VCU baseball will be looking to bounce back from a devastating end to last season.
In the final game of the double elimination Atlantic 10 tournament with a trip to the regionals on the line, the Rams fell to George Mason University 3-2 in 10 innings.
Senior pitcher Heath Dwyer feels motivated to get back to that stage and win the A-10 after being so close and falling short last season.
Senior shortstop Vimael Machin feels confident in the teams ability.
“I think we have the team to win the A-10, and we can go from there,” Machin said. “Personally I feel pretty comfortable about it because we have good team chemistry, we get along good, we work hard every day and I think that will help us win big games in the future.”
Machin is a key returner after being named second team all A-10 last season. He was second in the A-10 in RBI’s behind graduate VCU outfielder Bill Cullen. Other key returners on the offensive include junior outfielder James Bunn, sophomore outfielder/infielder Logan Farrar and junior outfielder Cody Acker.
However, the team did lose several key pieces in Cullen, catcher Chris Ayers, infielders Joey Cujas and Trevor Marino from last season due to graduation. Cullen led the team in homer runs, triples, doubles and RBIs.
All of the key losses VCU baseball suffered were to field position players.
Senior pitcher JoJo Howie is confident in the overall depth of pitching staff, which will allow him to get more rest in between starts.
“Right now we have four senior starters so the coaches have so much depth we don’t know what to do with it,” Howie said. “It’s crazy. We have so many explosive arms that people haven’t even seen yet, people don’t even know of.”
In order to be successful, Howie said he feels the team will need to eliminate long losing streaks.
“I think our ability to stop skids is key,” Howie said. “We might not have been tough enough or close enough as a team to overcome a little bit of adversity in the season.”
“This year we’re a little more together which is gonna help us and help pick us up and if we lose two in a row or lose a game we shouldn’t have lost, we’ll be able to come back stronger and be able to compete a little better day in and day out,” Howie said.
The team has gone through a grueling offseason workout regime consisting of lifting, conditioning and workouts. Senior pitcher Heath Dwyer feels that it is all to reach their goals.
“We want to bring a championship. That’s gonna require all of us to play at a high level so we expect that out of ourselves if we want to reach our goal of winning a championship and play further on for a chance to play into May,” Dwyer said.
Only a few more weeks remain before the Rams take the field for the first time on Friday, Feb. 13 at the Wake Forest University tournament in Winston Salem, North Carolina, it’s where the VCU baseball team in 2015 will begin their quest for the program’s first NCAA regional appearance since 2010.