Rams Snap Season-Long Five-game Losing Streak; Beat Charlotte 5-2 in Series Opener
FINAL: (Charlotte, N.C. – Robert and Myriam Hayes Stadium)
VCU STARTERS: Cullen (CF), Bunn (LF), Cujas (3B), Machin (SS), Buran (RF), Mikionis (1B), Weymouth (2B), Acker (DH), Octavi (C), Dwyer (P)
CHARLOTTE STARTERS: Roland (SS), Green (CF), Basen (3B), Seager (LF), Elwood (2B), Lang (1B), Elseser (RF), Montalbano (DH), Raley (C), Barnette (P)
THE BASICS: VCU snapped a season-long five-game losing streak, with a 5-2 victory over Charlotte in the opening game of Atlantic 10 series on Friday night. The win was VCU's first-ever Atlantic 10 victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- VCU (13-10, 1-3 Atlantic 10) started the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Junior Bill Cullen led off the game with a single into left field, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman James Bunn. Cullen later advanced to third on a wild pitch. Junior Joey Cujas then grounded out to third, allowing Cullen to score and giving VCU a 1-0 lead.
- In the top of the third inning, Cujas led off the inning with walk advancing to second on a two-out single by senior Taylor Buran. The next batter, senior Brent Mikionis doubled off the left field wall scoring both Cujas and Buran and giving VCU a 3-0 advantage.
- The Rams added two more runs in their half of the sixth inning. Bunn started the rally with a bunt single, advancing to second when sophomore Vimael Machin was hit by a pitch. With two-outs Mikionis reached on an infield single, loading the bases. The next batter, senior Jordan Weymouth grounded out hard to second base, but it was misplayed, allowing Bunn and Machin to score, giving VCU a 5-0 lead.
- Charlotte (16-9, 2-2) got on the board for the first time in the bottom of the sixth inning. Shane Basen reached on an error advancing to third on two groundouts. With two-outs Basen came around to score a wild pitch, making the score 5-1 in favor of VCU.
- The 49ers added one more in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs Michael Green doubled advancing to third on a wild pitch. The next batter, Basen roped an infield single, plating Green and cutting the VCU lead to 5-2.
- Sophomore Heath Dwyer threw eight innings, scattering five hits, striking out six while only allowing one earned run. Classmate Matt Lees came on to close the game in the ninth for the Rams, picking up two strikeouts.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- With the win, VCU snapped a season-long five game losing streak and won its first ever A-10 conference game.
- Cujas, who went 1-for-3, reached base safely for the 11th straight game.
- Mikionis recorded his eighth and ninth RBIs with his two-out double in the fourth inning. He finished the day 2-for-4.
- Cullen also picked up two hits for the Rams, it was the seventh time he's had a multi-hit day for VCU.
- Dwyer picked up his fourth victory of the season, improving to 4-3 on the season.
- Lees was credited with his seventh save of the season. With the save, he moves into a tie for 10th place all-time at VCU with nine career saves.
"It is always good to get the first game of series, especially on the road. It was a well played game and both pitchers threw extremely well. Offensively we did a very good job at continuing to compete for our at-bats. Brent Mikionis had the big double in the fourth inning to get us going. Charlotte is well coached and we are going to have to come out and play well to win the series tomorrow."
- Head Coach Shawn Stiffler on the win
"Heath Dywer pitched great and made a lot of big pitches for us. The big thing for him was he was in the zone, throwing 70-percent strikes."
- Stiffler on Heath Dywer's performance
VCU and Charlotte will now play a doubleheader tomorrow, March 30, starting at 2 p.m. at Robert and Myriam Hayes Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.