CHAPEL HILL, N.C.----Virginia Commonwealth hit four home runs and won its 16th straight game, an 8-1 decision over Georgia in an NCAA Regional Friday at Boshamer Stadium.
A three-run home run from shortstop Connor Hujsak in the top of the first set the tone for the Rams as they improved to 41-18. Tyler Locklear had reached on a single followed by Logan Amiss who was hit by a pitch to set the stage for Hujsak's ninth home run of the year. VCU forced Bulldog right-hander Jonathan Cannon to throw 33 pitches in the inning. In the bottom of the first, Georgia put runners at the corners with two outs for Parks Harber but VCU left-hander Tyler Davis got him to fly out to end the inning. Locklear's run-scoring double extended the Rams lead to 4-0 in the second as they collected three more hits and left the bases loaded. In the second, Georgia got a leadoff double from senior second baseman Cory Acton to extend his hitting streak to five games, however he was stranded as the Rams maintained their edge. Overall, Georgia left 14 men on base on the night while the Rams stranded 17 baserunners.
In the third, Rams catcher Jacob Selden blasted his fourth home run, a solo shot to make it 5-0. VCU would leave the bases loaded for the second straight inning. Cannon was lifted after 3.2 innings, surrendering five runs on seven hits with two walks, three strikeouts and three hit batters. He threw 91 pitches. Davis Rokose pitched the next 0.2 innings and allowed one run before the Bulldogs looked to Will Pearson with two on and one out in the fifth. With the infield in, the Bulldogs made a couple of solid defensive plays to end the threat as Josh McAllister threw out a runner at home and Acton snared a liner.
In the sixth, VCU designated hitter Will Carlone connected for his eighth home run, a solo shot to extend the lead to 7-0. With one on and one out, Georgia brought in right-hander Michael Polk. After a couple of walks loaded the bases, he came back to strike out Locklear and Logan Amiss. Hujsak struck again to lead off the seventh, a blast to centerfield for an 8-0 lead. Polk tied his career high with five strikeouts in only 1.2 innings and gave up one run.
Bulldog graduate shortstop Cole Tate (2-for-4) smacked his sixth home run, a solo shot in the seventh to spoil the Rams shutout bid. Sophomore right-hander Bryce Melear pitched two scoreless innings for the Bulldogs. Georgia fell to 35-22. Davis, in a planned staff outing, notched the win to move his record to 5-2 while Cannon dropped to 9-4.
"We needed to get off a great start, and we didn't and VCU did," said Georgia's Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. "They had the early momentum in their dugout; they were the aggressors, and we couldn't get a hit with runners in scoring position. When they hit the ball hard, it left the park. When we did, it stayed in, and I thought Ben Anderson hit three out tonight, and they all were caught at the track or at the wall."
The Bulldogs now face Hofstra (30-22) in an elimination game Saturday at 1:06 p.m. In earlier action Friday, the top seed and host Tar Heels defeated Hofstra 15-4 to improve to 39-19. UNC will battle VCU in a winner's bracket matchup in the nightcap.