RICHMOND, Va. (March 19, 2013) – After taking both games of its series at Richmond, Rutgers baseball will remain in the area and take on Virginia Commonwealth in a two-game midweek series, beginning Tuesday at The Diamond. The Scarlet Knights are currently 5-3 in the state of Virginia this season.
Rutgers (5-9) is the midst of 23 straight true road games to start the season, the most of any Division I team in the nation. The Scarlet Knights are also in a stretch of 10-of-13 games in Virginia.
The last five games RU has played have come down to the wire, with all being decided in the last at bat (3-2). Most recently, the Scarlet Knights took a pair of one-run games against Richmond by hitting a late go-ahead home run. Junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) connected for an opposite field shot in the opener, giving Rutgers a 5-4 win. Then the next day, three players hit their first Rutgers home run, with freshman Corey Lerche (West Nyack, N.Y.) sending out a solo long ball in the top of the 10th inning for his first career hit and the game-winning run. Senior left-hander Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) had his best series out of the bullpen this year by picking up a save and a win versus the Spiders.
On the mound, senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) will make the first start against the Rams after his outing was postponed due to weather versus Richmond. He struck out 12 in his last performance at William & Mary in seven complete innings. Junior Slater McCue (Radnor, Pa.) will make his first start of the season after beginning four midweek games last season.
VCU (11-5) got off to a hot start, winning its first nine games of the season. Most recently, the Rams lost two-of-three to Monmouth at home to fall to 6-2 at The Diamond. Bill Cullen leads the offense with a .370 batting average and three home runs, while Vimael Machin has knocked in a team-high 15 runs. Closer Matt Lees highlights the pitching staff, picking up six saves and not allowing a run in 16.1 relief innings this season. The Rams are in their inaugural season in the Atlantic 10.
VCU plays at The Diamond, which also plays hosts to the Richmond Flying Squirrels – the Double-A minor league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The venue opened in 1985.
Head coach Shawn Stiffler is in his first season at the helm of the program after serving six years as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator previously.
Rutgers leads the all-time series, 7-6, with the last meeting coming in 1996.
Rutgers ends its trip by traveling to Louisville to take on nationally-ranked Cardinals in its BIG EAST-opener. The series will begin Friday.