In case you missed it, VCU Baseball saw its season come to an end over the weekend after dropping a pair of games to No. 5 Miami in the NCAA Super Regionals. It was a heckuva ride, and we enjoyed every minute of it. The Rams went on a late-season tear – winning 13 straight games at one point – to win their first conference title since 2010 and reached the Super Regionals for the first time.
Looking ahead to next season, the Rams return nearly all of their starting lineup in the field, save starting shortstop Vimael Machin, who hit .339. The pitching staff, which posted an outstanding 2.92 ERA, will look completely different next season. Heath Dwyer, JoJo Howie, Matt Lees, Matt Blanchard, Daniel Concepcion, Tyler Buckley and Thomas Gill – seven of VCU’s most-used eight arms – all graduate. Look for right-hander Sean Thompson, who was outstanding as a freshman this year, to anchor that staff next season.
But your opportunity to cheer for some of those seniors may not be over. The 2015 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft begins tonight. The first and second rounds, plus compensation picks, will be held Monday beginning at 7 p.m. Although no Rams are expected to be called tonight, Tuesday’s action will include rounds 3-10, and Wednesday will include rounds 11-40. Hopefully a number of these guys will spend the rest of their summer playing Rookie ball somewhere.
Speaking of VCU Baseball players continuing their careers in the minors, keep your eye on former Ram Kyle Haynes. A 20th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2012, Haynes, now a member of the Yankees’ system, is throwing very well at Double-A Trenton. As of this writing, he’s dealing to the tune of a 1.82 ERA in 18 appearances. Trenton will be visiting the Richmond Flying Squirrels at The Diamond June 23-26.
Also, watch out for former VCU Soccer star Kharlton Belmar, who is playing well for the Portland Timbers 2, the MLS club’s developmental squad. The Oregonian recently featured Belmar, who lost his father to cancer in 2009.
Across the globe, Hayley (Moorwood) Bowden, who was a women’s soccer star for the Rams before heading off to play for her native New Zealand in two World Cups and two Olympics, has retired. She is one of six former VCU student-athletes to compete in the Olympics.
Frank Moser, a member of VCU’s 2000 National Runner-up squad, recently reached the second round of the French Open Doubles Championship. Moser has enjoyed a successful pro doubles career.
Jens Fahrbring, an All-CAA golfer for VCU from 2003-07, captured his second European Challenge Tour championship on May 31. Fahrbring bagged more than $30,000 for his troubles and is approaching $200,000 in career Challenge Tour earnings.