March 19, 2013

Acker's Walk-Off Single Lifts VCU over Rutgers, 4-3

FINAL: VCU 4, Rutgers 3 (10 innings) (Richmond, Va. – The Diamond)

VCU STARTERS: Bunn (LF), Machin (SS), Cujas (3B), Ayers (C), Buran (RF), Prentiss (DH), Weymouth (2B), Marino (1B), Acker (RF), Thomas (P)

RUTGERS STARTERS:  Tietz (3B), Favatella (2B), O'Grady (CF), Melillo (C), Zavala (RF), Zarrillo (LF), Costello (DH), Hoermann (1B), Sweeney (SS), Law (P)

THE BASICS: Freshman Cody Acker (pictured right) hit a walk-off single to left-center-field to give VCU a 4-3 victory over Rutgers on Tuesday night at The Diamond. Sophomore Matt Lees threw the final three innings to earn his first win of the season.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Rutgers (5-10) plated a run in the top of the first inning. Matt Tietz led off the game with a single and moved to second on a groundout. Brain O'Grady doubled to right field scoring Tietz and giving the Scarlet Knights a 1-0 lead.
  • VCU (12-5) answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman James Bunn led off the inning with a single then advanced to third on a one-out single from junior Joey Cujas.  Junior Chris Ayers singled to right field scoring Bunn and moving Cujas to third. The next batter, senior Taylor Buran grounded out to short, scoring Cujas putting VCU up 2-1.
  • The Scarlet Knights tacked on two more runs in the top of the second inning. Vinny Zarillo led off the inning with a single and scored on a one-out RBI double from Bill Hoermann. After a walk, Tietz doubled scoring Hoermann, breaking the tie and putting Rutgers on top 3-2.
  • The Rams got back-to-back singles from Cujas and Ayers to start the fifth inning, but the next two men were retired. With two outs, senior Jordan Weymouth grounded out, but the throw was wide at second base, allowing Cujas to score and tying the game 3-3.
  • VCU and Rutgers remained deadlocked at 3-3 until the bottom of the 10th inning. Weymouth led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on sacrifice bunt by junior Trevor Marino. With one-out, Acker lifted the first pitch of the at-bat to left-center-field scoring Weymouth, securing the Rams 4-3 victory.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Lees threw three innings, scattering four hits and striking out two. The Richmond, Va. native has thrown 19.1 innings of scoreless baseball this season.
  • Junior Seth Greene pitched 3.2 innings of relief of starting pitcher Michael Thomas. Greene allowed only one hit, while fanning three batters. Greene or Thomas did not factor in the final decision.
  • VCU had combined seven hits from their three and four hitters, Cujas (4-for-4) and Ayers (3-for-3).
  • Cujas' four-hit performance was tied for the most hits by a Ram in a single season. Junior Bill Cullen also recorded four hits against UNCW on March 9.
  • Acker's game-winning-RBI was the first RBI of his career.
  • It was the Rams' first extra inning game since a 4-3 loss to William and Mary on April 20, 2012.
  • VCU has now outscored its opponents 13-3 in the first of games

QUOTABLE

"It felt good to get that one tonight. To be honest with you, we needed to get a win in that type of fashion. We made some great pitches in the back end of the game and had a terrific defensive play by Cujas to save the tie at the time. We had some very clutch hits in the ninth and 10th inning, and we were finally able to win it in the 10th."
- Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the win

"I thought it showed maturity from Cody Acker coming up and even though he didn't have any hits today going into the at-bat, he stayed confident and was able to get a hit off of a very good left-handed pitcher.
- Stiffler on Acker's hit

"It feels great. I had a couple of bad at-bats before, but I never doubted myself when the situation came into my hands. I knew I could get the job done somehow and thankfully I got a good pitch to hit and hit the ball in the gap to score [Weymouth]. It is definitely a moment I'll never forget."
- Freshman Cody Acker on the game-winning single

WHAT'S AHEAD
VCU and Rutgers conclude their two-game series tomorrow, March 20, at The Diamond. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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