RAMSANITY & SCOUTING THE ILLINI

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The “Ramsanity” challenge has become an annual rite of passage for the VCU Baseball team. It’s part team-building, part physical challenge, 100 percent not for the faint of heart.

VCU Men’s Basketball has another tough test on its hands on Saturday, Dec. 3 when it meets Illinois in Miami, and we don’t mean Miami, Ohio. Coach Will Wade checks in with a scouting report.

VIDEO ROUND-UP: MEDIA DAY, GAME-WINNERS & COSTUMED BASEBALL

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A lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it. We’ll have for-real basketball in four days. I’m not sure what you’re going to do with yourself for the rest of the week, but hang in there.

In the meantime, it’s Halloween, and certain folks around here take that pretty seriously. The VCU Baseball team, for example:

Speaking of hoops, the Atlantic 10 Conference held its annual media day downtown last week, which gave Coach Beth O’Boyle a chance to wax ecstatic about this year’s Rams. Her program is coming off a 23-win campaign, and optimism surrounds the 2016-17 season.

There’s a little VCU hoops alumni news as well. Final Four hero Jamie Skeen, who missed much of last season with a knee injury, is headed to training camp with Charlotte’s D-League team in Greensboro.

By now you’ve likely heard that Briante Weber was among the Miami Heat’s final cuts. But the team has made it clear they like Weber’s upside and want to continue to develop him, so they’ve sent him back to its D-League team. It sounds like he’ll get plenty of opportunity there.

Finally, a great moment from this weekend. Julia Suarez provides a game-winning goal in the 92nd minute against Richmond on Sunday. Doesn’t get much better than that.

CAN THESE RAMS DANCE?

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Viral video time. This one comes via VCU University Relations, but there’s plenty of Athletics cameos in here, from Mo Alie-Cox, to Baseball Coach Shawn Stiffler to Pavarotti. Justin Timberlake has created a monster. Expect more of these.

RAMS SWEEP SAINT LOUIS

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Big sweep for VCU Baseball this weekend. Huge. The Rams swept three games from Saint Louis, who had been nipping on VCU’s heels in the A-10 standings. With the sweep, the Rams are locked in a two-team race for the league regular season title with Rhode Island. It’ll be a fun final couple weeks of the regular season.

VCU IS UP – IN ARMS – AGAIN

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Junior college transfer Brooks Vial is 3-2 with a 3.83 ERA . He is one of a number of newcomers who have bolstered VCU’s reworked pitching staff this season.

A year ago Sean Thompson was “the kid” on VCU’s staff, a freshman with a live arm who was trying to keep pace with a host of seniors. But that was last year. Today, he owns more Division I experience than any pitcher on VCU’s roster.

Thompson, who started and earned the victory in VCU’s historic regional championship game against Dallas Baptist last season, has taken his newfound veteran status in stride. In the meantime, the new guys, the players Thompson is being asked to lead, haven’t missed a beat.

Although there was no piece of equipment more valuable to the VCU pitching staff this fall than nametags, the Rams have the look of a team primed to defend their Atlantic 10 title and make a run toward a second straight NCAA appearance in large part due to their work on the mound. VCU is 19-10 this season and defeated defending National Champion Virginia on April 5. Despite shaky early performances, the Rams have carved out a 4.45 team ERA. In six A-10 games, VCU’s ERA is 2.21.

Despite some early concern, Thompson, who added 30 pounds to his frame in the offseason in order to shoulder an increased workload this year, says he could see potential in VCU’s new pitching staff during fall ball.

“I felt like in the fall I saw a lot of things people could do well. It just takes a good mindset and preparation to get people out at this level,” he said. We recruited them here because they had the ability, now it’s just harnessing that at this level.”

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BASEBALL TAKES DOWN DEFENDING CHAMPS

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VCU Baseball scored a nice win Tuesday before more than 3,000 at The Diamond. The Rams topped defending National Champion Virginia 7-5 behind a Darian Carpenter 3-run homer and five strong innings from Jonathan Ebersole. Have a look at some of the sights and sounds from the win. The Rams are now 19-10.

VIDEO: RAMS KEEP HOME IN ORDER WITH SWEEP

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VCU Baseball is rolling right now. The Rams have won four in a row and 10 of their last 12. VCU earned a sweep of St. Bonaventure this weekend at the Diamond and will now turn its attention to this week’s home-and-home series with Maryland, as well as a three-game set with Dayton this weekend.

VIDEO: VCU BASEBALL MEDIA DAY

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VCU Baseball season is right around the corner. YOUR defending Atlantic 10 and Dallas Regional Champions open the 2016 season on Feb. 19 (Yes, February. College baseball is a different animal) at Kennesaw State. The Rams are scheduled to host their first home game on Feb. 24 against Maryland. This week, Coach Shawn Stiffler, as well as players James Bunn, Logan Farrar and Sean Thompson met with the media to discuss the upcoming campaign.

 

BASEBALL’S RAMSANITY

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Welcome to VCU Baseball’s annual “Ramsanity” challenge. It’s an opportunity each year for our strength and conditioning staff to have the guys do cool stuff like push cars at dusk. I think I also want to get my hands on one of those t-shirts.

HALLOWEEN BATTING PRACTICE

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Because you’ve always wanted to watch somebody rip line drives while dressed as a polar bear.

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