STARKVILLE, Mississippi -- After the realization of not advancing in the Starkville Regional, VCU Head Baseball Coach Shawn Stiffler took a moment to reflect on the season and his seniors.
"I don't want to stop coaching these seniors, I don't," Coach Stiffler said. "I don't want to wake up tomorrow and not get a chance to work with them again."
A year in which VCU won its first A-10 Conference Title since 2015 and won a school record 22 straight games, ended with a 19-10 loss to Campbell in the Regional elimination game.
"You need some time to reflect on just how special this group is to us," Coach Stiffler said. "I think it's just again how proud I am of the program and how proud I am of the administration and VCU Athletics. When I say the program, you get good character people."
Just like the first meeting against Campbell on Friday, VCU started fast.
A Brandon Henson's three-run homer, his second in three days, helped VCU build a 4-0 lead after an inning.
Campbell scored five in the 3rd inning and two in the 5th to take a 7-5 lead.
The Rams scored five in the top of 6th inning behind home runs from Jack Schroder and Connor Hujsak to lead 10-7.
But VCU's bullpen could not hold the lead as it had during the 22-game winning streak, which was the longest active in the country.
Campbell scored 12 runs over the last four innings to eliminate the Rams from the postseason.
"You get so thin towards the back end of these regionals, these five-game weeks and stuff," Coach Stiffler said. "Just played out that way. We kind of ran out of gas at the end as you can see."
VCU finished the season with 38 wins, the seventh straight completed season with at least 30 wins. But it's not the victories, the school record winning streak or even capturing the A-10 Conference title that Coach Stiffler will take from this season. It's the determination of a group that did whatever was asked of them over the last year and a half to play a season that resulted in an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in six years.
"What you've seen over the last 16 months, I'm pretty happy sending them out into the world," Coach Stiffler explained. "They are good dudes, and they are good men. And that's what I'll take most out of it.