About The VCU Rams
- VCU comes into the weekend’s action with a record of 32-13 overall and a 13-6 mark in the Atlantic 10, good for tied for third in the league standings. The Rams took two-of-three at home last weekend against George Washington before dropping a mid-week game against Maryland.
- Boasting a team batting average of .299, all nine regular starters are hitting .283 or higher, with four holding averages above .300. Chris Ayers and James Bunn pace the squad with .340 averages (48-for-141 and 52-for-153), while Bill Cullen (.299) leads the way with 48 RBI, four home runs and 42 runs scored. He has a team-high 13 doubles and six triples to his credit, as well, contributing to a .521 slugging percentage.
- As a staff, the Rams hold a 3.70 earned run average over 403.1 innings with 166 walks to 177 strikeouts. Friday’s probable starter Heath Dwyer leads the way with a 2.76 ERA over 58.2 innings and nine starts. He is 5-1 on the year with two complete games and 48 strikeouts to 24 walks and an opponent batting average of .195. Sunday’s starter, JoJo Howie, follows closely behind with a 2.87 ERA and a 6-2 record over 81.2 innings and 12 starts. He leads VCU with 66 strikeouts to 20 walks.
Walsh and Morris Earn Weekly Awards
- Sophomore right-hander Brandon Walsh and freshman outfielder Dylan Morris were named the Atlantic 10 Pitcher and Rookie of the Week, respectively, on May 5. The pair helped the Minutemen with a 2-2 week last week, including the squad’s first win over UConn since 2007 and a 9-1 triumph over George Mason.
- Walsh pitched in both UMass victories, tossing a total of 11 innings and allowing only one unearned run on seven hits, all singles. He struck out six over the two appearances, while walking just one and limiting opposing batters to a .184 average. He collected his second save of the season as he tossed two scoreless innings against the Huskies last Tuesday and then hurled his first career complete game vs. the Patriots on Sunday.
- Morris started three-of-four games for the Minutemen on the week, including both victories, and hit a team-best .750 (6-for-8) with four RBI and two runs scored. He also had two sacrifice bunts and a sac fly.
- The West Barnstable, Mass., native posted three multi-hit games on the week and drove in three runs in UMass’ win over George Mason. Against UConn, Morris was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored in the 5-4 victory.
UMass at the Plate
- Nick Campero leads UMass offensively with a .288 average (42-146) and has contributed 19 RBI and 19 runs scored. Senior Dylan Begin paces the squad in RBI (21) and doubles (10), while redshirt junior Kyle Adie has scored a team-high 21 runs.
- The UMass bats are also highlighted in part by Mike Geannelis. The freshman holds a .342 batting average with 26 hits in 76 at bats. He has logged 10 RBI and scored 10 runs over 24 games, as well.
On the Hill
- Friday starter Conor LeBlanc has thrown a team-high 70.0 innings on the season over 11 starts and is second on the squad with a 3.86 earned run average. LeBlanc’s 70 innings are a new career high for the junior, while his 11 starts have matched a career high. He has worked at least five innings in every start this season, going six-plus innings in seven of his 11 outings.
- Andrew Grant, also a junior, paces the Minutemen in strikeouts with 36 in 43.1 innings. Grant is facing close competition in this category from Brandon Walsh (35), Aaron Plunkett (30 strikeouts), and Ryan Moloney (29).
- Five UMass hurlers have two wins apiece on the year, while Walsh has two saves in addition to his two victories. He boasts a team-best 3.02 ERA over 44.2 innings.
- As a staff, UMass holds a 4.75 ERA over 339.0 innings, walking 136 and sending down 195 by way of the `K'.
- UMass earned its first win of the season on Mar. 8 with a 15-0 decision over North Carolina A&T. The game included home runs from Brandon Walsh and Kyle Adie, marking the first round trips that both players have made in their collegiate careers.
- The Minutemen exploded for 19 hits and four home runs in their victory, setting the team's highest single-game totals in those categories since Mar. 26, 2011, when the team hit four home runs in a 6-3 win over George Washington.
- The Minutemen return 25 members from the 2013 roster, including seven of its nine regular starters in the field, but will be without the services of All-Atlantic 10 DH Rob McLam who will redshirt the 2014 season.
- The returnees who will see action this season accounted for 50% of the tam's runs scored, 65% of its RBI and 69% of its extra base hits in 2014, including eight of nine home runs.
- Senior Nik Campero is the team's top returning hitter for average after hitting .305 (50-for-164) last season with 20 RBI. Redshirt junior Adam Picard posted a .300 average in 2013 (42-for-150) and led the Minutemen with 31 RBI, while matching senior Dylan Begin for the team lead in home runs (4) last spring.
- UMass returns 264.9 of its 398.1 innings from last season including five individuals who made at least one start on the mound in 2013.
- Among those back for 2014 is senior DJ Jauss who posted a 4.04 ERA last year with 35 strikeouts in 49.0 innings.
- Right-handed pitcher Andrew Grant started all 12 games that he appeared in as a sophomore in 2013 and led the Minutemen in wins (3) and strikeouts (58).
- The Minutemen welcome five freshman arms to the pitching staff: Mike Geannelis, Tommy McDonald, John Mione, Ryan Moloney and Ryan Venditti.
Nearing Another Mile-Stone
- Head coach Mike Stone is in his 27th season at the helm for the Minutemen and his 32nd overall as a head coach.
- Stone is just two wins away from his 700th of his career. He is currently 698-696-5 (.501) overall with a 644-606-3 (.515) mark at UMass.
- The Minutemen will conclude their home schedule on May 13 against Siena at 1 p.m.