CHARLESTON, S.C. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team fell to The Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon, 10-7, at Riley Park in Charleston, South Carolina. The loss drops the Spiders' record to 0-2 while The Citadel improves to 1-1 on the year.
Senior Chris Cowell paced the Spiders on Saturday, going 2-for-4 with two home runs and two RBIs. Junior Jacob Mayers had a two-run homer for Richmond, while senior Phil Ruzbarky went 3-for-3 with a RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. Senior Bryan Conway also drove in a run for the Spiders.
Out of the bullpen, freshman Zach Grossfeld made a successful collegiate debut, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings while surrendering just two hits. Classmate Ray Harron was again solid for UR, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. Mayers (0-1) made his first start of the season for the Spiders but took the loss.
After The Citadel scored three runs in the top of the first inning, Cowell got the Spiders the board for the first time this season in the bottom of the frame. On a 2-2 count, Cowell blasted a shot deep the opposite way, easily clearing the right-field fence for his first home run of the season. The long-ball was the 26th in Cowell's career and cut the Bulldogs' lead to 3-1 after an inning and a half.
In the bottom of the second, The Citadel tacked on four more runs to its lead, taking advantage of three Richmond errors in the inning. In the top of the third, Mayers cut in to the Bulldogs lead with a homer of his own. Swinging at the first pitch, Mayers crushed the ball over the left-center field fence, scoring sophomore Mike Small. The blast was the 10th in Mayers career and shaved The Citadel lead to 7-3.
The Bulldogs answered right back in the bottom of the frame, scoring a pair of runs to push their lead to 9-3 after three innings. The fourth inning got off to a great start for the Spiders, as Ruzbarksy led off with a double to right field. Conway followed and promptly drove home his classmate with a triple to right-center field. Two batters later, Conway would score on a passed ball, cutting The Citadel lead to 9-5.
With the score 10-5 in favor of The Citadel in the top of the eighth, Cowell started the frame with a bang for the Spiders. On a 1-1 offering, Cowell blasted his second homer of the day deep over the fence in left-center field. The two-homer game was the second in the career for Cowell and cut the Spiders' deficit to 10-6.
The Spiders kept at it after Cowell's shot in the eighth. After Ruzbarsky tallied his third hit of the game, freshman Eric Flanagan singled to center and redshirt junior Matt Zink drew a walk to load the bases with just one out. Richmond was unable to do any more damage, however, as a foul out and a fly out ended the threat.
Trailing by four in the top of the ninth, Richmond staged a rally. After a leadoff walk to Small, Mayers singled to right field. Cowell was next up for UR and after falling behind in the count 0-2, battled back to draw a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Ruzbarsky followed, plating Small from third with a sacrifice fly to left field, cutting The Citadel lead to 10-7. Three runs would be as close as it would get, however, as a strikeout and fielder's choice ended the threat, securing the 10-7 win for The Citadel.
The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team will wrap up play at The Citadel Memorial Challenge on Sunday when UR will play the Towson University. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.