Rams, Spiders victorious on opening day

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - While March Madness approaches for college hoops, Division I college baseball is just beginning, as teams opened up their 2013 campaigns on Friday.  For VCU and Richmond, the season is off to a good start.

Rams head coach Shawn Stiffler collected his first career head coaching victory since having his interim tag lifted in the off-season, as VCU downed Boston College, 4-1, in the first game of the Elon Invitational.

The Rams struck first early, as Joey Cujas knocked in Bill Cullen for the first run of the season in the bottom of the first.  After the Eagles tied it in the second, James Bunn broke the tie for good in the fifth with an RBI double, and the Rams added two more in the seventh to round out the scoring.

Landon Prentiss was 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored. Heath Dwyer got the victory on the mound, throwing six strong innings, giving up seven hits and one run, while striking out four and walking just one.  Matt Lees capped off the day on the mound with three perfect innings and two strikeouts.

The Rams continue play Saturday at Elon, as they battle Marist at 4:00pm.

Meanwhile, the Richmond Spiders baseball team opened the 2013 season with an impressive, 10-4 win over the Bucknell Bison at Pitt Field on Friday afternoon.

Making his first collegiate start, redshirt freshman Jonathan de Marte (1-0) earned the win, striking out eight batters while surrendering just two runs in five innings pitched.

Eight players tallied hits for Richmond on the afternoon, with senior Matt Zink going 4-for-5 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored.  Freshmen Aaron Newman and Tanner Stanley each homered for the Spiders, while Bret Williams and Eric Flanagan ach drove in a pair.

With Bucknell leading 1-0, Newman led off the fifth inning with a towering shot down the left-field line that tied the game at 1-1.

After an error, a Zink single and a walk to Stanley, the bases were loaded with one out for Williams.  The senior first baseman plated a pair with a single to center, while freshman Jansen Fraser followed with a RBI single to center field.   After five full, Richmond led Bucknell, 5-1.

After a RBI single from Zink in the sixth, Flanagan made the Spider advantage 8-4 in the seventh with a two-run single up the middle.  Richmond capped its scoring in the eighth, when Stanley played long ball, hitting a two-run shot over the fence in right field.

While the Spider offense was clicking, the bullpen was also going well.  Sophomore James Lively pitched two strong innings, allowing two unearned runs while striking out three.  Redshirt sophomore Dylan Stoopsinished the game out, allowing just one hit and striking out a pair in his two innings of work.

Richmond will continue its three-game series with Bucknell on Saturday at Pitt Field.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:00pm.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.