Rams Unable to Hold On, Fall to VCU in Ninth, 5-2

Rams Unable to Hold On, Fall to VCU in Ninth, 5-2

Rhode Island Lineup
Caputo (SS), O'Connell (C), Corin (LF), Quinn (DH), Hetzel (RF), Sherburne (CF), Lynch (1B), Taveras (3B), Warnock (2B), Sterner (P)  

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

How it Happened
Rhode Island (7-30, 3-11 A-10) wasted little time getting on VCU starter Matt Blanchard as Tim Caputo led off the game with a double to left field and quickly came around to score on a double by Mike Corin. The Rams added another in the second when RJ Warnock beat out an infield single with two away, stole both second and third and later crossed the plate on a failed pickoff attempt.

Rhody starter Ty Sterner kept things moving quickly as he faced the minimum over the first three frames and did not allow a hit until James Bunn tripled with one away in the fourth. Sterner needed just four more pitches to send URI back in the dugout unscathed however, as Joey Cujas lined out on the first pitch he saw and Vimael Machin recorded an 0-2 groundout to end the inning.

VCU (29-10, 10-4 A-10) eventually cut Rhody's lead in half in the top of the fifth when Bill Cullen lined a shot over the right field wall to make it a 2-1 game.

Three innings later, a pair of Rhode Island errors prolonged the eighth and allowed VCU's Trevor Marino to score the game-tying run. With two away, an errant throw over to first by Caputo pulled first baseman TJ Lynch off the bag, causing him to crash into VCU's Cody Acker who had beat the throw. With both Lynch and Acker on the ground, Marino was able to round third and score easily to knot the game at 2-2.

VCU pulled ahead the following inning when Cullen blasted a three-run shot - his second homer of the day - to give the visiting Rams their first lead of the game.

Rhody kept it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, as Derek Gardella and Corin drew back-to-back walks and Nick DeRegis followed with a pinch-hit single to load the bases with one away. However, Dan Hetzel grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end Rhody's chance at a late comeback.

Inside the Box Score

  • Rhode Island finished with seven hits while holding VCU to six. VCU entered the series averaging 11 hits per game.
  • URI stranded 12 runners on the day, nine of which were in scoring position. The Rams left runners on second and third in three separate innings.
  • Redshirt freshman Mike Corin and junior Tim Caputo each reached base three times for the Rams. Corin went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI while Caputo had a double and was hit twice.
  • Freshman Dan Hetzel also had two hits for Rhody while Pat Quinn reached twice on a walk and a hit by pitch.
  • Each of URI's ninth-inning pinch hitters got on base as redshirt sophomore Derek Gardella was walked and junior Nick DeRegis singled. Gardella has now reached base in seven of his eight pinch-hit at-bats, recording five walks and two hits. DeRegis has had similar success, hitting a pair of singles and drawing a walk in four pinch-hit at-bats for the Rams.
  • Junior starter Ty Sterner tossed a career-high 7.2 innings in a no-decision start. He struck out four and issued just one walk while allowing four hits on the day. 
  • Sterner was extremely efficient on the hill, throwing an average of 13 pitches per inning (104 total) and facing just five over the minimum through seven and two thirds innings of work.
  • Sophomore Brad Applin took the loss as he was responsible for Cullen's game-winning home run in the top of the ninth.
  • VCU's Thomas Gill was credited with the win, allowing just ove hit over three frames of relief. Matt Lees earned the save, his fifth of the season.
  • Bill Cullen was the lone player to record more than one hit for VCU, finishing the series opener 2-for-4 eith four RBI and two runs scored.

What's Next
Rhody and VCU will return to The Beck for game two of the series on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.