UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team dropped a hard-fought Atlantic 10 conference game to Xavier on Saturday afternoon, 7-6, at Pitt Field. With the setback, Richmond falls to 16-12 on the season overall and to 3-2 in conference play. With the victory, Xavier improves to 12-18 on the year and to 3-2 in league action.
Senior Bryan Conway went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, and two RBIs to lead the Spiders on Saturday. Sophomores Adam Forrer and Nick Poulos each had two hits, a double, and a RBI on the afternoon, while senior Chris Cowell and redshirt junior Adam McConnell each drove in a run.
On the mound, freshman Zak Sterling had a solid start, allowing three runs - two earned - in five innings of work. The freshman struck out four and allowed just three hits. Out of the bullpen, senior Alex Maffett (2-1) took the loss for Richmond.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Conway put the Spiders on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second. With one out, senior Phil Ruzbarsky singled to left-center field to get on base for his classmate Conway. The senior delivered for Richmond, smashing a two-run shot over the fence in right field. Conway's seventh homer of the season gave the Spiders a 2-0 lead after two.
Xavier would answer in the top of the fourth, tying the game with a pair of runs in the top half. Richmond came right back, scoring two runs of its own to take the lead right back. In the frame, Forrer and McConnell each had RBI singles, making the Richmond lead, 4-2, after four innings.
The Musketeers cut the lead to one in the fifth, scoring one run. In the bottom half of the fifth, Cowell hit a deep foul ball down the right field line, scoring sophomore Mike Small from third base to make the Spider lead 5-3.
Richmond added a run to its cushion in the bottom of the sixth, plating a run on a Poulos single to right field. After six complete innings, the Spiders held a 6-3 lead over Xavier.
Down three runs, the Musketeers chipped the lead down to a pair in the top of the seventh, scoring one run. Then in the top of the eighth, Xavier completed its comeback on a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Michael Moore, tying the game at 6-6 headed to the ninth.
In the top of the ninth inning, the Musketeers again struck with two outs, as XU's Tres Eberhardt drove home a run with a soft-lining single to center.
With the score 7-6 in favor of Xavier, the Spiders needed a rally in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Small doubled down the right-field line to get in to scoring position. Next up was junior Jacob Mayers, yesterday's hero for the Spiders. After falling behind early, Mayers fought back to force a full count with two away. On the offering, Mayers lined sharply to right field, but the Xavier outfielder was able to make the running catch, securing the one-run win for the Musketeers.
The Richmond Spiders baseball team will play the third and final game of its Atlantic 10 conference series with Xavier on Sunday at Pitt Field. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.