URI Baseball Wins Weekend Series, But VCU Earns 7-3 Victory In 10 Innings Sunday

Rhode Island Lineup 
Hess (2B), Figueroa (3B), Powell (CF), Olmo (LF), Livingston (C), Gardella (DH), Corin (1B), Hill (SS), Foley (RF), Wessel (P) 

VCU Lineup
Farrarr (CF), Berezo (2B), Kerrigan (RF), Davis (SS), Carpenter (DH), Acker (1B), Bunn (LF), Ching (3B), Isquirdo (C), Dailey (P) 

How it Happened
VCU (20-12, 6-3) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, scoring on an RBI single and a sacrifice bunt for the early advantage. Meanwhile, Rhode Island stranded four runners over the first four innings, including leaving Jordan Powell on third in the bottom of the fourth. 

The Rams (11-14, 4-2) finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Chris Hess singled to right with two away, advanced to third on a base hit by Martin Figueroa and crossed the plate on an RBI single by Jordan Powell. VCU countered in the top of the sixth, scoring on a sacrifice fly, but a solo shot by Chase Livingston made it a one-run game once again in the bottom of the frame.

VCU was in position to stretch its lead with two runners on in the top of the eighth, but Tyler Barss came in and got back-to-back groundouts to end the threat. 

Rhody would then even the score at 3-3 during a wild bottom of the eighth. Livingston got things started with a leadoff single up the middle before Derek Gardella’s sacrifice bunt was mishandled by VCU third baseball Zach Ching. With Jesse Lee pinch-running for Gardella, both Livingston and Lee moved up a base on a sac-bunt by Mike Corin. Laurence Hill then tapped a slow grounder to third base, where Ching appeared to have Livingston frozen on the base path headed home. Livingston then retreated back to third base, forcing Lee – who had already made his way to third – to hustle back to second. With the confusion taking place on the left side of the infield, Hill easily made it to first unchallenged. 

Clearly rattled, VCU’s Sam Donko – who entered the weekend with the A-10’s best WHIP (0.86) and the nation’s most saves (11) – threw four straight balls to Mike Foley to walk in the tying run. The Rams were unable to pull ahead however, as a sharp grounder by Hess allowed VCU to turn a 4-6-3 double play and end the inning with the score knotted at 3-3.

The visiting Rams looked to have something going in the top of the ninth, after Walker Haymaker singled through the right side with one away, however pinch runner Nick Atkinson was quickly thrown out by Livingston on the steal attempt. Leadoff hitter Logar Farrarr – who was held to a 1-for-11 showing on the weekend – then grounded out to give Rhody a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth.

There, walks to both Firguroa and Ryan Olmo put two runners on, but VCU’s James Bunn made what was likely a game-saving play on a diving catch that ended the inning and robbed Jesse Lee of what would have been at least a base hit.

VCU carried the momentum into the top of the 10th, loading the bases on a trio singles, before a controversial hit-by-pitch call sent across the game-winning run with two outs on the scoreboard. Ching followed with his first hit of the day – a three-run triple to the right field warning track – for some breathing room. 

Rhody then went down in order in the bottom of the inning, narrowly missing the series sweep of the defending Atlantic 10 champs.

Inside the Box Score

  • Junior Martin Figueroa lead the Rams with a 3-for-4 day at the plate. For the series, he hit .636 (7-11) with two doubles, a home run, four runs scored, three RBI and two stolen bases.
  • Senior Chase Livingston went 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season – a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth. He also scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the eighth and threw out two VCU runners attempting to steal.
  • Freshman Laurence Hill singled twice for his first multi-hit game of the season. 
  • Sophomore Jordan Powell also had a pair of hits for the Rams, extending his reached-base streak to 14 consecutive games.
  • Senior Ryan Olmo kept his streak alive as well, singling in the fourth for his 10th straight game with a hit. 
  • Senior Ben Wessel went seven innings in a no-decision start, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts. 
  • Freshman Mark Silvestri took the hill in the top of the eighth and struck out the first batter he faced. 
  • Redshirt sophomore Tyler Barss was charged with the loss, scattering five hits and allowing four runs (all earned) over the final 2.2 innings.
  • His counterpart, VCU’s Sam Donko, picked up the win as he allowed just one run from the eighth through the 10th, despite walking three and giving up a pair of hits.

Up Next
The Rams return to action on Tuesday afternoon when they travel to Brown for their first of six straight road games. First pitch against the Bears is scheduled for 3 p.m.