CAP TIP TO BASEBALL & CATCHING UP WITH FORMER RAMS

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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.

ELSEWHERE…
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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IT MAY COME DOWN TO THIS

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Senior righty Seth Cutler-Voltz his 4-2 with a 4.53 ERA this season. He will take the mound Saturday for VCU.

RICHMOND, Va. – The postseason hopes of the VCU Baseball team may be on the line this weekend at The Diamond.

The Rams (25-20, 11-13 CAA) host Georgia State (19-26, 10-11 CAA) in a pivotal three-game set beginning Friday at 6 p.m. The Panthers are one of three teams tied for fifth in the league with the Rams close behind. The league’s top six teams qualify for the CAA Tournament May 23-26 in Harrisonburg, Va. After this weekend, the Rams have just one league series (at James Madison May 11-13) remaining to improve their league standing.

Here are the CAA standings as of this morning (CAA records only):
1-UNC Wilmington 17-4
2-Hofstra 14-7
3-George Mason 15-9
4-Delaware 11-10
t5-William & Mary 10-11
t5-Towson 10-11
t5-Georgia State 10-11
8-VCU 11-13

9-JMU 9-15
10-Northeastern 7-14
11-Old Dominion 6-15
12-Drexel (just kidding, Drexel only plays basketball and lacrosse)

The Rams are just a half game back of fifth place. This weekend could turn the whole thing upside down.

And here is how the weekend stacks up:

Friday, May 4, 6 p.m.
GSU: Justin Malone, RHP, 1-2, 5.47 ERA
VCU: Ryan Farrar, LHP, 4-3, 3.03 ERA

Saturday, May 5, 3 p.m.
GSU: Ben Marshall, RHP, 4-5, 3.41 ERA
VCU: Seth Cutler-Voltz, RHP, 4-2, 4.53 ERA

Sunday, May 6, 1 p.m.
GSU: Tyler Claburn, RHP, 4-1, 8.05 ERA
VCU: Kyle Haynes, RHP, 3-4, 4.00 ERA

If the Rams can win two of three this weekend, they vault themselves into the middle of the race. A sweep would essentially eliminate Georgia State from this discussion. Meanwhile, Towson will be at first place UNC Wilmington this weekend, William & Mary will be hosting last place Old Dominion (writing “last place ODU” never gets old). Delaware, also within VCU’s reach, will be at George Mason this weekend. The Rams will have plenty of opportunity to grab a CAA Tournament berth down the stretch, but that campaign has to begin tonight at The Diamond.

Cliff notes:
– VCU locked in tight race for CAA Tourney bid
-Five teams fighting for four spots
-Dollar dogs at The Diamond
-Temps in the 80s

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