RICHMOND, Va. – The bats were hot for the second straight game and Virginia Commonwealth University scored early and often in an 18-6 victory against Princeton Monday afternoon in the final game of the Terry Sisisky Classic at The Diamond.

Eight different Rams recorded a hit for the second game in a row, led by junior Taylor Buran (pictured, right), who went 4-for-6 with three RBI and a pair of runs.  Junior Paul Nice and sophomore Nick Kime collected three hits apiece, while seniors John Lenherr and Michael Cheatham, and junior Kyle Sutherland each had two for VCU.  In all, the Rams collected a season-high 18.

Senior David Benson tossed six innings with no earned runs en route to his first victory as a Ram.  He also fanned seven batters for the second time in as many outings.  Mike Ford took the loss for Princeton, allowing nine runs on 12 hits in four innings of work.

Lenherr and freshman Joey Cujas posted back-to-back one-out singles in the top of the first and VCU took an early 1-0 lead when Ford was called for a balk.

VCU (6-9) quickly went on top 6-0 in the third after Cheatham, junior Taylor Perkins, Kime and Sutherland all drove in runs as the Rams tallied six hits in the frame.

The Black & Gold used a three-run fourth to extend its lead to 9-0.  Nice was hit by a pitch to start the inning and scored on a triple by Lenherr a batter later.  Cheatham collected his second RBI with a single into right and Perkins capped off the frame with a sacrifice fly into center.

Then, Princeton (2-5) used a four-run fifth inning to pull within 9-4.  Matt Bowman and John Mishu posted back-to-back RBI singles and Sam Mulroy drove in a pair with a shot into right field, which cut the VCU lead to five.

The Rams closed the door on the Tigers threat, however, scoring three more runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and five in the seventh to stake an 18-4 advantage.

Princeton got two runs back on three hits in the ninth.

VCU travels to High Point for a mid-week matchup against the Panthers on Wednesday, March 16 at 4 p.m.  The Rams return to The Diamond March 18-20 when they host James Madison in their Colonial Athletic Association opener.

February 16, 2011 2011 BASEBALL PREVIEW: INFIELD