The Collegian
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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Baseball undefeated in first seven games

The University of Richmond baseball team had another perfect weekend at home, with two wins moving its record to 7-0.

The Spiders' junior starter Ian Marshall pitched seven shutout innings during Richmond's 27-2 win against the Iona College Gaels at Pitt Field on Friday.

"It was one of those days when everything seemed to be going right," coach Mike McQueen said.

During Marshall's last outing against Niagara University, he ran up the pitch count early. But against the Gaels, he proved efficient on the mound, striking out eight, and allowing only five hits during seven innings, all in only 89 pitches.

"[Against Niagara] I was wild and wasn't under control," Marshall said. "Today, even when I would get behind, they would pop it up. Their mistakes really helped me out today."

The 27 runs were one shy of a school record set in 1996, when the Spiders scored 28 points against George Washington University. The 6-0 start was the Spiders' best since 2002, when they opened 10-0.

But the stilted score was a result not only of bad pitching, but poor fielding by the Gaels (0-5), who committed seven errors. The Spiders, meanwhile, had no errors and garnered seven more runs than they had hits, punishing Iona for every mistake.

The Spiders' offense was overwhelming. Billy Barber hit his second home run of the season, a three-run shot that flew high above the center field wall. Both Ryan Mallory and Pat Sandman hit grand slam home runs.

The Spiders also stole five bases, bringing their season total to 22.

"We put a lot of pressure on them," McQueen said, referring to the stolen bases. "So, they started throwing balls away, and we took advantage of that. We've been working on that all season, even with guys who are not the fastest on the team. [Iona] hasn't played a lot outdoors this year so they were making mistakes."

The Gaels' starting pitcher, Dylan McCullough, went only 3 1-3 innings, but threw 107 pitches, allowed nine earned runs on six hits and struck out three.

The Spiders put on another offensive show Saturday morning, defeating Iona 15-4 at Pitt Field, led by senior captain Ryan Metzroth, who hit his team-leading third home run.

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During Friday's game, the Spiders dominated the Gaels from the outset, but Saturday morning brought a different Iona club. The Gaels took a 3-1 lead during the third inning, the Spiders took the lead during the fourth and the Gaels tied it by the fifth.

Then Metzroth came to bat.

"They had just tied the game in the fifth inning," Metzroth said. "I was just trying to get the ball in play, but he left the ball up and I got a good swing on it."

The ball bounced off of a car, three rows back in X-lot behind the right center-field wall. The home run marked a turning point in the game, breaking the rhythm of the Gaels' starting pitcher Anthony Castellitto, who had done well keeping the Spiders' big bats at bay for five innings.

"He got a beautiful stroke behind it," coach Mark McQueen said.

The Spiders' starting pitcher, junior Matt Zielinski, pitched well enough to get the win, holding the Gaels to four runs through five innings and striking out five. But the story on the mound was freshman Matt Zink, who pitched an impressive sixth inning, striking out two and forcing a ground out.

During the sixth inning, the Iona defense, which had been playing well to that point, fell apart. The Spiders scored eight runs on only two hits, aided by three Iona errors.

"I was glad to see our young guys contributing today," McQueen said. "It was good to be able to give them some playing time."

Out of the line-up was designated hitter Billy Barber. He was replaced by Richmond native and freshman Ryan Mallory, who drew three walks, had a hit and batted in a run.

The Spiders remain perfect this season, moving to 7-0 overall. The game Sunday was canceled because of rain and Tuesday's scheduled game at the College of William and Mary was canceled because of the snow storm. The team is slated to play Friday at Pitt Field against Seton Hall University.

Contact staff writer David Larter at david.larter@richmond.edu

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