March 5, 2013

Rams Pickup Ninth Straight Victory Over George Mason, 4-2

FINAL: VCU 4, George Mason 2 – (Richmond, Va. – The Diamond)

VCU STARTERS: Cullen (CF), Bunn (LF), Cujas (3B), Ayers (DH), Machin (SS), Mikionis (1B), Haymaker (C), Weymouth (2B), Acker (RF), Marino (P)

GEORGE MASON STARTERS: Allen (CF), Vitaletti (RF), Satherlie (DH), Tobin (1B), Fernandez (3B), Leemhuis (LF), Evans (2B), Esposito (C), Gum (SS), Love (P)

THE BASICS: VCU racked up 11 hits and used a strong performance from its pitching staff to beat George Mason 4-2 at the Diamond on Tuesday. The Rams remain unbeaten (9-0) and stay on pace for the best start in school history (11-0 in 1989).

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • VCU scored in the first inning for the seventh time in nine games. Junior Bill Cullen led off the game with a double to right field and moved to third on an infield single from freshman James Bunn. With runners on the corners, junior Joey Cujas doubled home Cullen and gave VCU a 1-0 advantage.
  • The Rams added two more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Cullen led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a single from Bunn. The Black and Gold loaded the bases on an infield single from Cujas. Ayers followed with a sacrifice fly to score Cullen. Sophomore Vimael Machin followed with an RBI single to plate Bunn and give VCU a 3-0 lead.
  • George Mason (6-5) cut into the VCU in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Duncan Satherlie  singled and advanced to second on a errant pickoff attempt. The next batter, Tucker Tobin doubled to score Satherlie and cut the Rams lead to 3-1.
  • VCU added one more in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, freshman Cody Acker singled and advanced to second with a stolen base. After an out, Bunn delivered a RBI single to give the Rams a 4-1 advantage.
  • Mason posted their biggest rally in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs, Tommy Vitaletti doubled and scored on an single from Satherlie. Mason loaded the bases, but sophomore Matt Lees came in and got the final out of the inning and kept the score 4-2 in favor of VCU. Lees retired the side in the ninth to earn the save.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

  • VCU improves to 9-0 on the year and is one of eight teams that is still undefeated in the country. The Rams also stayed on pace for the best start and school history (11-0 in 1989).
  • The Rams pushed their winning streak to nine games for first time since 2004.
  • Junior Trevor Marino, made his first start of his VCU career, threw three innings, didn't allow a hit, struck out four, and walked one. He picked up his first career victory.
  • Lees got the final four outs of the game and picked up his sixth save of the season and eighth of his career.
  • With his RBI in the bottom of the third inning, Machin now has 10 RBIs over his last four games.
  • Freshmen Michael Thomas and Hunter Absher combined to throw four innings and allowed just three hits and a run.

QUOTABLE

"That was a classic mid-week game. There were 12 pitchers used between the two teams and that is what you are going to see during mid-week games. I thought that our younger guys took advantage of their opportunity to play today. Cody Acker had a big hit in the last third of the game and James Bunn came through with three hits."
-Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the win

"We need to continue to take advantage of opportunities throughout the game.  I thought we came out and swung the bats well in the first few innings, but then we got complacent in the middle innings. We have to stay aggressive and continue to put pressure on teams throughout the entire game."
-Stiffler on improvements

WHAT'S AHEAD
The Rams hit the road for a three-game series with UNCW starting on Friday, March 8. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

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