UMass Baseball Tops VCU 5-4 For Coach Stone's 700th Win
May 11, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. - Sophomore John Jennings' two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth broke a 4-4 tie and helped UMass defeat VCU, 5-4 for head coach Mike Stone's 700th career victory on Senior Day at Earl Lorden Field on Sunday afternoon. The win clinched the weekend series for the Minutemen (13-29, 10-14 A-10), snapping a string of 12 straight series victories by the Rams (33-15, 14-8 A-10).
UMass plated the first run of the afternoon in the bottom of the first. Redshirt junior Kyle Adie drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed over to second and scored on a double to right by senior Nik Campero.
VCU tied the score in the top of the third as James Bunn was hit by a pitch to start off the inning, went to second on a single through the left side by Joey Cujas and tagged up on a pair of fly balls to center to put the Rams on the board.
Then in the bottom half, the Minutemen responded by regaining the advantage, 4-1, scoring three times in the frame. Adie reached on an error and Campero drew a walk, setting up a two-out, two-run double to right center by redshirt junior Adam Picard.
The Rams slowly began to chip away, though. In the top of the fifth, Bunn drew a leadoff walk and, after Cujas was hit by a pitch and Chris Ayers walked to load the bases, Bunn crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Bill Cullen to trim the deficit to 4-2.
VCU made it a one-run game in the seventh as Cujas knocked a one-out single up the middle and later scored on a two-out double to right by Cullen.
The following inning, the Rams tied the score at 4-4. Landon Prentiss led off with a single to right and moved into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt. Trevor Marino singled up the middle to give VCU runners on first and third with one out, but Prentiss was thrown out at the plate while trying to score on a wild pitch that sent Marino to second. Then, an RBI infield single by Cujas, sandwiched in between a pair of hit batters, brought in the tying run.
Freshman Mike Geannelis, prevented any further damage, though, as he entered from the bullpen and induced a fly ball off the bat of Cullen to leave the bases loaded.
UMass went on to score the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Jennings lined a two-out single up the middle that brought home Picard, who drew a walk earlier in the inning.
Geannelis earned his second win (4-3) of the weekend on the mound, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings and letting up just one hit with no walks and one strikeout. Reliever Matt Lees took the loss (5-4) for the Rams. He surrendered one run on one hit with two walks and one strikeout in one inning of work.
Geannelis and Jennings both went 2-for-4 at the plate on the day with one RBI apiece to combine for four of UMass' seven hits in the contest. Picard batted 1-for-3 with two RBI and scored twice.
Cujas hit 4-for-4 for VCU, drove in a run and scored once, while Cullen finished 1-for-4 with two RBI.
UMass will play its final home game of the 2014 season on Tuesday, May 13, against Siena at 1 p.m.