PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team dropped its Atlantic 10 conference opener on the road Friday afternoon, falling to the La Salle Explorers, 5-2. With the loss, the Spiders fall to 13-10 on the season and to 0-1 in conference play. With the win, La Salle improves to 15-10 on the year and to 3-1 in league action.
Sophomore Mike Small had a pair of hits, a RBI, and a run scored while junior Jacob Mayers had a pair of hits to pace the Richmond offense. Senior Phil Ruzbarsky and sophomore Adam Forrer also had hits on the afternoon.
On the mound, Mayers had a very nice outing despite not figuring in the decision. The junior tossed seven innings of three-hit baseball, allowing just two earned runs while striking out five. Out of the bullpen, sophomore Andrew Brockett (0-4) took the loss for the Spiders.
After a scoreless first two innings, the Spiders took advantage of a pair of La Salle miscues to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. With two outs, Small reached on an infield single to second base. The sophomore then got in to scoring position for Mayers on a balk called on the Explorers' pitcher. After fouling off numerous 2-2 offerings, Mayers grounded sharply to the La Salle shortstop, but the SS was unable to field it cleanly, allowing Small to score from second as the ball went in to the outfield.
The Richmond lead didn't last long, however, as La Salle tied the game in the bottom of the third on a RBI groundout from Adam Kammler.
Through the middle innings, hits and runs were at a premium as both team's starting pitchers were limiting the offense. With the game still tied, 1-1, the Explorers took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Marc Schoch.
In the top of the seventh, the Spiders responded and tied the game at 2-2. After walks to both Eric Flanagan and Zink, runners were on first and second with two outs for Small. Swinging at the first pitch, Small singled sharply to left field, scoring the pinch runner Nick Poulos from second and tying the game at 2-2.
With the game still tied in the bottom of the eighth, the Explorers were able to push three runs across in the frame, taking a 5-2 lead to the top of the ninth.
In the top of the ninth, Richmond had runners on second and third with one out, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the Spider threat and Richmond fell to La Salle, 5-2.
The Richmond Spiders baseball team will continue its Atlantic 10 conference series with the La Salle Explorers on Saturday. First pitch in Philadelphia is scheduled for 1 p.m.