Rams’ season comes to a close with 10-3 loss to #5 Miami

The Basics

  • Score: #5 Miami 10, VCU 3 
  • Records: VCU (40-25), Miami (49-15)
  • Location: Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Stadium – Coral Gables, Fla.
  • The Short Story: The magical run of the 2015 VCU Baseball squad came to an end on Saturday with a tough 10-3 loss to the fifth-seeded Miami Hurricanes in the program's first ever Super Regional. This season was just the fifth all-time and first since 2003 in which the Black & Gold reached 40 wins.

How It Happened

  • Miami's offense, which led the nation in scoring, flexed its muscles early with three straight hits to start the game and an early 2-0 lead after a half inning.
  • Sophomore Logan Farrar answered right back launching his fourth home run of the year over the right field fence in the bottom of the first to make it a 2-1 game.
  • After Miami added a run in the top half of the second, the Rams responded just like they had all year long. Darian Carpenter led off with a walk and moved to third on a single by Jimmy Kerrigan. A passed ball brought home one run and an RBI groundout by Walker Haymaker would tie the game at 3-3.
  • Senior Heath Dwyer settled in for a scoreless third inning, setting the stage for the Rams in the bottom of the third. A walk, a double by Matt Davis and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with no outs. However, Miami went to the pen, bringing in Sam Abrams, who pitched out of the jam and kept the game tied at 3-3.
  • Miami would take a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth scoring a run without notching a hit in the frame.
  • The Hurricanes would break the game open in the top of the seventh, posting a five-run frame to take a commanding 9-3 advantage.
  • Miami's bullpen would do the trick, supplying the Hurricanes with seven innings of scoreless relief to secure the win and trip to Omaha. 

 

Quotable

 

HEAD COACH SHAWN STIFFLER

Opening statement...

"Congratulations to the Miami Hurricanes, their baseball team, their student-athletes, coach [Jim] Morris and his staff, and the athletic department on winning the Super Regional and advancing to Omaha. I wish them nothing but the best of luck out there. They were ready to go today, did a great job, took advantage of all of our mistakes all weekend, and [I am] very happy for them. These things don't end well for everyone, but one team at the end of the year, but just as proud of our guys, proud of our athletic department, proud of our student-athletes, especially proud of our seniors. An unbelievable group, fabulous young men, and they're going to be great ambassadors for our university as they move on into professional baseball or into their working lives. I just want to say thank you to them, thank you to our fans, thank you to everybody back in Richmond who supported us all year and who made the trip down here to support us, and especially thank you to our players for letting me come on this pretty special journey for our program."

On the big opportunity missed for VCU when Miami relief pitcher Sam Abrams came into the game for Miami with the bases loaded and no outs and did not allow a run...

"It sure was a turning point in the game. He did a fabulous job, and they did a great job of going to him in the right spot there. Like Logan [Farrar] said, it's a completely different angle. You now have to take a different approach. He's throwing from a low slot and the ball sometimes can have the appearance that's coming up on the hitter or it has some good sinking action to it. I thought we had some fastballs early on . . . with all three [of our hitters]. All three of them had fastballs early on, especially the two guys before we got the two outs, to maybe put a swing on or drive a run or two in. He just had the guys fooled. You just look at the bases loaded situation that we had, we scored nobody. With the bases loaded with nobody out situation that they had, they put up a five-spot. That's the difference in winning and losing. The big inning in college baseball is how you win. They prevented the big inning and then we were unable to do that."

On what the difference was with Abrams' arm slot that they couldn't handle today, compared to the success they had against Cooper Hammond yesterday with his similar arm slot...

 

"That would be a little better question for Logan[Farrar] . . . Right away there, the difference was yesterday, when their reliever came in, we were starting over fresh. You had an hour long rain delay. In this situation, it was different. They brought him and everybody was used to a little bit different angle, different velocity, it was more in the rhythm of the game, so that change of speeds and the change of look, I feel was a little bit more effective there. Hats off to him because he threw really, really well for the next three innings."

 

On whether he cringes at the term "mid-major"...

 

"There's nothing mid-major or Cinderella about us. We're not a 16-seed that beat a one-seed. We have professional players that are going to play pro ball out there on our team and guys who are going to move on to have great careers in pro ball. We recruit high-level athletes and we have great facilities at VCU. We have a great athletic department, we have an unbelievable campus. There's nothing that I would call "mid-major" about us. We don't feel like we run our program that way. Am I ecstatic to be here at a Super Regional? Yes I am. Am I shocked by that? No, I'm not shocked by that because I know how talented [Heath Dwyer] is, I know how good [Logan Farrar] is, [as well as] handfuls of other guys that we have on our team. In college baseball, in college athletics today, parity has never been better. Everybody has money now, and is spending money, and investing in programs, and if you do that and you have a good plan, and you believe in it, and you stick to it, and you get right people on board, this could happen. We play in a good conference, we play good competition, so we're not shocked by these things. I'm disappointed in the way we played today. I thought we gave away a lot of runs today. I though we gave away a lot of runs all weekend. I credit Miami and they're a big reason why we did, but at the same time, I'd like to play another weekend because I'd like to play better than we did this weekend. [Laughs] I'd like to go back to practice tomorrow and work on some things, but we don't have that opportunity, unfortunately. I'm not stunned by the way these guys played [to get here]. I'm not. I'm ecstatic that they let me come along on this ride with them, but that's the type of belief that I have in them and the type of belief that I have in our athletic department."

 

On setting the bar at VCU...

 

"I think the bar was set by these guys before we got to a Super Regional. Again, there's a direction that we want our athletic department and our program heading, and that's onward and upward. We work every day to try to continue that progress and that process. It's not next year's team's obligation to get to the Super Regional. Next year's team has nothing to do with this year's team . . . It's my responsibility to make sure that this program continues to work as hard as it can, to continue to move in this direction, to move toward Super Regionals and NCAA wins, to continue to compete for championships. That's our responsibility, and the student-athletes' responsibility is to go out and work as hard as they can in the classroom, and on the athletic field, and from there [if] you get hot and you go on these runs, you're able to do this. So much credit goes to the University of Miami for . . . 43 straight Regionals. That consistency is unbelievable because it's not easy. This is something that's not easy to do. It's not easy to be that consistent. So, hat goes off to the people that do this year in and year out. Again, I don't know if the bar has been set. The bar has been set by this group of seniors and this group of upperclassmen before we ever made it to the Super Regional."

 

LOGAN FARRAR 

On what Sam Abrams did that was so effective... 

"I think that the change of speed was the biggest thing. It was pretty tough to hold your weight back. He threw from submarine, so he ran the ball in and away from some of our guys, right-handed or left-handed. The biggest thing was having to go from a left-handed pitcher to a right-handed pitcher. On top of that, [it was] making the adjustment to sit back side on something that wasn't 90 miles per hour or high 80s. You had to sit back and wait on it, and unfortunately for us we didn't really make the adjustments the first inning with the bases loaded and he got us out."

On how fast he thought Sam Abrams was throwing...

"I couldn't tell you. If I had to guess, low 80s or high 70s. It was definitely something different."
On what it took out of the team to not get any runs out of that bases loaded situation...

"It hurts. Especially when you have no outs and you figure all you have to do is put a couple balls in play and you score a run. So, for us to go out the way we did, I think it was tough for us to do that. Momentum was definitely on our side and I know once they got us with no runs the momentum did change."

On what the difference was with Abrams' arm slot that they couldn't handle today, compared to the success they had against Cooper Hammond yesterday with his similar arm slot...
"Like coach said, a big difference was starting fresh [against Hammond after the weather delay yesterday] and then having the adjustment and having the bases loaded and have their coach call time and they go to another guy. Right then and there you have to start thinking about other things and making adjustments for yourself in your head. Between the two pitchers, I'd say that Abrams—again I'd say that his fastball is probably slower than the other guy's, but even him being slower he had more movement. It was a little bit different movement from yesterday's relief pitcher and he managed to sink balls and not leave them up."
On how this experience has been for the team...
"I think it's been great. People counted us out and we came together even closer with this experience. I think nobody had us getting this far, but in our own circle we knew what we were capable of and achieving that thing and just coming this far and being the first team at VCU to go to Super Regionals. It was a great experience and it's one that I think everybody will carry with [them] for the rest of their lives."
On what the team will be doing in the offseason to get the team back to this point next year...
"I think for everybody it's just remembering what it took for us to get here and the sour taste that's leaving in our mouth right now. Just knowing what we are capable of, I think anybody returning is going to want to work their butt off to get back to where we are. Just for VCU to have a taste of being on a national map, I think it was a great experience for us and everybody is going to be working towards that. I think in everybody's mind if we're not back here next year it's a letdown because I definitely think we are capable of doing this again next year. In the offseason, [we will be] lifting weights and getting better at what we do, whether that be executing, just things like that.
 

HEATH DWYER

On how this experience has been for the team...

"We're definitely proud of our effort. We set the bar high for further VCU teams. It was our first time in a Super Regional and it was new territory for us, but I think it was a really positive experience for the guys. And it kind of shows the next team for the next years that are coming in at VCU that we're a good program and we're here to play and we're here to play in the NCAA tournament."

On the turning point when Miami got out of a bases loaded jam and then manufactured run in the next inning...
"Yeah, it seems devastating at that time as a tie ball game, 3-,3 and we had, I'd say, one of the best opportunities to put a run on the board. Really just three quick outs, two punches and a fly out, and momentum really swings. That next inning they didn't even really put a good swing on me, I was able to make some pitches, but they were still able to manufacture a run across. It's a big momentum change. That's really just a great example of the momentum change that happened. They weren't able to put a good swing on me or hit a hard ball, but they were still able to manufacture a run, one could say, just based off momentum."
 
On whether he will be watching the CWS even harder knowing Miami is there...
"I don't want to say it until a little bit further away. It's got a bad taste right now just because we were so close, but as a fan of baseball and a fan of the college game, we will be watching. I can't say we will be rooting for Miami, but I'm curious to see how they're going to fair against the other competition."

On what this run has been like as a senior... 

"As a senior myself, it's been a great experience. It's been a really awesome experience to go play high competition and a whole range of teams. It almost [makes me] speechless how fun it was to be the first team at VCU to make a Super Regional. I wish I had more years to try, but that's just how it is sometimes."