Baseball finish second in A-10

Rising sophomore infielder Matt Davis stop a base run by Lasalle University. Photo by Audry Dubon.

Kris Mason
Contributing Writer

The VCU baseball team’s season ended with a lost to George Mason University 3-2 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament final on May 24 in St. Louis, Missouri.

In order to win the A-10 championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, VCU needed to defeat George Mason twice due to the double elimination format. VCU entered the contest having already suffered a lost the day prior to GMU 3-0 while GMU entered the potenial championship game unbeaten. The men’s baseball team fell short in the 10 innings affair, extending the streak of having not reached the NCAA postseason since 2010.

The championship game took place the day after VCU played a double-header, including a 16 inning marathon in which the Rams defeated Saint Louis University 8-6 on May 23. The aforementioned loss to GMU made the contest versus SLU a must-win game. On May 22, in the second round tournament game, the Rams defeated SLU handing the Billiken’s their first loss in the tournament. The day prior, VCU defeated University of Richmond 5-2 in the opening round of the tournament.

Despite the disappointing end result, the Ram’s 2013-14 season was an improvement from last year. The Rams finished 37-20 overall with a conference record of 15-10, good for a fourth place finish in the A-10. In the 2012-13 season, VCU finished 28-26 overall with a conference record of .500 (12-12).

Senior outfielder Bill Cullen and junior infielder Vimael Machin had their individual efforts rewarded when both were named to the second team American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-East Region team. Cullen and Machin finished first and second, respectively, as leaders in RBI in the A-10. Additionally, the two alongside senior catcher Chris Ayers were named to second team A-10 while freshman infielder/outfielder Logan Farrar was named to the A-10 all-rookie team.

The majority of the 2013-14 VCU baseball team is expected to return next season, while key seniors depart the team. Most notably Cullen, who led the team in home runs, triples and doubles. Cullen is VCU’s all-time leader in triples and has the second most doubles and at-bats in school history. Other notable losses include seniors Ayers, infielders Joey Cujas and Trevor Marino, and pitchers Seth Greene.

This Fall, the Rams will welcome a recruiting class that will attempt to replace some of the production that was lost due to graduation. One member of that class is Haiden Lamb, who is from the Greater Richmond area. The 5-foot-10 inch outfielder attended Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Virginia and excelled in both baseball and track and field.

Despite the influx of talent and the strong core of returning players from this past season, VCU will likely be challenged in the A-10 next season due to growing competion in the conference.

Saint Joseph’s University will return four players that were named to first team all-conference in 2014, but will have to address a large number of seniors departing the program. Of the eight Hawks named to either the A-10 first or second team, six were graduating seniors. Significantly among those seniors are 2014 A-10 Player of the Year Collin Forgey and Pitcher of the Year Jordan Carter.

GMU is expected to return the majority of its roster for the upcoming season and are early favorites to repeat as A-10 champions.

Under head coach Shawn Stiffler’s leadership, the Rams should be in contention for the A-10 title next season.

The new baseball season starts February 2015.

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