May 27, 2011
CAMDEN, N.J. - Fresh off its afternoon rout of third-seeded Dayton, No. 5 Richmond (29-26-2) picked up right where it left off in the nightcap, upsetting No. 2 Rhode Island (31-22), 7-2 , in the elimination game of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship, Friday at Campbell's Field in Camden, N.J.
"That was probably the best doubleheader we have ever played today," stated Richmond Head Coach Mark McQueen. "The guys played with so much passion and energy; the dugout was electric. This tournament is the ultimate. Our guys haven't been here in four years and most of these guys haven't played in conference tournament. We are trying to create a culture that hard to get to this moment every year."
Backed by a complete-game, including a career-high 11 strikeouts from ace Jacob Mayers (2-2), Richmond improves to 29-26-2 overall and advances to the A-10 title game against regular season champion Charlotte, Saturday, May 28 at 12:00PM. McQueen's squad will make its first appearance in the Championship finale since 2003, the same year the Spiders won the program's only crown.
"Before the game I told coach [McQueen] I was going to give it my all and try and get a complete game," explained Mayers. "I didn't realize I was going to do it. I was just trying to go out and get seven or eight innings and hand it over to the bullpen. My arm felt amazing and I had some great stuff that was my best performance of my life."
Mayers earned the win on the mound after limiting the Rams to just two hits and surrendering only four walks in his nine innings of work, while Rhode Island pitched Anthony Pisani (4-2) took with loss, allowing five hits and five earned runs.
The Spiders took the early 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first, as Mike Mergenthaler brought Matt Zink home on a sacrifice fly to left.
Rhode Island then knotted the score at 1-1 in the top of the third frame after Tom Coulombe ripped an RBI-single up the middle, scoring Jeff Roy.
The fourth inning would prove costly for the Rams, as Billy Barber drilled a three-run homer over the left field fence and put the Spiders back on top for good. Barber's homer marked his sixth of the season and scored both Mergenthaler and Chris Cowell.
Richmond tacked on an additional run in the bottom of the fifth after Mergenthaler recorded his second RBI of the outing off a sacrifice fly to left that would allow JB Gadd to cross the plate and extend UR's advantage to 5-1.
The Spiders continued to add to their lead in the sixth frame, scoring a run off an RBI single to left field from Gadd to bring home Derek Boliek.
URI cut its deficit to 6-2 in the top of the eighth, as Kenny Burns drove an RBI-single up the middle and scored Coulombe on the play, however in the bottom of the same frame, Richmond would answer, as Gadd's double to center brought home Bryan Conway.
Saturday's Championship games will be web-streamed live, free of charge to fans, through the A-10's official website -- www.atlantic10.com.
Tickets are still available through the Campbell's Field box office and may be purchased for $8 for adults; $4 for children, students with a valid ID and senior citizens. On Saturday, prior to the noon game, the first 100 kids to enter will receive an A-10 duffle bag and water bottle.