Just 24 hours after being on the wrong end of a 13-run win, the Richmond baseball team claimed one of its own, beating Minnesota in a 13-2 blowout on Wednesday.
The Spiders solidified their win in a seven-run sixth inning, when three different Minnesota pitchers faced 13 Richmond hitters. Juniors Tyler Beckwith, Matt Dacey, and Aaron Newman all got hits in the inning to bring runs home. Freshman Kyle Adams got an RBI on a sacrifice fly, and two more runs scored on wild pitches.
Junior first baseman Doug Kraeger was the offensive standout of the game, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a home run.
“We hit the ball well [yesterday], but unfortunately we couldn’t get the win,” Kraeger said. “So it was great for us as a team to come back and get a big win going into the weekend. The way we’re swinging it now, we’ll be a lot more excited and ready to go into conference play.”
Kraeger nearly stole home in the fifth inning, trying to go all the way around the bases from first base. He got on base with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an error. He tried to catch the right fielder off guard by going all the way home, but was thrown out sliding into the plate.
In any other game, perhaps the Spiders would have regretted wasting a base runner. But in this game, offense was not in short supply.
Beckwith hit his second home run of the year, and centerfielder Michael Morman blasted a towering homer well past the fence in left field for his third of the season. As a team, the Spiders totaled 13 hits with seven walks and just three strikeouts.
It was just the kind of offensive performance head coach Tracy Woodson wanted to see from his team in their last game before the beginning of conference play.
“We try to use this as a jumpstart,” Woodson said. “The real season starts Saturday for us, so we’re kind of geared toward that, but this was a nice win to get it started.”
With all the offensive support they could ask for, freshmen pitchers Justin Garcia and Brendan McGuigan prevented the Gophers from ever mounting a comeback.
Garcia earned the win for Richmond, and allowed the only two runs of the game in the third inning. He pitched five innings, gave up four hits and struck out five batters.
McGuigan pitched the remaining four innings of the game and was every bit as impressive as Garcia. He held the Gophers scoreless and gave up just two hits while striking out four.
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“This was a big quality win for us, beating a Big-10 team. It was a big turning point leading into conference,” McGuigan said. “With all the midweek cancelations, us freshmen have to take the opportunities we can get. Justin pitched a great game for us so I was just trying to build on what he was able to do.”
Richmond played its final scheduled game at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights, which is about 35 minutes away from University of Richmond. The weekend series against George Mason University will be held at The Diamond beginning with a double header on Saturday. Pitt Field will allegedly be game ready before Richmond’s next A-10 series against Fordham, so no schedule change has been announced.
“We hope [the field will be done]. I would say it’s done within two weeks,” Woodson said on Tuesday. “Now is that before Fordham or after Fordham? We don’t know.”
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