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Lefty Heath Dwyer was 10-3 with a 3.01 ERA for VCU this season.

Lefty Heath Dwyer was 10-3 with a 3.01 ERA for VCU this season.

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.



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Former VCU star Ted Brown has revived his professional career in hopes of a PGA Tour card one day.

Former VCU star Ted Brown has revived his professional career in hopes of a PGA Tour card one day.

If nothing else, the second act of Ted Brown’s professional golf career will have the benefit of perspective.

Brown, the one-time VCU star and member of the Colonial Athletic Association’s Silver Anniversary Team, is looking forward to the New Year with fresh optimism after he earned full status on the Tour, formerly the Nationwide Tour, for the first part of the 2015 season. The Tour is the primary feeder to the PGA Tour.

He qualified a guaranteed spot in the first eight events of the year when he placed 35th at the tour’s Q-School at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on Dec. 16. Brown shot 8-under at the six-round qualifier, including a 5-under 67 during the fourth round.

Brown will head to Panama for the first event of the Tour season in late January. His status for the remainder of the season will depend on the amount money he wins. Slots for tour stops are subject to a weighted lottery, and players who win the most money stand the best chance of receiving a place in tournament fields.

The means there will be pressure on Brown to play well out of the gate to keep his comeback on an upward climb. If nothing else, he’ll look at the experience with a clearer mind than he did before subpar play and a lack of financing all but brought his career to a halt in 2012 and 2013.

“When you step away from it for a little while, it’s a little easier to get a better perspective,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating [that I couldn’t play]. I had plenty of years of doing it. The more frustrating thing was not doing something with it earlier.”



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VCU Golf punched its ticket to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2010 on April 27 when it captured the A-10 Championship. The Rams are off to the Briggs Ranch Golf Club May 15-17 in San Antonio, Texas. Our own Mike Voyack recently caught up with the team to look ahead to NCAA play.


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Folks, the Fall 2013 edition of The Ram Report is now available online. Check out profiles on Men’s Soccer goalie Andrew Wells, Women’s Soccer Coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel, former first round draft pick Justin Orenduff and Field Hockey’s Nicole Barry, who had an interesting summer internship, plus a bunch of other good stuff. Click the cover below to read it all.



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I really like golf, except when I really hate it.

It’s a great game, and it’s hard not to enjoy a day on a pristine, scenic golf course. But I’m also terrible, which tends to curb my enthusiasm. It does make for some colorful moments. Ask anybody who’s survived a round with me.

Anyway, I can’t even imagine being able to perform ball tricks like VCU senior Adrian Parada does here. He’s just killing time on the range, while I would probably pull a hamstring trying to keep this ball in the air for any more than a couple of bounces.


As good as that is, Parada still has a ways to go to match VCU’s own Chuck “The Hit Man” Hiter, who seems to have a pretty good handle on this trick shot thing.


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Former Ram Ryan Zylstra will play in the PGA Tour’s Greenbriar Classic this week.

Former VCU golfer Ryan Zylstra made a little noise this week.

On Monday, Zylstra fired a 64 in a one-round qualifier at The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, W.Va. to earn entry into the PGA Tour’s Greenbriar Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. It will be Zylstra’s first career PGA start. He carded 32 strokes on both the front and back nine and placed second in the field only to Daniel Obremski, who shot a course-record 62.

What makes Zylstra’s story even more impressive is that he had only recently returned to competitive golf, as he told the Huntington (W.Va.) Herald-Disptach:

Zylstra, 33, has been to the Greenbrier tournament the past two years as a spectator when his mother-in-law purchased tickets. This time he’ll be inside the ropes as a competitor. He and wife Sarah live in Richmond, Va. He played in college for the VCU Rams and tried his hand once at the pro level, but things didn’t work out. He recently got the desire back to play.

“I had some success, then lost interest,” he said. “I didn’t progress the way I wanted and ran out of money. I caddied for a friend (Ted Brown) on the Tour and got the buzz back. I wanted to compete again.

“I took a shot here. I got off to a good start and rode the momentum.”

A native of Cambridge, Ontario, Zylstra played for the Rams from 2000-02 and was a member of CAA Championship teams in 2001 and 2002. Zylstra placed third overall at the 2002 CAA Championship. Later that season, he spurred the Rams to their first NCAA Championship appearance when he fired a blistering second-round 67 and placed sixth at the NCAA East Region Qualifier in Atlanta, Ga.

Zylstra will tee off in the Greenbriar’s opening round Thursday at 2 p.m. on Old White TPC No. 10 in a threesome that includes Steve LeBrun and Luke List.


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Wrong A-B-C...whatever, close enough.

Wrong A-B-C…whatever, close enough.

June marks the conclusion of the college athletics calendar, and July’s arrival effectively signals the beginning of the 2013-14 season, at least for those of us in the biz, anyway. It all makes this week a good time to reflect back on the year that was in VCU Athletics.

A – is for Atlantic 10 Conference, in which, according to our slogan, the Rams were ‘all-in’. We were also all-in for another season of “Arrested Development” and Pop Tart ice cream sandwiches, so we’re having a good year. VCU competed in the A-10 for the first time in 2012-13, a move that has elevated the program’s national profile. The Rams’ first A-10 title came via the women’s tennis squad, followed by a men’s tennis crown days later. Meanwhile, several other sports (men’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer) reached the league’s championship final.

B – is for the Ball family, one of the driving forces behind the VCU Golf program. They’re like the Kennedy’s of VCU Golf, but with a better short game. Matt Ball may have just completed his 14th season with the Rams, but this one was surely different than the others. That’s because 40 percent of his starting lineup was occupied by sons Adam and Matt Jr. Son Adam, a freshman, led the Rams in scoring average (73.53) this year, while Matt Jr., a junior, placed seventh at the A-10 Championship and was named to the league’s All-Academic Team.

C – is for Courtney Conrad, the alliteratively named star of the women’s soccer team. Conrad led the Rams with 11 goals, including five game-winners, and received All-Mid-Atlantic by the NSCAA.

D – is for Daniels, Troy. If you are a fan of basketball players who score three points at a time (and the signed, obscure Mark Price picture in my dining room proves I am), then you would’ve enjoyed Daniels’ 2012-13 season. In 36 games, Daniels bombed a school-record 124 three-pointers, including games of 11, nine and eight.



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Freshman Jake McNulty started playing golf competitively just three years ago.

RICHMOND, Va. – Although he’s a year early, Jake McNulty may be right on time.

McNulty, a 17-year-old freshman, will be the No. 1 golfer in VCU’s lineup Sept. 15-16 when the Rams open the year at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C. McNulty earned the No. 1 position after winning VCU Coach Matt Ball’s six-round (108-hole) qualifier. It’s a remarkable development, given that McNulty wasn’t even supposed to be on the team a little over a month ago.

A native of Port Perry, Ontario, where he participated in a Canadian Juniors program led by former VCU great Reg Millage, McNulty was Ball’s top recruiting target for 2013. Although he graduated from Port Perry High School in 2012, McNulty had planned to wait a year before enrolling in college, due in large part to his age.

But on July 30, Ball says he was informed that top golfer Marc Dobias would not be returning to the program, so he reached out to McNulty to see if he would be interested in VCU this year. McNulty visited the Richmond campus on Aug. 12 and committed the same day. He returned for good on Aug. 20.



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VCU alumnus Paul Scaletta, 37, will play in his first PGA Championship Aug. 9-12.

Paul Scaletta has probably played more rounds of golf than he’d care to count. The same goes for the hundreds – or even thousands – of tournaments he’s participated in.

But none of them have been like this.

Scaletta, who played for the VCU Golf Team from 1996-98, recently won a spot at the 96th PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C. when he finished fifth at the PGA Professional National Championship in Seaside, Calif. on June 28. It will be Scaletta’s first time playing in one of golf’s four majors.

For the last four years, Scaletta has been a PGA Club Professional at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla., where he teaches the game to men and women of all ages. It was through the PGA Professionals South Florida Sectional Qualifier that he won a trip to the National Championship.

Scaletta was a member of a pair of Colonial Athletic Association Championship squads for VCU in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, he tied for seventh at the CAA Championship at Lane Tree in Goldsboro, N.C., one stroke ahead of teammate and future PGA golfer John Rollins.



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Reg Millage recently son Billy and daughter Anna

Maybe it’s too early to call it, but Reg Millage’s 4 ½-year-old son Billy seems to be a chip off the old block.

“My little guy is playing the bunkers and hitting some shots and having fun riding around in the golf cart. That’s what it’s all about right now,” Millage, a 2000 VCU graduate says.

When and if Billy, or Millage’s 17-month-old daughter Anna, for that matter, decides to take up golf more seriously, they’ll have an accomplished teacher waiting in the wings.

Millage, more than a decade removed from his days as a two-time Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year (1999 and 2000) and 1999 All-American, has transitioned smoothly into his role as director of junior player development at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.

A native of Ennismore, Ontario, Millage, 34, provides instruction and advises junior golfers in the hope that someday they’ll become successful college and professional players.

“We’ve got a really good junior program here,” Millage, a member of four CAA Championship teams at VCU, says. “We’re working with groups of kids, trying to create an all-inclusive program. We’re ultimately trying to get one to [a place like] VCU one day, trying to develop some kids that would get a Division I scholarship.”

Millage was named All-America in 1999 and collected two CAA Player of the Year awards (’99, ’00) at VCU.

There are kids as young as 4 years old in the program, but most don’t start moving into a competitive mode until around 10. That’s where Millage comes in.

Millage starred for VCU from 1996-2000, first under late Hall of Fame Coach Jack Bell, then under current Rams’ Coach Matt Ball. He won the CAA’s Rookie of the Year award in 1997 and grabbed the first of his four All-CAA First Team citations. In 2000, one year after earning All-America honors, he qualified as an individual for the NCAA Golf Championship.

After graduating from VCU in 2000 with a degree in business, Millage spent a few years playing as a full-time professional golfer. Off the course, he married his high school sweetheart Lesley in 2006. Around the same time, Millage decided to dedicate more time to his teaching efforts.

“It was always a bit of a natural fit,” he said of coaching. “I enjoyed playing the game a lot and competing and this was a way to stay involved with it.”

When he was growing up in Ontario, Millage never had the benefit of a program like the one at Glen Abbey. But in 2010, the International Olympic Committee announced that golf would be added to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The decision led to an increased interest by the Canadian government in creating a system for developing youth golfers. It also means Millage will likely have no problem staying busy in the near future.

When he’s not teaching golf, he’s showing that he can still play a little too. Millage is ranked in the top 20 among club professionals in Canada and won an Order of Merit from Ontario in 2009 for his efforts.

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