VCU takes game two from JMU, 9-3
Seth Cutler-Voltz tossed a complete game while Joey Cujas and Vimael Machin paced the offense in a 9-3 VCU win over James Madison to even a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series at one game apiece on Saturday night at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
VCU improved to 29-22 overall and 14-15 in the CAA. JMU fell to 16-30-2 overall and 10-16 in conference play.
Cutler-Voltz took a shutout into the ninth inning before JMU struck for three late runs. He held on to post his first complete game of the season and eighth of his career while improving to 5-3 this year. He struck out six to move into 10th place on the VCU career list while scattering 10 hits over his nine innings of work.
Cujas and Machin each had three hits in the game, including two-run home runs, the second of the season for each player. They combined for six of VCU’s 10 hits in the game. The Rams also benefitted from five JMU errors in the game, which matched the season high for the Dukes.
Redshirt freshman Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) took the loss (1-3) after allowing seven runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 innings. He surrendered seven of VCU’s 10 hits. Senior Josh Futter (Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake) allowed two runs in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
Junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby), junior left fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) and senior right fielder Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) each hit two hits in the game for JMU.
VCU struck first in the game with three consecutive two-out singles by Cujas, right fielder Taylor Buran and designated hitter Chris Ayers brought in the first run of the game.
In the second, first baseman Brent Mikionis was hit by a pitch and came all the way around on a double deep to left center by catcher Taylor Perkins. Left fielder Paul Nice then laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached on a fielder’s choice. The throw to third was in time but third baseman Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) was unable to hold onto the ball and apply the tag. Perkins came in to score the third VCU run on a double play.
Cujas smacked the second offering from Howerton in the third inning to left field for a solo shot to make it 4-0 for VCU. The Rams kept the inning going with a two-out triple by Machin, who scored on an error at first base on a ground ball to make it 5-0.
Machin rocked a two-run home run to right field with one out in the fifth to make it 7-0 for VCU.
In the seventh, a walk and a single put two on with one out for VCU. Mikionis fouled out to shallow right field just beyond the infield. The throw home beat the runner, causing a rundown play. However, no JMU players were able to cover the plate at one point to allow the run to score.
VCU added a run in the eighth on an RBI double by Cujas to make it 9-0.
JMU avoided the shutout in the ninth as Shaban doubled and freshman shortstop Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) smacked an RBI single. Roberts added an RBI double, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Bladel.
The game also included senior ceremonies for James Madison with Futter, Haynes, first baseman Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) and pitcher Sean Tierney (Midlothian, Va./Clover Hill) each honored during their final home weekend.
The series will conclude Sunday afternoon with a 2 p.m. first pitch in JMU’s regular season finale.