In a matchup of left-handed starting pitchers, the baseball team was able to salvage the last game of the three-game series against the VCU Rams by a final score of 9-6.
The Spiders began the game on an ominous note, allowing VCU’s leadoff hitter to extend a single into a double following an error by Jansen Fraser, sophomore left fielder. Saturday’s game between these two teams resulted in a loss for the Spiders because of their inability to cleanly field the baseball, which resulted in two run-scoring errors.
Richmond’s starting pitcher, senior Dylan Stoops, was able to work out of this first inning jam by way of a successful pickoff attempt and a couple of key groundouts.
The Spiders were able to score three runs in the bottom half of the opening frame when Matt Dacey, sophomore third baseman, drilled a home run that carried over the right field fence, allowing the Spiders to take a quick 3-0 lead.
The Richmond offense enjoyed a great day at the plate, turning up a season-high 16 hits led by Tanner Stanley, sophomore center fielder. Stanley led the way with four hits of his own, one of which a home run to left center field in the bottom of the second, which allowed the Spiders to increase their lead to 4-0.
Stanley said of the win, “This game today was how we play baseball, those first two games weren’t really Richmond baseball. We were aggressive today.”
The story of the day may have been the offensive production coming from the bottom of the lineup for the Spiders with the 7-8-9 hitters combining for six hits and three RBIs.
Head coach Tracy Woodson said of the production from the bottom of his lineup, “Jansen hasn’t played in a little while, he came in and got the big double for us.”
Stanley also praised his teammates and said, “It’s absolutely huge, when those guys are producing it gets more at bats for the guys at the top of the lineup and the hitting becomes contagious.”
VCU’s Bill Cullen got the scoring started for the Rams in the fourth inning with a long RBI-triple to bring around their first run of the afternoon.
Things began to unravel in the top of the sixth for the Spiders when Stoops opened the inning with two walks and a balk, which allowed both runners to advance to scoring position.
Richmond brought in relief pitcher Ryan Cook, who lost the battle against his first hitter, and surrendered a three-run home run that knotted the score at four.
However, the Spiders did not go down without a fight and responded to the three-run frame by VCU with their own three runs in the bottom of that inning.
The seventh inning seemed to be a repeat of the last as the Rams were again able to get on the scoreboard, this time plating two runs. However, the Spiders again let their bats do the talking and matched their two runs with two of their own highlighted by three straight hits from the bottom of the lineup followed by a perfectly executed safety squeeze by Mike Small, senior second baseman.
Ray Harron, a junior relief pitcher, came in and got the last six outs for the spiders while only allowing two hits in his two innings.
The Rams were looking to make things interesting in the top of the ninth when they were able to get two men on base bringing the potential tying run to the plate with Matt Davis, who hit a three run homer earlier in the contest.
Harron was able to battle through the pressure and forced Davis to pop out to third, which sealed the victory for the Spiders.
Woodson said after the game, “This was probably one of the bigger games for us this year, individually for this team, to get back to .500 in conference play.”
With this win the Spiders improve their overall record to 15-18 but more importantly lift their Atlantic 10 record to an even 6-6.
The Spiders will be back in action Tuesday at Pitt Field in a game against longtime rivals, Virginia Military Institute. That game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
Contact Collegian Reporter Gabriel Obregon at email@example.com