The Billiken baseball team defeated No. 2 seed Saint Joseph’s 9-1 to stay alive in the 2014 Atlantic 10 Championship, but fell to No. 4 VCU 8-6 in 16 innings to wrap up the 2014 season. Saint Louis finished 2014 with a 34-21-1 record.
In the first game, SLU met SJU in an elimination game. The Bills jumped out to an early lead, scoring in the first inning.
In the sixth inning, Saint Louis broke the game open. A.J. VanderVorste ripped a single up the middle to lead off the inning. He was driven in by Danny Brennan, who laced an RBI double to left center. Alec Solé hit a single and advanced to second when the Hawks attempted to catch Brennan advancing to third. Brennan beat the throw to give SLU runners at second and third. Saint Joseph’s then intentionally walked Mike Vigliarolo to load the bases for Braxton Martinez. Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Brennan, but a throwing error on SJU allowed Vigliarolo and Solé to advance. With first base open and two outs, the Hawks elected to intentially walk Michael Bozarth and set up the force play. In a heads up play, Solé took off from third after the SJU catcher lofted a throw back to the pitcher, stealing home and giving SLU a 4-1 lead through six innings of play.
The Billikens tacked on five more runs in the eighth to bring the tally to 9-1, where it stayed for the remainder of the game.
With the win over Saint Joseph’s, the Bills advanced to take on VCU in their second elimination game of the day. In this game, VCU struck first, giving the Rams a 3-0 lead after one.
The Billikens scored one run in the bottom of the third, but VCU scored a run in the top of the fourth to bring the score to 4-1.
In the fifth, SLU scored another run to cut the deficit to two.
The Bills took the lead in the sixth on an RBI single from Solé and an two-run single from Vigliarolo.
VCU tied the game at five in the seventh.
Neither team could gain an advantage through nine innings, sending the game to extra innings.
The Rams plated three runs in the 16th inning and the Bills were unable to answer, ending the second-longest game in Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship history. The longest game was a 2006 contest between Rhode Island and George Washington.
Despite being pegged with the loss, senior Brett Vanover threw one of the best games of his career against VCU. He hurled 7.2 innings in relief, scattering eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk.