RICHMOND, Va. (March 19, 2013) – Cody Acker came through with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning for Virginia Commonwealth to down Rutgers baseball, 4-3, in the first of two midweek games Tuesday at The Diamond. It was the sixth straight game RU has played in that has been decided in the last at bat (3-3), with five of them being determined by one run (2-3).
The all-time series between the two programs is now tied at seven, with Tuesday being the first meeting since 1996.
After a flurry of hits and runs in the first two innings, the pitchers took over from there to send the game into extra innings. Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) picked up six strikeouts and permitted two earned runs in a 4.2-inning start, while junior Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) worked 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Scarlet Knights. The game featured a combined five runs and nine hits in the first two innings and only two runs the rest of the way.
Totaling 12 hits as team, freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) kept up his hot hitting with a 3-for-5 game to lead Rutgers (5-10). He has picked up at least two hits in four of five contests since entering the lineup as the leadoff hitter. Senior Bill Hoermann (Mainland, N.J.) and Law also had two hits against the Rams (12-5).
RU jumped out to an early lead with a run in the top of the first, the second time this season the team scored in its first at bat of a game. Tietz picked up where he left off from the weekend with a two-strike single up the middle, advancing to second on a groundout. Then junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) shot an RBI double to gap in deep right-center.
VCU countered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs on four singles to take the lead, but Rutgers answered with two of its own in the second. Sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) singled to lead off and stole second, scoring on an RBI double by Hoermann. The rally was not done there, as junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) worked a walk and Tietz crushed an RBI double off the wall in left to put RU back in front, 3-2.
After that, the pitchers from both sides settled in to take control of the game. The Rams rallied in the fifth on a pair of singles, and RU helped out with an error to allow the tying run to score with two down.
Both teams rallied in the ninth inning, but came away empty thanks to the play of the third basemen. RU has runners on first and second in the top half with two outs, with third sacker Joey Cujas then lunging down the line to save an extra-base hit and tagging the runner at third to escape the jam. In the bottom of the frame, Rutgers head coach Fred Hill ordered two intentional walks to load the bases after a runner reached third with one out. Tietz proceeded to snare a liner at the hot corner and stepped on the base for the inning-ending double play.
VCU won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a single, sacrifice bunt and single from the nine-hitter, Acker. It was the third extra inning game of the season for the Scarlet Knights, falling to 2-1 in such contests.
Matt Lees (1-0) earned the win for the home-standing Rams, as he has not allowed a run in 19.1 innings this season. Freshman Howie Brey (Middletown, N.J.) (1-1) suffered his first loss, working two innings in relief.
Cujas was the leading hitter in the game for VCU, going 4-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt and two runs scored. Chris Ayers also went 3-for-3 at the cleanup spot.
The Scarlet Knights and Rams will meet again tomorrow at 6 p.m. at The Diamond. Junior Slater McCue (Radnor, Pa.) is scheduled to make his first start of the season for RU after making four in 2012.