Arrick Wilson, Sports Editor
Thailon Wilson, Contributing Writer
Take me out to the ball game, take me out with the crowd.
That’s right, baseball is back full swing this spring. The Rams are back at the Diamond, playing multiple key and exciting matchups, this season.
The 2021 Atlantic-10 champions start their season on Feb. 18 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina versus Rider University. Redshirt Junior Evan Chenier said in a Tuesday press conference that he was eager to get back to the championship game, granting a wish from his freshman year.
“That was a feeling like no other and I want to do it again for sure. So anything I can do, we can do to get back to that, go back to the championship, win another ring. I’m ready to do it,” Chenier said. “That was something I’ve wanted to do since I got here, and that was like the wish I made freshman year in orientation. We got one so I want to get another one real bad.”
Here’s a list of key matchups to look forward to this season, with a mix of non-conference and conference matches.
No. 6 Ole Miss, Feb. 25-27
On Feb. 25, the Rams will face off against the Rebels for the first game of the series at Swayze Field in Oxford, Mississippi.
The black and gold are going to face off against Ole Miss, who is ranked No. 6 in the country by USA Today Sports. The three-game series will occur later this month and will be the first time in school history the Rams will go against the Rebels. Ole Miss made it to the NCAA Tuscon Super Regionals last season, according to Ole Miss Athletics. Head coach Shawn Stiffler said in a Tuesday press conference that the program is ready to play high-level teams on the national stage.
“The expectation of this program is to play in the NCAA tournament every year. And to do that you have to be in those type of settings,” Stiffler said. “I’m a huge believer of when these guys were thinking about playing college baseball, they weren’t thinking about playing at 9 a.m. in front of nobody. They were thinking about playing in these best of the best in the biggest, brightest settings they could play.”
Atlantic-10: Dayton, April. 29-May. 1
The two teams met in the A-10 conference championship last year, where the Rams defeated the Flyers. Redshirt third baseman Tyler Locklear said in a Tuesday press conference that the team is looking forward to making it to the next A-10 conference championship.
“Tom Brady always said the best one is the next one. So that’s kind of the goal for us. We’re a winning program and kinda, that’s the high goal and that’s pretty much the only thing on our mind at this point,” Locklear said.
The Rams will be facing off against the Dayton Flyers in a three-game series starting April 29. The black and gold have a close-knit rivalry against the flyers, having an overall record of 10-6 against the Flyers since 2013, according to VCU Athletics.
No. 13 East Carolina, March 25-27
The Rams will be going to Greenville, North Carolina to face the East Carolina Pirates in a three-game series on Mar. 25-27. Currently, the East Carolina Pirates are ranked No. 13 in the country by USA Today Sports. The Rams are coming into this series on a two-game winning streak against the Pirates in 2018
Liberty, March 15
The Rams will be hosting a game against the Liberty Flames at The Diamond baseball stadium here in Richmond.
Old Dominion, March 1
The black and gold will be hosting a three-game series here in Richmond, Virginia against the Old Dominion Monarchs at The Diamond baseball stadium. The Monarchs are currently ranked No. 24 on Baseball America’s ranking board. The last time the Rams faced the Monarchs, the Rams lost 3-5 on March 23, 2021. Head baseball coach Shawn Stiffler said that he was looking forward to seeing this new group of players play in this upcoming season.
“I’m just ready to get going and start working with these guys. I know we’ve been working for the last nine months, but when you get in the games, it’s different,” Stiffler said. “And start getting a chance to watch them through their good times and your struggles. And so just building off that new energy and what’s next for the program.”
The Rams will start their season on Feb. 18 as they travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. to play the Rider University Broncos.