Rams Win First-Ever Key Dog Strikeout Cancer Classic, 5-4 over Old Dominion

FINAL: VCU 5, Old Dominion 4 (Hampton, Va. – War Memorial Stadium)

VCU STARTERS: Cullen (CF), Machin (SS), Cujas (3B), Ayers (C), Buran (RF), Mikionis (1B), Prentiss (RF), Weymouth (2B), Malan (DH), Black (P)

OLD DOMINION STARTERS: Verlander (RF), Eldridge(LF), Slaton (DH), Burney (1B), McGowan (2B), Nergrini (3B), Perez (C), Urps (SS), Myers (CF), Josephs (P)

THE BASICS: VCU held off a ninth inning rally by Old Dominion and won the first-ever Key Dog Strikeout Cancer Classic, 5-4, at War Memorial Stadium in Hampton, Va. on Tuesday night.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Old Dominion (21-19) scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second inning. Jordan Nergrini reached on a fielder's choice, advancing to second on a stolen base. With two-outs, Micahel Perez roped a double down the left field line, scoring Nergini, giving ODU a 1-0 lead.
  • VCU (20-19) responded with two-runs in the top of the third inning. Redshirt junior Robert Malan led off the inning with a walk. The next batter, junior Bill Cullen singled up the middle putting runners on first and second. Junior Joey Cujas singled into center field, scoring both runners, giving VCU a 2-1 advantage.
  • The Black and Gold added another run in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, junior Landon Prentiss singled starting the rally. Senior Jordan Weymouth followed with an RBI double, putting VCU on top 3-1.
  • Old Dominion responded for a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Monarchs had runners on first and second when Austin McGowan hit into a double play. The next batter, Nergrini doubled to deep center field, scoring McGowan, cutting the lead to 3-2.
  • The Monarchs tied the score in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ben Verlander reached second on a two-base error with a one out. Josh Elridge followed with a single back up the middle, plating Verlander, tying the score 3-3.
  • VCU retook the lead in the top of the seventh inning. With one out, Machin was hit by a pitch. The next batter, Cujas belted a homerun over the left field wall giving, the Rams a 5-4 lead.
  •  Old Dominion threatened in the bottom of the ninth inning. With one-out Perez doubled to center field. The next batter, Tyler Urps was hit by a pitch putting runners on first and second. Connor Myers hit a ground ball back to the pitcher, but the Rams were only able to get Urps at second, putting runners on the corners, with two outs. Verlander then hit an infield single, scoring Perez and cutting the lead to one. However, VCU sophomore closer Matt Lees was able to get the final out of the game to secure the 5-4 win.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Cujas hit his first homerun of the season in the seventh inning. With four RBIs tonight, Cujas now has a team-high 31 runs driven in.
  • Junior Seth Greene threw 3.1 innings, allowing just two hits and an unearned run to earn the win.
  • Lees threw the final two innings for the Rams, earning his eighth save of the season. He is now tied for eighth all-time on the single-season and career (10) saves list.
  • Weymouth had the Rams other RBI. He now has eight for the season.
  • With the win, VCU imporves to 4-0 in games played on a neutral field.

QUOTABLE
"It was special to pick up the victory in the first-ever Key Dog Classic. I can't say enough about the Peninsula Pilots, Old Dominion University and the VCU Athletic department, who all played a part in putting on this fabulous event. As far as the game goes, we swung the bat well and competed hard all night. Joey Cujas had the big blast in the seventh inning and gave us the lead to hold and we were able to."
-Coach Stiffler on the win

WHAT'S AHEAD
VCU concludes its seven-game road trip in Philadelphia, Pa. against La Salle starting on Friday, April 26 at 3 p.m. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Rams and Explorers.

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