The No. 1-seeded Saint Louis University baseball team enjoyed a well-deserved day off on Wednesday (thanks to the first day bye the Billikens earned by winning their third straight Atlantic 10 Conference regular season title last weekend.
The other six A-10 postseason qualifiers all played on Wednesday, with No. 4 seed Virginia Commonwealth, No. 2 seed Saint Joseph's, and No. 3 seed George Mason all earning victories, while fifth-seeded Richmond, seventh-seeded Fordham, and sixth-seeded Dayton all moved into the loser's bracket of the 2014 double-elimination tournament.
SLU, which finished the regular season 32-19-1 or one-half game ahead of Saint Joe's, will see its first postseason action on Thursday, with a matchup against VCU, which defeated Richmond 5-2 in the A-10 Tourney's opening game on Wednesday.
The Rams, who are now 35-18 on the season, got three hits from designated hitter Logan Farrar and two hits apiece from sluggers Chris Ayers and Bill Cullen.
But the real star of the game was starting pitcher Heath Dwyer, who went 6 1/3 sensational innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits and two walks. Dwyer, who is now 7-2 on the season, also struck out one Richmond batter.
Junior closer Daniel Concepcion pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for VCU to get the save.
Thursday's matchup between the Billikens and Rams will mark the team's first meeting this season.
In fact, before last season, SLU and VCU had never played each other before in baseball.
The Rams took two of three from the Billikens in that matchup last season in Richmond, when all three games were decided by one run.
SLU ace James Norwood (8-1, 2.43 ERA), a First-Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection -- one of four Billikens to earn first-team all-conference honors, will likely make the start for the Billikens, while VCU is expected to go with lefty JoJo Howie (6-3, 3.18 ERA).
DAY 2 SCHEDULE IN FLUX
The original plan for the first two days of the 2014 A-10 Tournament was to play four games on Wednesday and four more on Thursday. But a long rain delay during the Saint Joe's-Fordham game forced a change.
The third game of the day, between George Mason and Dayton, was supposed to start at 5 p.m., with the final game of the day (an elimination game between the Game 2 and Game 3 losers).
But that third game didn't start until 8:30 p.m., which meant the elimination game would've began at 11:30 p.m. at the earliest and wouldn't have finished until well after midnight.
Not one person at the Billiken Sports Complex on Wednesday liked that plan. So a Plan B was formulated, which will likely include moving that elimination game to another location (possibly nearby SIU-Edwardsville or even to the Division II fields at UMSL or Lindenwood).
If the weather holds, SLU officials believe they can still play all four scheduled games at the Billiken Sports Complex on Thursday.