We’re all set for Championship Saturday tomorrow as the Charlotte 49ers and Saint Louis Billikens will duke it out for the Atlantic 10 baseball title and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Here’s how the two teams got there, along with a recap of Day 3.
(5) George Washington 5, (4) Rhode Island 4 (elimination game; resumed from Thursday night)
This one took the honor for most dramatic ending and most-heartbreaking ending of the tournament thus far. Trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth and needing some runs to stay alive, the Rams plated two runs on a Chris Famiglietti bases-loaded single, followed by a Joe Landi go-ahead base hit to take a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
But Rhody’s defense, which had plagued them all tournament long (11 errors in three games), let them down once more. It started when Matt Murikami reached on an error by Tim Caputo with one out, then stole second. After Derek Brown walked, Nolan Lodden stroked a single to left to load the bases. That brought up Justin Albright, and with nowhere to put him, Bobby Dean walked in the game tying run to make it 4-4. Up next would be Xavier Parkmond who grounded to short; Caputo had no play and could only watch as Parkmond legged out an infield single to allow pinch runner Jacob Williams to come home and set off the GW celebration.
Luke Olson, who came in the top of the 9th and allowed the Rams’ go-ahead single, ended up the winner and GW’s pitcher of record in this one; Dean, responsible for the runners that later scored in the bottom of the inning, took the loss. For Parkmond, it was his only hit of the game, and without a doubt it was the biggest of his career by far up to that point. The Colonials would then have to wait for Charlotte/Xavier to end before they did battle with top-seeded Saint Louis. Meanwhile, for the Rhode Island Rams‘ spin on the contest (and their season), check our partner site, Rhody Rampage.
(2) Charlotte 12, (4) Xavier 3
Read our full recap here.
(1) Saint Louis 13, (5) George Washington 4 (elimination game)
There would be no heroics in this one for GW as the Billikens scored early and often to put this one away early and send the Colonials packing. Before GW knew what hit them, it was an 11-1 game after three, a deficit that would prove too great to overcome in the end. Alex Kelly went 4-5 with four RBI for SLU; Alec Sole (2-3), Grant Nelson (1-1) and Mike Levine (1-3) combined for six RBIs–three each. Amazingly, out of SLU’s 13 runs and 20 hits, none were home runs.
Nick Bates went the distance for Saint Louis, allowing the four runs on ten hits while walking two and striking out seven. The Billikens moved to the final elimination game of the day to take on Xavier for a spot in the A-10 championship game.
(1) Saint Louis 6, (4) Xavier 4
The Billikens would need some late scoring to take this one and punch their ticket to the championship game against Charlotte tomorrow. With the game tied 4-4 in the top of the 8th, Michael Bozarth scored on a Stephen Schoettmer error to give SLU a 5-4 lead, followed by a Mike Vigliarolo RBI double to center to make it 6-4. That would be all they needed, as Marco Mejia retired the final six X batters to pick up the win in relief and boot the Musketeers from the tournament.
So it’s Charlotte versus Saint Louis tomorrow with first pitch scheduled for noon. If the Niners win game one, they’re the 2013 A-10 champs. If SLU wins game one, they’ll force a final, winner-take-all contest immediately following. After last weekend’s series loss in the Gateway City, you know the Niners will be looking for revenge.