Game Preview: VCU Rams


Coming off a three-game series sweep of Maine over the weekend, Maryland is now on a four-game winning streak. After a brief stay at home in College Park, the Terps are off again for a road trip to take on VCU — the first midweek game of the year. 

The two sides faced off in the first weekend of the season during the Brittain Resorts Invitational, where the Terps earned their first win of the season by defeating VCU, 5-3.

Several hitters in the Maryland lineup had a productive series against Maine. As head coach Rob Vaughn has begun to solidify his everyday lineup, familiar faces are beginning to heat up at the plate.

Designated hitter Maxwell Costes, the Big Ten freshman of the week, has proved his value in the heart of the lineup, blasting three doubles and six RBIs in the three-game set. 

Outfielder Randy Bednar continued to stay hot at the plate from the opening weekend, hitting two home runs against Maine and bringing his batting average to .348. Utility player Michael Pineiro also went deep on Sunday, his first as a Terp after not playing a season ago.

The Terps are seeing a familiar face in VCU when they play them Tuesday, an oddity at this point in the season. Bednar, who shined all weekend for Maryland, was a key factor in the win with the game-winning RBI hit. 

After a late comeback by VCU, Maryland’s bullpen held the Rams scoreless for five consecutive innings. Closer John Murphy made his season debut, securing a six-out save.

VCU Rams (4-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

Last Season

VCU finished with a record 34-23 in 2018, but it failed to make a late postseason push, posting only three runs in the A10 tournament and missing out on the NCAA tournament. When the Rams played Maryland twice last season, the road team won each contest.

This Season

The Rams sit at a record of 4-2 on the season, picking up a win in their last three. At the Brittain Resorts Invitational, VCU went 1-2, with one of the losses coming from Maryland. In their conference, the Rams were picked to finish second in the preseason poll. After the game on Tuesday, VCU and Maryland face off once more in College Park in April.

Hitters to Watch

The Rams have several players in their starting lineup hitting over the .300 mark. Junior Paul Witt has headlined the VCU team thus far, posting a .375 average with three doubles. Last season, Witt led the team with 61 hits and 43 RBIs, starting all 57 games for the Rams.

Zac Ching leads the team in at-bats with 29 and is hitting .345 at the plate. He has hit two out of the park and drove in 12 RBIs in six games of work. Ching started both games against Maryland last season, reaching base with a hit in both matchups.

Relievers to Watch

Senior Mac McCarty has been the backbone of the Rams bullpen so far this season. In three appearances, the righty has a 1.80 ERA and two saves. A season ago, McCarty had the third-most saves in the country with 16.

Another productive arm for the Rams has been Jack Alkire. Over six innings of work, Alkire has yet to give up a run. With a 2.50 ERA in 2018, Alkire has been a staple in the VCU bullpen for consecutive seasons. Hitters are averaging an abysmal .050 against him this spring.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. ET


   1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.New_VCU_Wordmark_Logo