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VCU Holds Off GW to Open Double Header

The bottom of the order produced the offense while Joey Hoeymans and Brian Curley combined to hold the George Washington bats at bay as Virginia Commonwealth surged to a 6-2 win on Friday afternoon. At 9-5 in the Atlantic 10 and only a game back of conference leaders Dayton, the Rams were keen to start the day off in the right way. GW, on the other hand, came into this weekend a game ahead of George Mason for the 7th and final seed in this month's A-10 Tournament.

After two frustrating innings against George Washington's ace Teddy Brennan in which every ball put in play was a ground ball, the Rams were able to to capitalize on some shaky pitching in the third inning. It started with a lead off double by senior shortstop William Bean and continued with a hit batter and a defensive miscue that allowed a fielder's choice to load the bases with no outs. A wild pitch to Eli Weisner allowed the first run of the game to score before Weisner grounded out to second to make it 2-0 Rams. Left fielder Jake Thilges hit just his third double of the year to drive in Chris McHugh and make it 3-0 before Brennan was able to escape the inning.

Brennan would ultimately give up a season high 5 earned runs over 5.1 innings of work. He gave way to freshman righty Andrew Cutler with the Revolutionaries trailing VCU 5-0. The Rams offense was led by their 6-9 hitters, who combined to go 5-13 with 3 doubles and two walks on the day. William Bean in particular shined after going 2-3 with a double and reaching base three times. Star third baseman Brandon Eike, who led the A-10 in hits coming into today's game, checked in with an RBI single late in the game for his 62nd hit of the year.

VCU pitcher Jack Hoeymans, making his 4th start of the season, dazzled for 3 innings as he struck out 5 GW hitters while allowing no extra base hits or runs. As is normal for the Rams this season, he made way for the A-10's current ERA leader Brian Curley, who came into the day with a sparkling 2.33 ERA over 54.0 innings of work. Curley went the rest of the way earned his first save. The sophomore right hander went six innings in relief and gave up just two earned runs on four hits while striking out four. Curley threw 106 pitches and his ERA actually rose to 2.45.

The Revolutionaries would finally scratch across a run in the top of the 7th to cut the deficit to 5-1 and senior first baseman Brett Young clubbed his first solo home run of the year in the 8th to make it 5-2, forcing the Rams to sweat out the final two innings. Eike's RBI single in the bottom of the 8th would add some insurance to make it 6-2 VCU heading to the bottom of the 9th.

George Washington went 1-2-3 and the Rams held on to win 6-2. Outfielder Sam Gates led the way for the Revolutionaries after going 2-5 in the leadoff spot with an RBI. Andrew Cutler, who came on in relief of Teddy Brennan, was impressive in 2.2 innings of relief. The freshman gave up just one earned run while striking out 5.

The second game of the double header will start at approximately 6:00 PM as Virginia Commonwealth looks to clinch a critical series win in their final conference home series.

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