Davidson held back the dangerous VCU offense for seven innings however; the Rams went on parade in the eighth. VCU scored 5 runs while sending 11 runners to the plate in the decisive 8th to take a 6-3 lead. Sam Donko slammed the door on the Wildcats and opened the door to championship Saturday.
Sean Thompson faced off against Allen Barry. Thompson of course is VCU’s Friday starter while Barry hadn’t appeared in a game since mid-March after an injury and was making just his 5th start. It’s a match-up that figured to heavily favor Thompson but he would be out dueled by his Wildcat counterpart.
Alec Acosta gave the Cats an immediate jolt of life when he hit a 2 run homer in the first inning. Thompson walked the lead-off hitter and Acosta crushed his third home run of the tournament.
A10 Player of the Year, Logan Farrar gave VCU its first run with an RBI single the following inning.
A Lot Of Nothing
Both teams were held scoreless for the next four innings yet there was plenty of tension during that time. Thompson only pitched through 4.1 innings. The junior struggled with his command all day, despite 5 walks he held it together; the home run was the only hit he allowed. Benjamin Dum came into pitch 2.2, he allowed a run on two hits. Dum also had a walk and a strikeout.
Thompson’s counterpart was superb despite defensive miscues; Barry threw 6+ innings allowing just 1 run on 6 hits and 4 BB. Two of those hits absolutely should have been called errors, so Barry’s numbers could have looked better.
He left the game in the 7th with two on and no outs, Ausitn Leonard relieved him. Leonard wiggled his was out of the inning with no damage done.
Leonard’s offense gave him another run to work with when they strung together a single and double to go up 3-1.
At this point VCU had 6 hits and 5 walks but couldn’t generate a breakthrough inning and they were running out of time. Leonard went out for the 8th and he would fail to record an out. Darian Carpenter led off with a walk then Brett Willett singled to put runners on the corners.
VCU saw two similar opportunities in the 5th and 6th frames where they failed to capitalize but those situations had one thing in common; Zac Ching never came to the plate. In the 8th, Ching delivered an RBI single bringing the deficit to one run.
Coffee Is For Donko Only
That hit prompted Davidson’s manager Dick Cooke to summon his closer from the bullpen. Westin Whitmire had an outing to forget. He allowed both of his inherited runners to score; thanks to RBI’s from Dylan Isquirdo and Logan Farrar. Those two gave VCU their first lead of the game, 4-3. Daane Berezo hit an awkward chopper to first that was mishandled and allowed Isquirdo to score on the error. Then Paul Witt grounded out which brought in Farrar from third to make the game 6-3, in favor of the Black and Gold. The A10 Player of the Year was 4-4 with 3 RBI’s and 1 run. Farrar was also walked and hit by a pitch.
Shawn Stiffler, unimpressed with the Davidson’s closer brought in his guy to show the Cats how to finish a game. Sam Donko was, as usual, untouchable. He struck out two in the 8th inning.
The Rams gave Donko another insurance run thanks to a drag bunt from Farrar to score Ching from third.
Donko struck out the side in the 9th, sending VCU to championship Saturday and the Wildcats to an elimination game.
Who Wants Next?
VCU will play whoever emerges from the loser’s bracket tonight. #2 Rhode Island and #5 St. Louis will fight to decide who moves on to play #6 Davidson. The team that makes it through will need to beat VCU twice on Saturday.