May 22, 2014

VCU ADVANCES TO WINNER'S BRACKET FINAL WITH 9-4 WIN

 

FINAL: No. 4 VCU 9 (36-18), No. 1 Saint Louis (32-20-1) (St. Louis) – Billiken Sports Complex

VCU STARTERS: Acker (RF), Cujas (3B), Machin (SS), Ayers (C), Cullen (CF), Bunn (LF), Farrar (DH), Marino (1B), Davis (2B); Howie (LHP)

SAINT LOUIS STARTERS: Brennan (CF), Solé (SS), Vigliarolo (1B), Martinez (3B), Murphy (RF), Bozarth (LF), Curtis (DH), Henson (C), Cusenza (2B); Norwood (RHP) 

THE BASICS: VCU racked up six runs in innings three through five to take a 6-1 edge. A lead that proved to be too much for top seeded Saint Louis as the Rams coasted to a 9-4 win over the Billikens.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • With runners on first and second in the bottom of the first inning VCU used a 5-4-3 triple play to get out of the jam and keeping the game scoreless.
  • Saint Louis' Michael Bozarth lit the scoreboard in the second with a solo home run over the left field fence giving the Billikens a 1-0 lead.
  • With two outs in the third, freshmen Matt Davis lined a double into the left-center gap putting a runner into scoring position. Leadoff man Cody Acker cashed in with an RBI single up the middle plating Davis and evening the score at 1-1.
  • Junior Vimael Machin opened the fourth with a leadoff walk; followed by a single from Chris Ayers put runners on at first and second. Senior Bill Cullen cashed in with an RBI double into right bringing Machin home and pushing Ayers to third.
  • A failed pickoff attempt later in the inning brought both Ayers and Cullen home pushing the Rams lead out to 4-1.
  • Back-to-back RBI singles from Cullen and sophomore James Bunn increased the Black and Gold's lead out to 6-1 through five innings.
  • Saint Louis pieced three singles to score a run and put runners on first and second in the sixth, but a double play and a junior JoJo Howie strikeout ended the frame. The Danny Murphy RBI single cut the Rams lead to four, 6-2.
  • Back-to-back RBI doubles from senior Trevor Marino and Davis plated two more insurance runs increasing the VCU lead out to 8-2 in the eighth.
  • A Saint Louis error brought home the Rams ninth run of the game in the top of the ninth, increasing the lead out to 9-2.
  • The hosts tacked on two more in the bottom half of the frame with an Alec Solé two-RBI single.
  • Senior Seth Greene was able to get out of the ninth inning jam with a caught stealing to pick up the save.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Junior starter JoJo Howie went 6.2 innings allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out three Billikens.
  • VCU's 5-4-3 triple play was the first for the program since 2012 when the Rams turned one against William and Mary at The Diamond.
  • With Cullen's RBI double in the fourth the center fielder is just one double away from the VCU career record for doubles (67).
  • Senior Seth Greene picked up his second save in the last three games for the Black and Gold, pitching 2.1 innings of relief.
  • Five different Ram hitters posted multiple hits on the day.
  • Freshman Matt Davis continued his hot streak at the tournament going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Both of Davis' hits were doubles.
  • The win is just VCU's second road win in any sport against the Billikens as members of the Atlantic 10.

QUOTABLE

I can't say enough about the guys' effort today. JoJo Howie grinded all day long giving us a faboulous start and then Seth Greene came in and got those really big final seven outs.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

James Bunn and Bill Cullen really had great days for us in the middle of the lineup and the top half of the order did a good job of setting the table. We took great at-bats and were able to chase Saint Louis' starter James Norwood after 5.0 innings because of it.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

Even though we're in the winners bracket final we have to regroup, refocus and come prepared ready to go first pitch tomorrow at noon.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler 

WHAT'S NEXT

  • The Rams will continue play in the Atlantic 10 tournament tomorrow at 1 p.m. (ET) when they match-up with third seeded George Mason.

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