Rhode Island vs VCU: Rhody Looks to Earn Spot in Championship Game With Win

The Rhode Island Rams baseball team in the dugout at the Atlantic 10 Championship. Mandatory Credit: gorhody.com

If you’re just checking in on the 2015 URI baseball season, you’ve been missing out. Rhode Island is putting together a heck of a run in the Atlantic 10 Championship, aided by a big walk-off win last night against Richmond. And this evening, the Rams will be looking to earn a spot in the Championship game. All they’ll need to do is get past VCU.

2015 Record: 35-22 (16-10 in the Atlantic 10)
Key Losses: OF Bill Cullen, IF Joey Cujas, P Seth Greene
Key Returners: IF Vimael Machin, OF James Bunn, P Heath Dwyer

With all due respect to Rhody, there’s no doubt that five-seed Virginia Commonwealth is the hottest team in the A-10 Tournament right now. The “other” Rams have won nine straight games dating back to early May. VCU trounced one-seed Saint Louis 14-3 last night, and that was coming off an 11-0 beat-down of Davidson on Wednesday. Offense has been the theme for VCU: they’re averaging nearly 11 runs per game over their last six contests.

The good news for Rhode Island is that VCU has used their two best starting pitchers (JoJo Howie and Heath Dwyer) in their first two games in Arlington. Which leaves them with a few options today. There’s senior right hander Matt Blanchard (2-3, 4.20 ERA), who has not pitched since April thanks to an oblique injury. There are some doubts as to if he’ll be able to go, but he’s certainly an option if healthy. If not, freshman Sean Thompson (4-3, 3.67 ERA) is the likely candidate.

The VCU bats are… well, they’re scary. Watch out for sophomore Darian Carpenter, who has already homered twice in the tourney. The infidler has posted a stellar two-day line that looks like this: 5-9, four runs scored, one double, two HR and eight RBI. Yikes. Carpenter has gone deep eight times on the season to go along with a .275 average.

It all gets underway at 5:00 p.m. tonight. You can watch the game courtesy of Atlantic10.com; check out the link here.