March 3, 2013

Rams Remain Unbeaten with 6-4 Victory Over Pitt

FINAL: VCU 6, Pittsburgh 4 – (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), Haymaker (C), Weymouth (2B), Marino (1B), Farrar (P)

PITT STARTERS: Vranka (CF), Oswald (SS), Roche (RF), Parente (3B), Soto (C), Shelinsky (1B), Lipari (DH), Lardo (LF), Sucre (2B), Aldenhoven (P)

THE BASICS: VCU held off a three-run ninth inning rally by Pittsburgh and moved to 8-0 on the season with a 6-4 victory over the Panthers in the Charleston Crab House Shootout presented by Homewood Suites. Senior Ryan Farrar threw 8.2 innings and set a career-high with 11 strikeouts.  

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Pittsburgh (5-4) scored the game's first run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Stephen Vranka singled to start the inning. He advanced to second on a sac bunt, and then moved to third on fly ball to center. With two outs, Vranka was able to score on a wild pitch and give the Panthers a 1-0.
  • VCU (8-0) tied the game up in the top of the sixth inning. Junior Bill Cullen led off the inning with a triple to start the Rams' rally. After an out, classmate Joey Cujas delivered a RBI single back up the middle tying the score 1-1.
  • In the top of seventh the Rams added another run. Senior Jordan Weymouth led off the inning with a double off of the left center field wall. After a sacrifice bunt by Trevor Marino, Weymouth advanced to third. Cullen drove in Weymouth with a RBI single to right field giving VCU a 2-1 advantage.
  • Weymouth pushed the Rams' lead to 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning with a solo homerun over the left centerfield wall.
  • In the top of the ninth inning, VCU added a three more insurances runs. Freshman James Bunn and Cujas each reached on walks to start the inning. Junior Chris Ayers laid down a sacrifice bunt moving the runners up. Sophomore Vimael Machin then roped a 3-run homerun over the left field wall extending VCU's lead to 6-1.
  • Pittsburgh made it interesting in the top of the ninth inning. After a fly out, Casey Roche and Sam Parente walked putting runners on first and second. Following a strikeout, Steve Shelinski battled and delivered a homerun to straight away center cutting the lead to 6-4. Sophomore Matt Lees came in and surrendered hits to Boo Vazquez and Eric Hess putting runners on at second and third. A 1-0 pitch got away from freshman catcher Walker Haymaker, but bounced right back to him off of the backstop and he fired to Lees to get Vazquez before he scored, ending the game.
  • Farrar threw 8.2 innings and allowed only three hits and  just seven base runners. He set a new career-high with 11 strikeouts.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • VCU is one of six schools in the country that are still unbeaten, and are still on pace for the best start in school history.
  • Machin belted his second homerun of the season and fourth of his career for the Rams in the ninth inning.
  • Weymouth's homer was his first of the season and third of his career.
  • Cullen's triple was his first of the year and 14th of his career. He is four triples away from tying VCU's all-time leader Erik Suave (18). The Colonial Heights, Va. native also had three hits on the day.
  • Farrar picked up his third win of the season. With his 11 strikeouts, he now has 22 on the season.
  • Lees came on and earned his fifth save of the season and seventh of his career.

QUOTABLE
"That was a great ending to a great weekend. Our guys did a fabulous job this weekend and today we were led by our upperclassmen."
- Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the win

"I thought Ryan Farrar was terrific. He went 8.2 innings and gave up four hits and a wind-blown homerun, but that wasn't indicative of the way he threw. He is our senior leader and did a great job for us today."
-Stiffler on Farrar

"I couldn't be prouder of the guys and the coaches for the way we started off this season. I am looking forward to getting back to  and getting better over spring break. We still have stuff to improve on and have two tough tests in Mason and Wilmington next week."
-Stiffler on the start to the year

WHAT'S AHEAD
The Rams return to The Diamond on Tuesday, March 5 to play in-state rival George Mason. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

 
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