UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The University of Richmond Spiders baseball team used a three-run fifth inning to help defeat the VMI Keydets at Pitt Field on Wednesday, 5-4.
With the win, Richmond improved to 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 2009, while VMI fell to 0-4 with the loss.
Richmond was led offensively by senior 1B Bret Williams and freshman OF Jansen Fraser on the afternoon. Williams went 2-for-4 with a double, while Fraser knocked in a pair of runs with a two-out single in the seventh. Senior OF Matt Zink, junior SS Mike Small and freshman OF Tanner Stanley all drove in runs in the victory as well.
On the mound, it was a solid all-around staff day for the Spiders. Sophomore LHP Chris Bates got the start and pitched three hitless innings, while freshman LHP Ryan Donnelly (1-0) went an inning to get his first career victory. Sophomore LHP Dylan Stoops closed the game out to secure his first collegiate save.
"I thought Bates gave us a quality start, coming out and giving us three good innings on a day where we knew we were going to throw a lot of pitchers," Richmond head coach Mark McQueen said following the win. "Offensively, Williams had a great day swinging the bat and Nick Poulos continued his hot bat. We're going to try and mix some lineups here early on, get everybody in and get everybody used to playing."
VMI got on the board first on Wednesday afternoon, pushing across a run in the top of the fourth to take a 1-0 lead. The Spiders responded in the fifth, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth to seize control of the game.
After Poulos reached to start the inning with one of his two singles on the day, freshman Tyler Beckwith reached on an error after trying to sacrifice the runner in to scoring position. After a fielder's choice loaded the bases, Small beat the VMI pitcher to first base, legging out an infield single to tie the game at 1-1.
Following Small, Zink lined a ball off the VMI pitcher, giving Richmond a lead with a RBI single. Next up was Stanley, who hit a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Spiders a 3-1 lead.
VMI cut the lead in half with a run in the top of the sixth, but Jansen gave the Spiders a three-run cushion with a clutch hit in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and runners on second and third, Jansen lined a single up the middle for a two-run hit that made the Spider advantage 5-2.
VMI threatened in the ninth, but Stoops successfully closed the game out, securing the 5-4 win for Richmond.
Wednesday's game was one of firsts for the Spiders as four freshmen made their Richmond debuts. Along with Beckwith and Donnelly, pitchers Peter Bayer and Dan Martinson all got game action for the first time.
The Richmond Spiders hit the road for the first time this season this weekend, as the team heads south for a three-game set with Jacksonville. The series begins on Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.