The Collegian
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Richmond baseball wins first home series

The University of Richmond baseball team defeated Yale University in the team’s first home series of the season.

UR won two out of their three games this weekend, including both games on Sunday’s double-header. The second win was head coach Tracy Woodson’s 400th NCAA Division I win. 

The Spiders had a difficult start to the season losing their first five games.

“When you are 0-5, it doesn’t matter who you have played,” Woodson said. “You want to win games and be on that side of the score.”

UR started off slow on Friday with a 6-9 loss, despite tying the score 5-5 in the fourth inning. This loss amounted to their fifth loss of the season.

Junior Josh Willitts pitched for a full three innings in the first game, letting up five runs and six hits before graduate pitcher Brenden Argomaniz pitched until the top of the eighth inning. 

The first game of the series was a high-scoring game. Redshirt junior center fielder Alden Mathes had two home runs in the bottom of the first and fourth innings.  

The offense continued to battle against the Yale Bulldogs, scoring their final run in the bottom of the ninth inning when pinch hitter graduate student Matthew Stinebiser doubled to right-centerfield and pinch hitter junior Chase Conklin crossed home plate. 

Saturday afternoon's game was rescheduled to Sunday morning because of rain for a doubleheader against the Bulldogs. 

The Spiders got their first win of the season when they beat Yale 11-7 Sunday morning. Sophomore pitcher Esteban Rodriguez got the win after replacing graduate student Brock Weirather on the mound in the top of the fourth inning. 

Yale scored two homers in the first half inning of the game, but UR responded with Mathes driving home Beal with a double. Jaffe then helped Mathes cross home plate with an RBI single, making the score two-all at the end of the first inning

UR snagged the lead in the second inning with an RBI single from junior Mikey Kluska, however, the Yale offense fought back and scored four runs in the top of the third inning. 

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The Spiders secured the lead for the final time in the seventh inning when sophomore Jake Elbeery drove home two runs on a RBI double. 

Mathes earned the save of the game in the eighth inning after coming to the mound to pitch from center field. He allowed no hits, two walks and struck out three batters. 

The Spiders’ second game of the day only ran seven innings after UR tallied a lead of ten runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, ending the game due to a mercy rule. 

UR quickly took the lead of 2-1 in the bottom of the second when graduate student Jake Topolski hit a homer that brought home Conklin.

In the bottom of the third inning, UR drastically extended the lead to 8-1 and first-year  Jaffe got his first collegiate home run driving home Beal and Mathes. The second homer of the inning came from redshirt junior catcher Jason Neff. 

“I kind of just blanked out,” Jaffe said. “...I was just smiling and having fun. I didn’t really think much about it, just trying to live in the moment.”

The Bulldogs responded in the top of the fourth inning with another four runs off sophomore pitcher Jake Michel, who ultimately earned the win. Junior reliever Vincent Corso came to the mound in the top of the fourth and only allowed one run in the remaining three innings of play.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Bulldogs minimized the lead to 12-6. Neff flew out to right field with the bases loaded, allowing Mathes to score the Spiders’ first run of the inning. Junior Jared Sprague-Lott knocked a double to right center, advancing Jaffe across the plate. The next run came from a balk by the Yale pitcher, advancing Elbeery home. Beal came to the plate for the last at bat of the game with bases loaded and was able to bring in a walk, helping Sprague-Lott across the plate and ending the game 16-6 in the bottom of the seventh. 

The two games on Sunday brought the Spider’s record to 2-5.

“Today feels way better after two wins rather than two home runs [on Friday],” Mathes said. “I care about winning much more than home runs.”

The Richmond Spiders face Virginia Military Institute at 5 p.m. this Wednesday at Gray-Minor Stadium.

Contact sports writer Lucia Helmers at lucia.helmers@richmond.edu

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