The 2010 CAA Baseball Championship gets underway on Thursday at Brooks Field in Wilmington, N.C. The winner of the four-team, double-elimination event receives an automatic bid to next week's NCAA Tournament.
Tickets for adults are $10 per day or $15 for a tournament pass, while youth (6-12) are $5 per day and $12 for a tournament pass. Students with a valid ID from one of the participating schools are admitted free, as are youth under 6.
For those not able to attend in person, all games will be video streamed on CAASports.com ($7.95 per day, $19.95 for a tournament pass). Live stats will also be available along with game stories, box scores, photo galleries and video recaps.
The stage is set for an extremely competitive tournament as the field includes the four teams that have captured the past four CAA titles. Fourth-seeded UNC Wilmington won the CAA championship in 2006, third-seeded VCU took home the crown in 2007, top-seeded James Madison claimed its first CAA title in 2008 and second-seeded Georgia State is the defending CAA champion.
The tournament gets underway at 3 p.m. on Thursday when #2 Georgia State (34-21-1, 17-6-1 in CAA) faces #3 VCU (31-23-1, 16-7-1 in CAA). At 7 p.m., top-seeded James Madison (29-21, 18-6 in CAA) meets #4 UNC Wilmington (30-25, 13-11 in CAA). There are three games on Friday, setting the stage for the championship game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
JMU captured the CAA regular-season title for the first time since 2006 after winning all eight of its conference series. The Dukes batted .325 as a team and smacked 66 home runs. Leading the Dukes offensively are outfielder Matt Browning (.382, 41 RBI) and first baseman Trevor Knight (.371, 44 RBI). JMU's pitching staff includes the league's top closer in junior Kevin Munson, who was 7-1 with 10 saves and a 1.23 ERA.
Georgia State went 15-2-1 over its last six conference series. The Panthers lead the nation with nearly 11 runs per game and are batting .359 as a team with a school-record 81 homers. GSU has four of the league's top 10 in batting average, including second baseman Rob Lind (.415, 66 RBI), first baseman Brandon Williams (.412, 72 RBI) and outfielder Mark Micowski (.396). The Panthers' top pitcher is junior Aidan Francis, who is 6-3 with a 4.85 ERA.
VCU jumped out to a sizzling 11-1 start in CAA play and finished just a 1 1/2 games out of the top spot in the league standings. The Rams are hitting .310 as a team and have five players who have stolen 10 or more bases. Headlining the VCU attack is third baseman Joe Van Meter, who hit .430 with nine homers and 66 RBI. Second baseman Richard Gonzalez was close behind at .397 with 20 steals. The Rams' top performer on the mound has been Seth Cutler-Voltz, who is 7-3 with a 3.17 ERA and four complete games.
UNCW closed the season with four wins in its final five contests. The Seahawks' pitching staff has recorded a league-best 4.69 ERA and their defense has turned 65 double plays. Junior Cameron Roth has been UNCW's top starting pitcher with a 7-4 mark and a 3.15 ERA. The UNCW offense is led by catcher Cody Stanley, who is batting .327 with 37 RBI and first baseman Robbie Monday, who has smacked a CAA-best 19 home runs and driven in 58.
CAA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Thursday, May 27
Game 1 - #2 Georgia State vs. #3 VCU - 3 pm
Game 2 - #1 James Madison vs. #4 UNC Wilmington - 7 pm
Friday May 28
Game 3 - Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 - 12 pm
Game 4 - Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 - 3:30 pm
Game 5 - Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4 - 7 pm
Saturday, May 29
Game 6 - Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5 - 1 pm
Game 7 (if necessary) - Same two teams, 30 minutes after Game 6