RICHMOND, Va. –Drew Arciuoloand Troy Scoccatallied three hits apiece and almost helped the Fairfield University baseball team in an upset bid, but last season’s NCAA saves leader Sam Donko shutdown the Stags in the ninth as Fairfield fell 4-3 to host VCU. Freshman Josh Arnoldalso impressed on the mound, tossing two scoreless innings for the Stags.
VCU (4-5) got on the board first when Logan Farrar brought in a run with a RBI single to right in the bottom of the first. It was the first of two RBI for the senior.
The Stags (2-3) showed fight as they drew the game even in the next frame. After Scocca led off the inning with a single up the middle, he was sacrificed over to second by Jack Gethings. After a groundout brought Scocca to third, Tim Zengworked out a walk, putting runners on the corners with two out. The duo then pulled off a double steal, as Scocca raced home with the game-tying run. Scocca became the first Stag since Jake Salpietroin 2013 to record a steal of home.
After starter John Signoreset the Rams down 1-2-3 in the second with two strikeouts, the Stags took the lead in the third. Kevin Radziewiczbrought home Arciuolo with a RBI double and would later score on a RBI single from Scocca, giving Fairfield a 3-1 lead.
Signore almost wiggled out of trouble in the third after loading the bases with nobody out. Signore struck out VCU’s 2016 home run leader Darian Carpenter for the first out of the inning. Signore then got the second out, but the Rams picked up a run with a fielder’s choice, putting the score at 3-2. The turning point of the game came when freshman Brett Willett dribbled a two-out two-run single through the right side, bringing in the tying and go-ahead run.
That is all junior Sean Thompson needed for the Rams, as the righty struck out 12 Stags in his seven innings of work. In order to try and make a threat, the Stags used their speed in the sixth as Scocca picked up his second steal of the game, swiping second to give Fairfield a runner in scoring position. That was a theme throughout the ball game as Fairfield stole five bases. However, Thompson got out of trouble with a strikeout.
The Stags will now play the middle game of the series on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2pm.