PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team opened up Atlantic 10 conference play with a road series win at La Salle thanks to a 7-5 victory over the Explorers on Sunday afternoon. With the win, Richmond improves its record to 15-10 overall and to 2-1 in conference play. With the loss, La Salle falls to 15-12 on the year and to 3-3 in league action.
Senior Bryan Conway and junior Jacob Mayers led the way offensively for Richmond. Conway had a triple, double, and two RBIs, while Mayers went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs driven in. Redshirt-junior Matt Zink went 4-for-5 with a double, a RBI, and two runs scored while senior Chris Cowell had two hits and a RBI.
Out of the bullpen, sophomore Andrew Blum (4-1) was tremendous, pitching the final six innings to earn the win. Blum did not allow a run, surrendering just four hits while striking out five.
After La Salle took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, the Spiders responded in the top of the third. With one out, Zink blasted a double off the wall in left field. After a walk to sophomore Mike Small, Mayers took the first pitch he saw in to center field, scoring Zink from second with a RBI single.
With the score 3-1, senior Phil Ruzbarsky drew a walk. On the ensuing throw back to the mound, the Explorers' pitcher did not see the throw from his catcher, allowing the ball to hit off his arm. Taking advantage, Small darted home from third on the error, cutting the lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, La Salle extended its lead to 5-2, pushing across a pair of runs in the frame.
Trailing by three, Richmond responded with two runs of its own in the top of the fifth. After singles from Zink and Small and an error, runners were on second and third for Mayers. On a 1-0 count, Mayers tallied his third hit of the day, plating Zink with a RBI single to right field. Cowell followed, scoring Small from second on a bloop single to right, cutting the deficit to 5-4.
In the top of the sixth, the Spiders kept scoring, tying the game at 5-5 on a looping single to left field off the bat of Zink. Zink's third hit of the day scored McConnell who tripled to left-center field.
The scoring surge continued in the top of the seventh, with the Spiders taking their first lead of the day. With one out, Cowell doubled to right-center field. Two batters later, runners were on the corners with one out after a failed pickoff attempt and a Ruzbarsky hit-by-pitch. Swinging at the first pitch, Conway cleared the bases with his second double of the day, giving Richmond a 7-5 lead.
With the score still 7-5 in favor of Richmond, the game headed to the bottom of the ninth. Blum was able to record the first two outs of the frame quickly, but La Salle then staged a rally and loaded the bases. Like he did all day, Blum fought right back, inducing a game-ending lineout to secure the win for the Spiders, 7-5.
The Richmond Spiders baseball team will be back in action on Tuesday, April 3 when the Spiders will head to Lexington, Va. to play in-state rival VMI. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.