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VCU trounces Campbell with 19-4 win in NCAA Tournament 1st round

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Posted at 2:41 PM, Jun 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-05 14:45:11-04

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- VCU arrived to this year’s NCAA Tournament with the longest active winning streak in the nation at 21 games. And with the mindset that just making the tournament was not good enough.

A-10 Most Outstanding Player and former Thomas Dale standout Hunter Vay hit two home runs and drove in four runs. Hogan Brown hit a grand slam and drove in six as the Rams extended their winning streak to 22 straight after a 19-4 win over Campbell to advance to the Starkville Regional winner bracket.

“Very, very proud of how we were ready to go,” said VCU Head Coach Shawn Stiffler. “That’s a good Campbell team. I think we jumped them a little bit. And we were able to take advantage of a few things.”

Campbell led 1-0 after an inning and a half before the flood gates opened for VCU. They sent 13 men to the plate in a seven-run second, highlighted by Vay’s first two-run homer of the game.

“He really in some ways carried us,” Coach Stiffler explained. “He has trended, again I’ve said this several times over the last week, he is trending so much throughout his career and throughout this year. I’m not surprised by the caliber of his play right now”

“Right now, I’m just kind of, I’m in an approach where I’m just looking to go the other way,” said Hunter Vay. “And then if the ball comes in, then I just react to it.”

VCU scored 12 in innings four through six. Liam Hibbits and Brandon Henson would go back to back in the fourth. Brown hit his grand slam in the fifth and Vay would hit another two-run homer in the six.

The Rams hit four homers as a team and scored a season high in runs for their first NCAA Tournament win in six years.

I’m always impressed with how calm these guys are,” Coach Stiffler mentioned. “One thing that we’ve done really, really well all year is score after we’re score upon. And that’s just the trait of a very confident group.”

VCU will face 7th seeded Mississippi State, the regional host, Saturday night at 8 p.m. dor a trip to the Regional Final.

“This is why play College Baseball,” Coach Stiffler stated. “When your six, seven, 12 years old, 15 years old, you close your eyes and think about what they’re going to see tomorrow. They know what they’re about to walk into. Probably the best College Baseball atmosphere in the country.”

“For us, I don’t think the team feels any pressure at all,” Vay expressed. “We’ve already played our big game and that was to get us here. But now this is kind of the reward of actually getting to play them {Miss. St.} on their home field with a ton of fans.

Two other state teams won their opening round regional games on Friday.

Old Dominion, the top seed in the Columbia Regional, defeated Jacksonville 5-4. The Monarchs will play the Regional host South Carolina Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Liberty pulled off one of the big upsets in the day session after they beat #11 ranked Duke 11-6 in the Knoxville Regional. The Flames will take on the Tennessee, who needed a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to beat Wright State 9-8, Saturday at 6 p.m.

UVA fell in their opening round game to South Carolina 4-3 in the Columbia Regional. The Cavaliers will take on Jacksonville in an elimination game Saturday afternoon.

In the Greenville Regional, Norfolk State lost to East Carolina 8-5. The Spartans need to defeat Maryland in the elimination bracket to stay in this year’s tournament.