Longwood baseball uses team effort to power past VCU

Published 1:45 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

It took a full effort, but the Longwood baseball team earned a hard-fought 8-6 win over VCU to close out non-conference play Tuesday night. Gregory Ryan Jr, Elliot Dix and Drayven Kowalski all had three base hits to lead the offense, and the bullpen closed it out for Longwood’s (20-28) first win over VCU (23-26) since 2016.

 Longwood baseball, by the numbers

 In the first inning, Gregory Ryan Jr. wasted no time. The redshirt-senior hammered a two-run home run to center field for a quick 2-0 lead.

After VCU tied the game in the fifth, Ryan again delivered. He poked an RBI single through the right side to regain the lead. The Lancers added one more when Dix scored on Luis DeLeon’s RBI fielder’s choice.

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VCU took the lead in the seventh but Longwood had the answer. Drew Camp scored Dix to tie the game and Haden Harris singled home Ryan for the 7-6 lead. Dix added an insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth.

The bullpen made sure it stuck, as multiple relievers came up with big stops.

In the fifth, VCU threatened to break the game wide open. The Rams tied the game at three and had the bases loaded with one out. Enter Aiden Vanvickle. The right-hander came out of the bullpen and struck out back-to-back batters to escape the jam.

VCU again threatened in the sixth and cut the lead to one, but Sean Gibbons entered in relief with two on and one out. He promptly retired the next two batters to preserve the Longwood lead.

After Longwood took the lead for good in the seventh. Dominick D’Ercole and Logan Berrier closed it down in the final two innings. D’Ercole struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth, and Berrier added a strikeout to earn the save in the ninth.

Wyatt Bunch (1-1) earned his first collegiate win after coming in on relief in the seventh.

Nick Fraizer (0-1) took the relief loss for VCU.

 ‘A huge win’

“It was a huge win for us,” said Longwood head coach Chad Oxendine. “It’s been a long time since we beat VCU, and it was a good game. They fought back and wouldn’t let us take the lead. They kept battling back, but our guys didn’t quit. We hung in there and got some big timely hits and were able to pull one out.”

Oxendine said the coaching staff talks all the time about his team’s tenacity. He realizes they’ll have to show that toughness to finish strong over the next week. 

“Our record isn’t where we want it to be, everyone knows that, but I hope it is a sign not only to the people involved in our program but the community, the university that we’re fighting and we’re going to keep getting better and better,” Oxendine added. “We’ve got six more left. We’ve got to give everything we’ve got for these last six.”

More Longwood baseball notes

  • Longwood snapped a seven game losing streak against VCU.
  • Longwood had its 17th game with at least 10 hits. The team is 14-3 when outhitting its opponent.
  • This is the 12th time the Lancer pitching staff has struck-out at least 10 batters. The team struck-out 11.
  • Ryan hit his 12th  homer of the season on Tuesday.
  • Dix had his 20th multi-hit game of the season. It was his fifth three hit game. He also scored three runs.
  • Ryan had his 14th multi-hit game and his 15th multi-RBI game. He leads Longwood with 54 RBI, and he had three RBI in the game.
  • Kowalski had his fourth multi-hit game. It was his first three-hit game of the season.
  • Dylan Wilkinson had two hits for his fourth multi-hit game of the season.

What’s next?

The Lancers will go up against Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina in a three game series starting this Friday, May 12. Friday’s game begins at 6 p.m.