Championship Saturday was nothing short of eventful in Saint Louis. VCU Baseball had the upper hand heading into the A-10 Championship as the Rams faced off against #6 Davidson once again.
In order for #2 VCU to hoist the A-10 Tournament title in celebration, the Rams would have to defeat the Wildcats only one time. Davidson had the challenging task of getting back to back wins over VCU to become the A-10 champions.
Wildcats Hitting Early
Game 1 started out with a scoreless 1st inning between VCU and Davidson. As the 2nd inning got underway, the Wildcats struck the scoreboard with 3 runs coming home. Brett Centracchio reached the base via fielder’s choice and collected a RBI for the first score of the game as Eric Jones ran home.
Cam Johnson was able to bring in two more for Davidson after hitting a double that brought in Max Bazin and Centracchio. VCU was finally able to get that 3rd out to stop the bleeding temporarily as the Rams trailed 3-0 in the 2nd inning.
More Runs for Davidson
Michael Dailey had a tough time on the mound as the game continued. Justin Lebek read the pitch and launched the ball down the right field line for another Davidson double. Eric Jones advanced to third base while Alec Acosta made it home to make it 4-0 Wildcats.
Things got worse for VCU as Lebek made way to third on a balk and advancing Jones home. Holding on to a 5-0 lead over the Rams, Davidson doubled down with Will Robertson as he batted in two more runners in the top of the 4th inning.
When Mother Nature Calls
Everything was going Davidson’s way with a 7-0 lead until Mother Nature played part in Game 1 of the Atlantic 10 Championship. Lightning strikes were near the area of play as the umpires called a weather delay that lasted an hour and 35 minutes.
Play was able to resume in the top of the 5th inning. VCU decided to make a change at the mount and brought on Connor Gillispie. The Rams were not having any luck at bat with only recording 2 hits in total; Steven Carpenter and Logan Farrar had one each up to the 6th inning.
Gillispie was clocked in as the VCU pitcher collected 2 consecutive shutout innings to keep Davidson off the scoreboard; the Rams still had ground to gain trailing 7-0 in the 7th inning.
7th Inning Slam, 8th Inning Reply
Davidson once again went scoreless in the top of the 7th thanks to Gillispie’s pitching. Gillispie was able to strike out 3 Wildcats from the mound to give VCU momentum as the Rams headed into the batter’s box.
The Rams were able to make an impact in the bottom of the 7th as VCU loaded the bases. Alex Gransback faced a 3-2 pitch with 2 outs and delivered in the clutch with a thunderous grand slam past the left field fence. VCU was back in business trailing 7-4 as the game moved into the 8th inning.
Alec Acosta answered the call for Davidson as he turned Wildcat frowns sunny side up with a solo home run in the 8th. The Wildcats only recorded one hit against Gillispie up until that point as Davidson brought in another run to their 8-4 lead.
Coach Shawn Stiffler decided to switch pitchers in the 8th inning and brought out Matt Jamer from the VCU bullpen. With 2 outs to work with and Davidson runners on 1st and 2nd base, Jamer was able to get Lebek swinging on a strikeout to end the inning.
One More Game Needed
Hayden Moore was sent in to close out the 9th inning at the mound for VCU. Moore did just that as the Rams were able to keep the Wildcats scoreless. Mitchel Lacey, Dylan Isquirdo, and Logan Farrar went down consecutively in the bottom of the 9th to give Davidson the 8-4 win.
With this win, Davidson forced the second game against VCU to decide the Atlantic 10 Tournament champion. Game 2 will be played later this evening in Saint Louis.