After’s Dwyer’s home run, the first of his collegiate career, had tied the game 1-1 in the fourth, Bill Cullen hit a one-out home run off Alan Watts (1-3) in the fifth inning. It was his second long ball of the contest, and one out later, Joey Cujas doubled and Brent Mikionis was hit by a pitch. An infield hit scored Cujas, and after a pitching change, a bunt single scored Mikionis to make it a 4-1 VCU (25-20) advantage. The Keydets (14-31) pulled within 4-2 with a run in the bottom half, but could get no closer the rest of the way.
Watts took the loss for the Keydets, allowing three runs in 1 2/3 innings, while Ryan Morrison (1-2) earned the victory for VCU by pitching 1 1/3 frames, giving up a hit and a walk. Blake Hauser allowed just a walk in a scoreless ninth to notch his ninth save.
After a scoreless first two innings, VCU scored in the third. With one out, Cullen hit a first pitch home run to right center for his third long ball of the season, making it a 1-0 game. The Rams would then put runners on second and third with only one out, but freshman Jonathan Kelley, making his first collegiate start, struck out Mikionis and got Chris Ayers on a fly ball to get out of the jam.
VMI tied the game in the fourth, as with one out, Dwyer ripped a line drive home run to dead center field, clearing the 390 sign by several feet. It was his first collegiate home run, and it tied the game, 1-1.
After VCU’s three-run uprising in the fifth, the Keydets scored in the bottom half. With two outs, Rob Dickinson hit a 2-0 fastball over the right-center field wall for a solo shot, his sixth of the year, cutting the Keydet deficit to 4-2. The visitors got that run back in the sixth, thanks to an RBI groundout by Jordan Weymouth, and neither team scored again until the eighth.
That frame saw Paul Nice be hit by a pitch, and Cullen followed with a single. John Garrett entered and induced a 5-4-3, around the horn double play, but Nice scored to make it a 6-2 game. It was that way into the Keydet half of the eighth, as reliever Matt Lees set down each of the first two VMI hitters before a pitching change. Matt Winn then greeted reliever Josh Alford with a home run to straightaway left field, his second homer of the season, making the score 6-3 and accounting for the final margin.
Tuesday’s contest marked VMI’s first three home run game of the season, as the Keydets had previously posted six two home run contests. Dickinson posted his third straight two-hit game, while Dwyer broke out of a slump with a 2 for 4 night.
Cullen had four hits in five trips to the plate to lead VCU.
VMI baseball will return to action Wednesday, as the Keydets travel to Blacksburg, Va. to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.