Cooke Closes Era; ‘Cats Close Season in 8-4 Loss in Elim. Game
ARLINGTON, Va. – Davidson baseball ended its season Thursday evening after falling 8-4 to fourth-seeded Richmond in an elimination game at Tucker Field at Barcroft Park outside of Washington, D.C.
The game marked the end of the Coach Cooke era, as head coach Dick Cooke will transition to a new role in athletic administration after 28 seasons at the helm of the Wildcats. Cooke has recorded over 600 wins in his tenure, and was named the South Atlantic Coach of the Year in 2017, the 1992 Big South Coach of the Year, and the 2014 Southern Conference Coach of the Year.
The ‘Cats finish their season at 33-21, two wins shy of tying the single-season record set a year ago. Davidson was sent to the consolation game after suffering a defeat from Saint Louis this morning. The game was the second of the tournament for Richmond, who was sent to the elimination bracket after Davidson defeated the Spiders 6-2 yesterday.
Senior Andrew Born posted three hits with a double, run, and drove in two to lead the offense. Sophomore Ward Coleman registered two hits and junior Justin Lebek tripled. Senior Connor Gordon struck out four in 2.1 innings of relief work, including fanning the side.
The Spiders took the lead right away, scoring twice in the first before Davidson cut it in half courtesy of Born driving in sophomore Brett Centracchio, who led off the inning with a walk. The Spiders scored twice more in the fourth to build their lead to 4-1, then added one run in the sixth.
The ‘Cats cut the lead to within two, as Coleman led off the inning with a single, then advanced to third on a double from senior Cam Johnson. Born then picked up his second RBI with a single into left field, and Johnson scored on a sacrifice fly from junior Max Bazin.
Richmond responded with two runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to take a five-run lead. The ‘Cats threatened in the final frame, after Born led off with a double and freshman Alex Mardiney reached on fielder’s choice before a walk to Lebek loaded the bases. A walk to junior Eric Jones brought Born home to cut the deficit to 8-4, but Davidson was unable to scrape any further runs across.
Davidson also says goodbye to its seven graduating members of the 2018 roster– Andrew Born, Cam Johnson, Alec Acosta, Josh Smutzer, Connor Gordon, Evan Roberts, and Andrew Ashur. The crew leaves Davidson as the winningest class in school history with 124 victories.