Fordham Wins Second Atlantic 10 Baseball Title, First Since 1998
BRONX, N.Y. – Fordham earned a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 12th inning to win its first Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship since 1998, 4-3 over Dayton at Houlihan Park Saturday.
The fourth-seeded Rams earn the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid to NCAA Regional and will learn their opponent on ESPNU Monday at noon on the NCAA Baseball Selection
Fordham (38-22) loaded the bases in the 12th on a pair of singles and a walk, and with two outs, Justin Bardwell took a 3-1 pitch to earn the walk and score Jason Coules.
The Rams appeared to be on track to win the game in nine innings, but Dayton had other plans. Trailing 3-2 and down to its last batter in the ninth, Dayton got a clutch solo home run from Alex Brickman to tie the game and force extra innings.
Jake MacKenzie gave the Rams their first run, stealing third, and then breaking for home when the throw from the mound sailed high over third base. The Rams made it 2-0 in the fifth with a C.J. Vazquez sacrifice bunt that allowed Billy Godrick to scamper home from third. Jake Baker’s RBI single in the sixth turned out to be an insurance run for Matt Tarabek that Fordham would need.
The Flyers (32-26-1) scored twice in the seventh, first on a throwing error that allowed Benjamin Blackwell to reach base and All-Championship selection Takahiro Yamada to score from second. Then Brickman, who also was named to the All-Championship team, hit a sac fly to score Blackwell, bringing Dayton within one.
Cory Wall earned the win, not allowing a hit in one inning pitched. Cole Pletka took the loss, surrendering two hits in 2/3 of an inning, with two walks and two strikeouts.
Brickman was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Jay Curtis was 3-for-6 to lead Dayton. Coules, Melendez and Baker each had two hits apiece for Fordham. Baker, Bardwell, and C.J. Vazquez each had an RBI.
Joining Brickman and Yamada on the All-Championship team were their teammates Eddie Pursinger and Tyler Henry, Fordham’s Kyle Martin, Vazquez, Alvin Melendez and Nick Labella. Saint Louis pitcher Connor Lehmann and Rhode Island pitcher Tyler Wilson both earned All-Championship nods for their record-breaking pitchers’ duel Wednesday. Casey Sutherland and Eric Jones form Davidson also made the team. Labella, who had a key defensive stop Saturday as well as hitting .333 with four RBI entering the championship final, was named the Championship’s Most Outstanding Player.