strong innings for the Rams in the start. He allowed two runs while striking out four, and earned his first win for VCU.
  • Lees came on in the bottom of the sixth to end the Citadel rally and went on the pitch the seventh, eighth and ninth to earn the save.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • VCU's seven-game win streak is the longest win streak since the 2006 season. That year, the Rams won eight in a row.
  • The victory, also kept VCU on track with the best start in school history (11-0 in 1989).
  • VCU scored in the first inning again today and now have outscored opponents 11-0 in the first. The Rams have at least one run in the first inning in six-of-seven games.
  • The Black and Gold did not trail again on Saturday night. VCU has led or been tied in all 63 innings this season.
  • Cullen homered for the second time this season in the first, while Machin's grand-slam was his first homwe of the season.
  • Machin recorded five RBI's, a career-high, and the most by a Ram this year.
  • Four Rams finished with multi-hit games (Cullen, Bunn, Machin and Prentiss).
  • Lees recorded his fourth save of the season and sixth of his career.

QUOTABLE

"That was a wild one, but it was a total team effort. We did a good job taking advantage of their errors and were able to score runs because of them. Defensively, another errorless game for us and if we continue to do that we have a chance to win a lot of games."
- Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the win

"Vimael had the big blast and had a great night for us. I thought the homerun really got us going."
- Stiffler on Machin's grand-slam

"Tyler Buckley was good and gave us a solid start. Matt Lees came in and shut the door and was very dynamic for us at the end of the game."
- Stiffler on the pitching staff

"We also gave them runs in the middle of the game. We have to do a better job of expanding our leads and we need to win the shutdown innings. When we score four, if we are going to be a great team we have to go out and have a shutdown inning after that."
- Stiffler on improvements

WHAT'S AHEAD
VCU concludes the Charleston Crab House Shootout presented by Homewood Suites tomorrow, Sunday, March 2, against Pittsburgh. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.

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