CHARLESTON, S.C. - Virginia Commonwealth came out swinging early and the Buccaneers were unable to keep pace as Charleston Southern fell in the series opener against the Rams on Friday afternoon, 13-4.
Chris Singleton provided fireworks for CSU (2-2) with a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Jason Miller added a RBI double to put the Bucs on the board in the sixth. However, VCU (2-2) pushed across six runs in the first two innings and rapped out 21 hits in the contest to take the win.
Wil Hartsell (0-2) suffered the loss for the Bucs after going the first 3.0 innings. The redshirt junior right-hander allowed 10 hits and seven runs while striking out two. Evan Nations went 4.0 innings in relief with the junior right-hander striking out four in the extended effort. Jaret Bennett, Tyler Pickard, and Corey Ireson also saw their first action on the mound in the 2017 season.
Michael Dailey (1-1) picked up the win for the Rams with the right-hander going the first five innings and scattering two hits while striking out three. Multiple VCU hitters recorded multi-hit games on Friday night with Darian Carpenter (4-for-6) and Mitchel Lacey (4-for-5) both recording four-hit games in the contest.
Nick Rabat opened the scoring for VCU in the top of the first with a two-out, two-run double driving in Zac Ching and Logan Farrar. The Rams added four more in the second inning with Daane Berezo connecting on a RBI double and Farrar following two batters later with a three-run homer to extend the early lead to 6-0.
Carpenter added to the VCU lead with a RBI double in the fourth. Brett Willett put out the Rams' second home run of the contest with a solo shot to lead off the fifth, staking VCU to the 8-0 lead.
The Bucs offense started connecting in the sixth as Nate Blanchard fought off several pitches before driving a lead-off double down the right field line. After Singleton sacrificed him to third, Jason Miller connected on a double to shallow left centerfield to put the Bucs on the scoreboard.
VCU added a pair of runs on back-to-back sacrifice flies in the seventh off the bats of Haiden Lamb and Paul Witt.
CSU answered in the seventh as the Bucs took advantage of a pair of walks before Singleton cleared the bases with a blast to left centerfield. Brandon Gragilla and Kyle Vesnesky both drew walks against reliever Ryan Fox before Singleton came through with his first home run of the 2017 season to narrow the lead down to 10-4.
VCU added its final three runs in the top of the eighth and the Bucs were unable to mount a rally over their final two at-bats in the loss.
- Nate Blanchard recorded his third multi-hit game of the season, giving the CSU senior infielder 48 multi-hit games in his career. Blanchard recorded a pair of three-hit games in the opening series against Delaware State.
- Chris Singleton became the second Buccaneer to touch them all this season with his three-run home run in the seventh inning. He joined Cole German (walk-off solo home run on 2/18) as the only two Bucs to leave the yard in 2017.
- Jason Miller's double was his second two-bagger of the season to lead the Bucs in the category. He is also tied for CSU's RBI lead with Singleton (3).
"They definitely didn't quit which was good to see. They played hard all nine innings. We got some guys in their for their first college experience, so that was another positive from today. I told these guys we start 0-0 tomorrow. We've got a good guy on the mound and we've got to do a little better job of getting ahead of these hitters. They're a good hitting team and we've got to do our part to attack early in the count so we're not behind all day." - Interim Head Coach Adam Ward on the Friday night opener.
Tomorrow's Probable Starters
Redshirt senior Kyle Dyson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is projected to get the start for Charleston Southern. Sophomore Sean Thompson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is slated to toe the rubber for the Rams.
First pitch between CSU and VCU in Saturday's game is set for 4 p.m. The Bucs and the Rams will close out the series on Sunday with a 2 p.m. start time.