RICHMOND, Va. — Shane Cameron allowed just three hits and one earned run in six innings of work Saturday afternoon in Richmond, Va., and Matt Payton went 5-for-6 with two home runs in a 15-3 WKU win over VCU. Cameron fanned four en route to his second win of the season, and Payton extended his career-long hitting streak to 18 games with his third five-hit game of his career. He also hit two home runs, giving him three in a span of seven at-bats and a team-high six on the season. The Hilltoppers have now won six of seven overall and 12 of their last 13 weekend games and are 15-5 on the year. VCU has dropped six-straight and is now 9-9.
Payton's five hits and four runs scored were both season-highs for the senior and led a 15-run and 17-hit WKU parade. The Hilltoppers have now scored 94 runs on 105 hits in their last seven games, also blasting 14 home runs and hitting .367 as a team. Joining Payton in lighting up the hit column on Saturday were Jared Andreoli, Matt Rice and Jake Wells, who each had three hits. All three of Rice's hits were doubles, giving him five two-baggers in his last two games. Andreoli and Wells also each drove in three runs, and Rice scored four times.
Cameron was perfect through three-and-two-thirds innings and allowed only five baserunners in the game. Taylor Haydel and Rye Davis combined to work the final three innings of the game, holding VCU to four hits and one earned run.
The top of the WKU lineup was on fire right from the start of the game, as Payton and Andreoli each singled and doubled in the first and third innings to help WKU to its first three runs of the game. The Hilltoppers scored three times in the third and put up a five-spot in the fourth to lead 9-0 after three-and-a-half innings. Payton's home run down the right-field line and an RBI double by Rice provided the sparks for WKU in the fourth. Cameron allowed his first baserunner in the bottom of the fourth, but stranded Doug Otto on second after his two-out double.
WKU went scoreless in the fifth inning, and Cameron induced a double-play to erase a one-out walk and keep the score 9-0 in favor of WKU after five innings.
The Hilltoppers sent nine men to the plate for the third time in the game and fifth time this weekend in the sixth inning, scoring four runs on three hits to extend their lead to 13-0. Rice and Ryan Huck walked to start the inning, and both came in to score when Casey Dykes ripped a double down the left-field line. Wells followed with a single, and Matt Borgschulte was hit by a pitch before Blake Crabtree's RBI fielder's choice. After Payton was retired for the only time in the game on a strikeout, Andreoli singled to left-center to score Wells.
The Rams finally broke through and touched Cameron for two runs, one earned, in the bottom of the sixth. Haydel relieved Cameron in the bottom of the seventh, allowing singles in each of his two innings of work but no runs. The Hilltoppers scored their 15th and final run of the game in the top of the eighth, when Payton roped a one-out home run to left-center field.
Davis pitched entered to pitch the ninth, facing five batters and giving up a single and an RBI double but striking out the side.
WKU has won five-straight games against the Rams, including a three-game sweep in Bowling Green, Ky., in 2009. In those five games, WKU has outscored VCU 77-31.
Up Next: WKU will go for its third weekend sweep of the season Sunday against VCU. First pitch is set for 11:00 AM (CT). Tanner Perkins will get the ball for the Hilltoppers. Following Sunday's contest against VCU, the Hilltoppers head to Murray State on Wednesday before returning to Nick Denes Field for a three-game series with ULM beginning Friday, March 26.