WILMINGTON, N.C. – Fourth-seeded UNC Wilmington scored five runs in the third and four in the fifth to defeat #3 Virginia Commonwealth University, 10-0, Saturday afternoon in game one of the 2010 Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championship at Brooks Field. The Seahawks, who must defeat the Rams twice to win the conference tournament, forced a game two for the 10th time in tournament history.
The role was reversed the last time VCU and UNC Wilmington met in the CAA championship game as the Rams forced a game two in 2006 but the Seahawks rebounded for the tournament title.
VCU, which is looking for its fifth CAA Tournament title in its last seven trips to the event, managed just four hits on the day, while UNC Wilmington collected 13. Junior Joe Van Meter went 1-for-3 and tied the CAA single season hits record with 102. Seniors Matt Leskiw and Richard Gonzalez, and junior John Lenherr each collected a hit for the Rams.
UNC Wilmington's Daniel Cropper tossed a complete game shutout, the first in the CAA Tournament since 2007, after allowing just four hits with three strikeouts. Hunter Ridge, who was one of five Seahawks to record two hits, went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI.
Rams starter Ryan Farrar faced the minimum over the first two innings but ran into trouble in the third where the Seahawks scored five runs on six hits. The first three batters reached with a singles before CAA Defensive Player of the Year Michael Rooney struck out. Cody Stanley put UNC Wilmington on top 2-0 with a RBI groundout before the Seahawks scored three more runs with two outs on a pair of doubles and a single.
UNC Wilmington batted around again in the fifth and added four more runs to go ahead 9-0. The Rams couldn't buy a break as the first three batters reached on a pair of singles and a walk before the Seahawks scored on a wild pitch, an infield single and a groundout to build the nine-run cushion.
Catcher David Shambley put UNC Wilmington on top 10-0 with a RBI groundout in the top of the eighth.
Sophomore Michael Graham allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in five innings of relief for VCU.
Game two is set to begin at 4:10 p.m.