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VCU takes game two in JMU series

Freshman Landon Prentiss went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a RBI, and Virginia Commonwealth University evened the three-game series against James Madison with a 4-2 victory Saturday evening at The Diamond.

VCU improves to 7-11 overall with a 1-1 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play. James Madison slips to 14-5, 6-2.

Senior John Lenherr and junior Paul Nice each collected two hits for the Rams, while junior Taylor Perkins and senior Ryan Caldwell drove in runs for VCU.

Sophomore Kyle Haynes, who finished with six strikeouts, allowed one run on five hits in six innings of work to pick up his second win of the season. Junior Kyle Pelchy tossed the final two innings and recorded his first save. Alex Valadja suffered the loss for James Madison after surrendering four runs, three earned, with nine strikeouts in seven frames.

Perkins singled into left to start the second inning and Prentiss roped a two-out double down the left field line that put VCU on top 1-0.

The Rams then built a two-run lead in the bottom of the third when freshman Joey Cujas, who walked with no outs, scored all the way from first on a wild throw by Valadja. Nice legged out an infield single but Valadja’s throw to first sailed past the bag and allowed VCU to take a 2-0 lead.

After James Madison stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the third, the Dukes tried to scratch across a run in the fifth with two more runners on and one out but Haynes got Johnny Bladel to ground into an inning-ending double play and the Rams preserved the lead.

It wasn’t until the sixth that the Dukes got on the board. Cole McInturff reached on an infield single to start the frame. He then stole second and scored on a groundout by David Herbek two batters later, and James Madison pulled within 2-1.

Ian Haynes started the seventh with an infield single and stole second to put the tying run in scoring position with no outs for the Dukes. Bradley Shaban then walked but Haynes was later thrown out trying to steal third. With the tying run still 180 feet away, reliever Brennen Huelse came in and struck out Jake Lowery to keep James Madison off the board.

The Rams then added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth as a RBI groundout by Perkins and a single off the bat of Caldwall extended VCU’s lead to 4-1.

James Madison tried to spark a rally in the top of the ninth when Tyler McFarland drew a leadoff walk and scored on a sacrifice fly from Bladel, but it was all the Dukes could manage as Pelchy got McInturff to ground out to end the game.