The Collegian
Friday, June 21, 2024

Strong showing against GW sends Spiders to A-10 Tournament second round

Junior pitcher Matthew Anderson and graduate pitcher Kyle Roche during the May 21 game against GWU. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
Junior pitcher Matthew Anderson and graduate pitcher Kyle Roche during the May 21 game against GWU. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

Just when the University of Richmond baseball team was put on its heels in the early stages of the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, a dominant second inning saw the Spiders take control of the game and ultimately defeat The George Washington University Colonials 12-4 on May 21. 

After a solid first inning from graduate right-handed pitcher Kyle Roche, the second inning gave him trouble, as the Colonials took to the scoreboard first. Roche allowed a home run and then two hits later, another run scored, putting the Spiders behind 2-0 early.

With two outs to go in the bottom of the second, it appeared as though that deficit would stand and carry into the third inning. However, the Spiders would not leave their base runners stranded, and instead scored eight runs to take a commanding lead sparked by a two-out rally. 

It started with the bases loaded and junior shortstop Connor Larson walked home a run. Next, graduate outfielder Aaron Whitley hit a single that scored two runs and the Spiders were off and running. Eight runs later and it was a whole new game, just two innings into play. 

In the third inning, first-year designated hitter Jack Arcamone hit a solo home run which padded the Spiders’ lead, 9-2. The fourth inning saw the Colonials score two more runs, but those were the last runs GW would produce for the remainder of the game, whereas UR went on to score three more runs to ultimately win and advance to the second of the tournament. 

Roche picked up his fourth win of the season in the contest, pitching five full innings before sophomore right-handed pitcher Jake Topolski took over and pitched the last four innings for the save. Roche had 2 strikeouts on the day and tallied 3 earned runs. Topolski notched 5 strikeouts and kept the Colonials scoreless across his four innings. 

Sophomore infielder Jordan Jaffe was the only Spider with multiple hits, as he garnered 2 hits and 2 RBIs on the day. Others who had strong outings at the plate included graduate right fielder Phil Bernstein, who finished with 3 RBIs, and redshirt senior catcher Zach Lass, who finished with 2 RBIs. 

It was an up-and-down season in the first chapter of UR Head Coach Mik Aoki’s tenure with the Spiders. After enduring five-straight losses to start the year, the team finished with a 24-30 overall record during the regular season and a 13-11 conference record. 

“We would’ve liked to have won a few more of the non-conference stuff, but we’ve done pretty well in the A-10,” Aoki said in a press conference back on May 15 before the team’s final regular season series against Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Now, after taking down the fifth-seeded Colonials, the fourth-seeded Spiders will have their chance against the top-ranked team in the conference tournament bracket. 

“Like I told them and what I’ve been telling them all along is ‘worry about the things that we can control,’” Aoki said. “‘We can’t control what other teams are doing or how other teams are playing or who’s winning and losing, so we just have to worry about us and try to be the very best baseball team that we can be.’” 

The Spiders will play the Saint Louis University Billikens at 11 a.m. May 22 for a chance to advance to the A-10 Tournament semifinals. 

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Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu

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