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VCU’s Bats Breakthrough in the 7th to Defeat VMI 5-4

VCU’s Bats Breakthrough in the 7th to Defeat VMI 5-4

VCU (21-15) faced off against in state rival Virginia Military Institute (17-19). The Rams came into the evening losing their last three non-conference contests of the season, twice to UVA and once to William and Mary. The Keydets carried a 4-game losing streak into the contest.

The Rams ended their midweek losing streak after a tightly contested 5-4 win over the Keydets.

Connor Gillispie got the start for VCU. The freshman was making his 5th start of the season. He faced a fellow freshman on the mound for VMI, Zak Kent.

VCU’s staff recorded 13 strikeouts and Gillispie had 5 of them in his 2 innings of work. In the second inning he allowed back to back singles to start before a triple brought home both runners. He would finish the frame with a strike out but he wouldn’t go back out for the 3rd.

Jonathan Ebersole gave the Rams 2 clean innings before a single and a double led to a 3rd run for VMI. VCU trailed VMI 3-0 after 5 innings.

Zac Kent was solid for the Keydets, he pitched 5 innings and didn’t allow a run and only gave up 4 hits. He had to be taken out in the 6th after letting two runners on. His replacement another freshman, Derek Tremblay shutdown the scoring chance but he failed to get any outs in the 7th.

It looked like another midweek game where the Black and Gold offense would leave their pitchers hanging. In the 6th the Rams failed to score after their first two batter reached and the heart of their lineup was coming to plate.

In this matchup, it was the bottom of the order that got the team into the game. Hitters positioned 6 through 9 were the spark for a momentous 7th inning rally. Willett, Ching and Lamb led off the frame with singles and the 9th hitter in the order, Dylan Isquirdo cleaned up the base paths with a 3 RBI double.  When the lineup was turned back over to the top VCU had already tied the game. Logan Farrar and Paul Witt would add an RBI each to make it 5-3. The inning finally ended when Brett Willet struck out in his second at bat of the frame.

It felt like the outcome was decided after that outburst but VMI fought back. Consecutive singles and an RBI on a fielder’s choice brought VMI within one run in the 8th. Sam Donko was called in with 2 outs in that inning to shut down the comeback attempt. Donko got a pop up to end the threat.

In the 9th with a 1 run lead, the All-American was untouchable. He struck out the first two batters and got a ground ball to first base to finish off the Keydets.

The Black and Gold spread out their offense over their entire lineup. Every starter recorded a hit except for Steven Carpenter who walked twice. The team put together 10 hits but only 2 were for extra bases.

Hayden Moore got credited with the win and Derek Tremblay was given the loss for the Keydets.

VCU, 22-15 (10-2 A-10), will head to the Bronx next, to take on Fordham in a three-game series. Shawn Stiffler’s group will look to maintain the first-place position in the A-10. The Fordham Rams are 7-4, good enough for 4th in the league.

The Black and Gold won’t return home until Friday the 28th, when they play St. Joseph’s in a weekend series.

You can also check out our new interview with Head Coach Shawn Stiffler here-



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Derek graduated from VCU in 2015 with a degree in broadcast journalism. As the Sports Director for VCU’s student run radio station, WVCW, he garnered a handful of nominations for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Awards and received an award with fellow contributor Darnell Myrick for their Men’s Basketball Play-by-Play. He’s worked as a producer for multiple radio stations in Richmond and served as the In-Game Host for the Washington Nationals. Derek strives to bring a thoughtful and measured approach to his coverage of VCU sports, while still holding on to his zealous enthusiasm for his alma mater.

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