CULLEN'S THREE-RUN HOME RUN PROPELS VCU PAST URI 5-2

FINAL: VCU 5 (29-10, 10-4), Rhode Island 2 (7-30, 3-11) (Kingston, R.I.) – Bill Beck Field

VCU STARTERS: Acker (RF), Bunn (LF), Cujas (3B), Machin (SS), Ayers (DH), Cullen (CF), Davis (2B), Marino (1B), Octavi (C), Blanchard (RHP)

URI STARTERS: Caputo (SS), O'Connell (C), Corin (LF), Quinn (DH), Hetzel (RF), Sherburne (CF), Lynch (1B), Taveras (3B), Warnock (2B), Sterner (LHP)

THE BASICS: Rhode Island established a 2-0 lead after the first two frames, but VCU answered with runs in the fifth and eighth to even things up at 2-2. The Rams capitalized on the newfound tie game in the ninth inning, with a three-run home run off senior Bill Cullen's bat to take its first lead of the game to give the Black and Gold a 5-2 win.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Rhode Island's Tim Caputo led off the game with a double into left field and Mike Corin followed with an RBI double down the third base line plating Caputo. The run in the bottom of the first frame gave the hosts a 1-0 edge after one.
  • A two-out single off the bat of R.J. Warnock put URI back in business in the second inning. The second baseman stole second and third to move within 90-feet of scoring. Warnock came across, scoring on an errant pickoff attempt.
  • Sophomore James Bunn collected the first VCU in the fourth inning on a triple into right field. Bunn ended the frame stranded, as the Rams bats couldn't drive him home.
  • Senior Bill Cullen used a solo home run in the top of the fifth to bring VCU within one, 2-1.
  • In the eighth senior Trevor Marino reached on a fielder's choice, advancing to second on a wild pitch all with one out. Sophomore Cody Acker hit an infield single to the shortstop putting Marino in motion. A URI throwing error allowed Marino to come home and level the game, 2-2.
  • A senior Joey Cujas base hit paired with a Rhode Island error put runners on first and second with one out in the ninth for VCU. The next hitter Cullen launched a home run over the right field wall giving the Black and Gold its first lead of the day.
  • Rhode Island went on to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth but junior Matt Lees closed the door on the home team's comeback with a 4-6-3 double play.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Starter Matt Blanchard went 5.0 innings allowing one earned run on five hits and striking out eight.
  • Junior Thomas Gill provided 3.0 innings of scoreless relief to keep the Rams in the game in the late frames.
  • Bunn's triple in the second marked the second of his career with the Black and Gold.
  • With his home run in the fifth Cullen retook the team lead in RBI (43) and tied for the top spot in long balls with Machin (3).
  • Cullen extended his RBI lead with the three-run home run in the ninth to give the Rams a 5-2 edge.
  • With a scoreless ninth, Lees recorded his fifth save of the year and the 17th of his career.
  • The two home run day for the centerfielder marked the second multiple home run game for any Black and Gold hitter this season (Machin at Richmond on April 11).
  • Acker's infield single in the eighth extended the sophomore's team best on-base streak to 28 games.
  • The win marked the 29th of the season, after winning 28 games a year the Rams now have 14 more games to increase the improvement from as season ago.

QUOTABLE

We weren't as ready to go in the first half of the baseball game as I would like us to be and their guy Ty Sterner really did a good job with his fastball not allowing us to string anything together.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

In the middle innings we were able to take advantage of a couple of their mistakes and then Bill (Cullen) was able to give us the two big swings and those home runs proved to be the difference in the game.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

Matt Blanchard and Thomas Gill were great for us today going 8.0 innings and striking out 10, only walking three guys and allowing one earned run.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

WHAT'S NEXT

  • VCU continues its series tomorrow against Rhode Island, with first pitch set for 1 p.m.
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