Wildcats’ Baseball Season Ends in A-10 Tournament Play
THE BRONX, N.Y. — Davidson’s run at the Atlantic 10 baseball tournament — and in 2019 — came to an end Friday night at Fordham’s Houlihan Park with a 5-2 loss to Dayton, but not before the Wildcats put themselves in position to reach a third A-10 final by beating Richmond earlier in the day.
Davidson concludes the season 29-22, with a program-best sixth straight winning season, while the 2019 seniors leave as the winningest class in program history. The 29-win campaign is tied (with 2014) for third best in the recordbook, following only the 35 wins in 2017 and the 33 in 2018.
“We competed all day today and in five games in two-and-a-half days,” said coach Rucker Taylor. “The pitching was excellent throughout, and the defense was pretty good. Against Richmond, we had a few more situational hits than we did against Dayton. Their pitchers executed, and that happens in this game. We expected to be playing Saturday, and I really wanted that for this team. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen, but this group will always be a special one for many reasons.”
After beating No. 5 Richmond, the No. 2 Wildcats met No. 3 Dayton for a second time in the tournament. The Flyers (32-25-1) scored runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take control.
Outfielder Alex Mardiney drove in both Davidson runs. He hit a solo home run to right in the fourth inning, and his seventh shot of the year tied the game at 1-1. Mardiney then singled in a run in the sixth to make it 4-2.
Davidson threatened in the seventh, but left the bases loaded. The tying run came to the plate twice in the ninth, but the Flyers held on.
With the Wildcats trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Fontes hit a three-run shot to right for his league-leading 14th homer. Centracchio followed with a solo shot to right, and his ninth homer made it 5-2. The Wildcats then added another run on a Trevor Candelaria RBI-single.
Richmond (28-25-1) took a 2-0 lead on Justin Cook’s two-RBI single in the fourth inning, but Davidson answered with a run in the fifth after Eric Jones singled and scored on a Centracchio groundout.
The Wildcats’ pitching kept them in it. Senior righthander Dan Spear started for the first time in his career and threw three-plus innings without allowing a hit. He walked four and struck out two before freshman Alex Fentontook over.
Fenton pitched the next five innings, scattering five hits and striking out six. Fellow freshman Gabe Levy then came on with the bases loaded in the ninth and recorded three straight outs to earn his 11th save and third of the tournament.
The win was No. 125 for the class of 2019, which edged the class of 2018 by one for the program record.
“I’m happy for those guys to have that honor,” said Taylor.