The Collegian
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Barber hits walk-off single to give Spiders victory

The University of Richmond baseball team scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat St. Bonaventure University, 4-3, in Atlantic 10 Conference play Saturday at Pitt Field.

The Spiders entered the final inning down one after the Bonnies scored two runs immediately following a rain delay and adding their third run during the eighth inning.

With two outs in the ninth, Richmond outfielder Mike Mergenthaler drove a single up the middle that plated Matt Zink to tie the game.

Senior Billy Barber then hit a walk-off single into right field to drive in Mergenthaler.

Barber said he was excited he could do his part, but that it was a team win.

"The team just started to come together," Barber said. "The guys were just rolling, playing well together. There's good chemistry on the team."

Richmond's pitchers also had an excellent game; the Bonnies were held hitless into the eighth inning. Junior Anthony Cafagna (3-3) struck out his final batter to earn the win.

Richmond manager Mark McQueen said Cafagna did a great job for the team and came through the last three innings.

Freshman pitcher Chris Bates also excelled in his first conference start.

"Bates did a great job," Barber said. "He gave us five strong, no-hit [innings] going into the rain delay. So you couldn't ask more from him. That was outstanding."

The team also defeated the Bonnies 3-0 Friday — the Spider's first shutout since 2008.

"Both wins were very, very satisfying," McQueen said. "[Saturday's win] was a good team win. We had 10 hits, they had one. I thought everybody contributed."

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McQueen said the team has been playing with a lot of confidence lately.

"We know in the last couple of years we haven't been living up to our expectations," he said.

This year, McQueen said, the team has come away with strong wins, instead of giving games away.

The Spiders have won 10 of their last 11 games

After Friday's win, McQueen said he was looking for the team to come out and score early.

"I thought we had a lot of momentum on our side," he said. "Then all of a sudden, we had some missed opportunities early on that were huge and we didn't get any runs out of it, and consequently, it came back to burn us."

McQueen, though, said he was satisfied with the win overall.

"I like all conference wins," he said, smiling.

Contact staff writer Avery Shackelford at

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