May 24, 2014

RAMS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN THE ATLANTIC 10 FINAL

FINAL/10: No. 3 George Mason 3 (34-20), No. 4 VCU 2 (37-20) (St. Louis) – Billiken Sports Complex

VCU STARTERS: Acker (RF), Cujas (3B), Machin (SS), Ayers (C), Cullen (CF), Bunn (LF), Farrar (DH), Marino (1B), Davis (2B); Dwyer (LHP)

GEORGE MASON STARTERS: Willis (CF), Gum (SS), Fernandez (3B), Tobin (LF), Cook (2B), Leemhuis (RF), Montefusco (DH), Toto (C), Foley (1B); Kalish (LHP)

THE BASICS: After battling all weekend long, VCU dropped a heartbreaker in 10 innings 3-2 to George Mason in the Atlantic 10 title game.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • VCU used a pair of base knocks to put runners at first and second with no out in the first, but Mason's starter Jake Kalish would retire the next three hitters to get out of the jam.
  • A combo of Mason two singles put runners on the first two bases and a Ray Toto groundout advanced the two base runners into scoring position. Starter Heath Dwyer was able to get out of the jam forcing Mick Foley into an inning-ending groundout.
  • In the third, the Patriots were active again when the leadoff hitter Luke Willis reaching on a bunt single to begin the frame. Willis went on to steal second and then move to third on a VCU throwing error. An RBI groundout off of Brandon Gum's bat brought the first run home giving Mason a 1-0 edge.
  • The damage wasn't done as a Chris Cook sacrifice fly brought the games second run across.
  • In the bottom half of the third the Black and Gold used a pair of singles from senior Trevor Marino and sophomore Cody Acker to put runners on at first and second. Then, a George Mason error allowed VCU's first run to cross home plate, cutting into the Patriots lead.
  • Junior Vimael Machin grounded into a fielder's choice to bring the second run home and even the score at 2-2.
  • From there on the two clubs locked into a pitchers duel throwing up six scoreless frames.
  • Five different times the Rams or Patriots put the go ahead run into scoring position with neither team being able to cash in.
  • In the bottom of the ninth, senior Chris Ayers led off the frame with a single into left field. The catcher advanced to second on a well-executed bunt from senior Bill Cullen. The Patriots then walked sophomore James Bunn putting runners on first and second. That's all the Rams could muster as the frame ended scoreless.
  • The extra frame saw a pair of Mason singles to open up the 10th frame. Mason bunted the two runners over putting two runners into scoring position for the Fairfax, Va. school. An intentional walk loaded the bases full with one out. Mason's Anthony Mutefusco roped a deep fly ball into left field that was nabbed by a diving James Bunn, although the fly was deep enough to score a run giving the Patriots a 3-2 edge.
  • That run ended up being the championship clincher as Mason's Tyler Zombro retired the side 1-2-3 in the 10th.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Making his second start of the tournament junior Heath Dwyer went 6.1 innings strong allowing just one run on eight scattered hits. In the tournament Dwyer racked up 12.2 innings of workallowing three runs on 16 hits.
  • Making his fifth appearance of the tournament, senior Seth Greene went 3.1 innings, scattering four hits and allowing one run in a tough luck loss.
  • Sophomore Cody Acker posted his second multiple hit game of the weekend, finishing 2-for-5 with one run scored.
  • Spots one through four in the lineup each recorded at least one hit, with Machin producing the Black and Gold's only RBI of the day.
  • Three Rams earned a spot on the All-Tournament team, with junior reliever Daniel Concepcion leading the way. The Durado, Puerto Rico native was joined by senior Bill Cullen and freshman Matt Davis.
  • The 37 wins VCU racked up this season are the most wins in the program since 2007.

QUOTABLE:

First thing is to thank our seniors that have dedicated themselves to the program unconditionally over the last four years. Those guys have really been a huge building block for what we're trying to create here.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

A huge thanks to our assistant coaches, support staff and fans they've been phenomenal all year long and its been great to have them along for the ride.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

It's a tough pill to swallow but we couldn't of asked for more out of this group. Some of the individual effort from guys were absolutely outstanding and inspiriing.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler

We left everything on the field today, so credit goes to George Mason, they played an outstanding tournament and tomorrow we'll get back to work.

VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler


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