The Richmond baseball team kept its winning streak alive against Old Dominion University on Tuesday with two strong offensive innings and the best outing of freshman relief pitcher Peter Bayer’s college career, coach Mark McQueen said.
The 7-6 win was the Spiders’ fifth straight victory and advanced their season record to 10-2.
After a rocky start for junior pitcher Chris Bates, who gave up two home runs in the first and second innings, he settled in during the later innings and allowed only one additional hit and three walks with five strikeouts.
Bayer took over for Bates in the top of the fifth, and allowed only one earned run on three hits and two walks. He struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth inning, for a total of seven strikeouts.
Sophomore pitcher Ryan Cook was called upon to get the final two outs in the top of the ninth, which was the first time he had ever been handed the ball in a save situation, he said.
Cook enjoyed the adrenaline rush that came with pitching in the ninth inning, but he liked his usual role as a middle-innings long reliever, and thought that junior pitcher Dylan Stoops has done well as the closer, he said.
Stoops, who is usually the team’s closer, had a sore arm after making two appearances over the weekend against Wagner, Cook said.
McQueen was very pleased with the pitchers’ performances, he said. Three pitchers combined for 13 total strikeouts, and any time a pitching staff strikes out that many hitters, they are doing something right, McQueen said.
McQueen, Cook and freshman catcher Aaron Newman all highly praised Bayer for his performance. McQueen said the outing had been a great confidence builder for Bayer, and both Cook and Newman gave Bayer credit for entering the game in a tight spot with runners on base and putting together such a good outing.
The offense also did its part in securing the victory, regaining the lead from ODU with a five-run fourth after failing to score in the first three innings.
Newman highlighted the fourth inning with a three-run home run, the second of his college career, after freshman Tanner Stanley, senior Bret Williams and junior Nick Poulos all hit singles and senior Jacob Mayers hit a triple.
McQueen said the game was the best team win of the season, because ODU is a well-coached Virginia team. Although the northern teams Richmond has been playing have been strong opponents, McQueen generally expects that Richmond will beat those teams, he said.
Hard-fought wins against Virginia teams such as ODU provide a tougher test and a bigger boost of confidence, McQueen said. ODU’s record is now 6-4, and the team swept Richmond’s A-10 rival Temple University last weekend.
The Spiders took extra satisfaction from beating the Monarchs, Cook said, because he and his teammates have many friends who play on the ODU squad.
Up next for Spider baseball is a three-game series against Quinnipiac University, starting at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 9.
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