The first game of the University of Richmond's baseball team's three-game series against Atlantic 10 rival VCU did not go as hoped, to say the least.
The Spiders were shut down in a 19-4 loss that saw the Rams assert their dominance on the game right from its start.
VCU peppered Richmond's pitching for 22 hits with two home runs, and struck out only three times. The Rams' pitching, on the other hand, limited the Spiders' hitters to eight hits and struck them out seven times.
Rams hitters chased pitcher James Lively from the game one and two-thirds innings into his first start this season after he gave up nine runs (six earned) on eight hits with one home run.
Head coach Tracy Woodson described Lively, who normally pitches in relief, as one of the team's best arms, but said he would not be making another start following Friday.
"That's a guy that usually throws strikes," Woodson said. "It wasn't good when he walked the leadoff batter, and it just went downhill from there."
Sophomore Ryan Donnelly came in to relieve Lively, and the Rams were able to make quick work of him as well. Donnelly faced 11 batters, but recorded just two outs, giving up three more runs on four hits and three walks before freshman pitcher Zach Moore entered the game.
Moore pitched the longest of any Richmond reliever, throwing for four and one-third inning. Woodson said Moore's long stint saved Richmond's bullpen, but he also contributed to the Rams' lead by giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks.
With the score at 17-0, Woodson made the call to bring in sophomore catcher Aaron Newman to pitch in an effort to save some relievers to pitch over the next two games.
Newman pitched in high school, but had not practiced throwing for several years, he said. Though it wasn't his preferred position, Newman was glad he was able to assist his team in some way when they were looking at competing in all three games of the series, he said.
The Richmond offense didn't put up much of a fight against VCU until the end of the game. The Spiders didn't send more than four men to the plate until the bottom of the ninth inning, when all nine batters had a chance to hit.
Sophomore first baseman Doug Kraeger started the rally for the Spiders with a leadoff home run, his fifth of the season. Matt Dacey, the sophomore third baseman, singled, sophomore Jansen Fraser walked and senior catcher JB Gadd was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Senior second baseman Mike Small singled to bring home two runs, and the final run of the game was scored on a wild pitch.
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The team's performance on Friday was horrible, Woodson said, but that loss would not affect the mentality on Saturday.
"It's 0-0," Woodson said. "I've been in a lot of games where we've gotten killed. I've been in games where we've killed people, and you come back the next day and you lose after you win big. [The next day] it starts over."
The loss moves Richmond's record to 14-16-1 and their in-conference record to 5-5. The Spiders will play the second game against VCU, which is second in the A-10 rankings, 1 p.m. Saturday.
Contact staff writer Erin Flynn at email@example.com
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