In a tournament designed for the #1 seed to flourish, VCU put themselves in prime position with a 9-4 victory over George Washington.
Brooks Vial matched up with GW pitcher Elliot Raimo. The Colonials’ starter could only get through two innings; he left after his first pitch in the third inning due to an injury. Raimo surrendered 2 runs on 3 hits. VCU pushed across another run in the third to extend their lead to 3-1.
GW called upon their closer Eddie Muhl to replace Raimo. Muhl kept his team in the game until a disastrous 7th broke open the game. With a 5-3 lead and the bases loaded, Mitchell Lacey brought everybody home with a double. The Rams finished the 7th up 9-3; the game was decided, now it was up to Jonathan Ebersole to make sure no more relievers were necessary. The senior worked through the GW lineup rapidly, preserving his bullpen.
Vial Holds Back The Buff And Blue
Brooks Vial faced adversity in nearly every inning but avoided a meltdown. Vial delivered 6 innings of work allowing 3 earned runs on 9 hits. The A10 second teamer struck out 3 and walked 3. The senior did his part to help his fellow arms moving forward in the tournament. Vial earned his 9th victory of the season.
They Can Hit Too
Mitchell Lacey, from the 8 spot, delivered time and again for the Rams. He went 4-4 with a HR, double, 5 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. Alex Gransback came through with 2 RBI’s early in the game as a part of his 2 hit day. The only other multi-hit day came from Dylan Isquirdo. As a team they reached bases via BB or HBP 8 times.
The Rams advanced to Friday against 6th seeded Davidson at 1PM eastern.
Davidson upset #3 St. Bonaventure while #7 George Mason upset #2 Rhode Island, those games took place on Wednesday. Davidson proceeded to send GMU to the loser’s bracket with a 6-3 victory.
We’ve Met Before
The Wildcats advanced to Friday on the arms of their best pitchers. Durin O’Linger and Robert Evans combined to throw 16 of their team’s 18 innings. They allowed only 5 runs on 14 hits during that span, while striking out 11 and walking 4. Outside of VCU, who only played one game, Davidson will have the most well preserved bullpen of any team still playing on Friday.
The Cats will probably send Josh Smutzer to the mound. Smutzer was a decent starter for his team, with a 4.35 ERA in 13 starts. Of the three Davidson starters, Smutzer has the highest ERA, AVG against (.292) and K/BB ratio (1.17). He has already faced this VCU lineup earlier in the season, throwing just 2.1 innings and allowing 5 runs.
The Black and Gold could send either Sean Thompson or Michael Dailey to the mound; both faced the Wildcats in April. Neither pitcher was particularly sharp against Davidson, read about their performances in that series here https://vcusports.com/baseball/rams-take-2-1-series-victory-davidson-wildcats/.
If the Rams defeat Davidson they will advance to championship Saturday, where they will be one win away from an A10 title and an auto-bid to the NCAA tournament. A loss sends them to the loser’s bracket where they’ll face whoever survives on Thursday and wins their first game on Friday.
Keep track of the official A10 bracket here- http://www.atlantic10.com/fls/31600/pdfs/17-base-bracket.pdf?CONTENT_ID=1872562&DB_OEM_ID=31600