Friday, April 22, 2016

PREVIEW: Huge Weekend For Randolph-Macon Teams.....

With ODAC Tournaments just days away now for three sports, let's take a look at what Randolph-Macon teams need to do to make the postseason and get the best possible seeding.

BASEBALL: The Yellow Jackets may be ranked second in the nation but they enter the final weekend of the conference regular season in third place at 12-6, a game behind both Shenandoah and Washington and Lee.

All three teams are on the road Saturday, but from a strength of schedule standpoint, Shenandoah holds the inside track, traveling to Lynchburg, who is 5-13 in conference play, just 9-26 overall. Washington and Lee is in Farmville to face Hampden-Sydney, who is coming off their fourth consecutive win over the Yellow Jackets 7-6 back on Tuesday. The Tigers, at 10-8, are tied for fifth with Bridgewater, each a game ahead of Roanoke (9-9), who enter the weekend on the outside looking in, seventh place when the ODAC Tournament only takes the top six teams. Roanoke goes to Bridgewater in, essentially, a play-in doubleheader. A Maroons sweep puts Roanoke in, and sends Bridgewater home. But if Hampden-Sydney is, too, swept in this scenario, the Eagles and Tigers would both finish 10-10, tied for sixth, and they split their doubleheader April 10th.

Randolph-Macon is guaranteed a berth in the tourney, but could travel to Lynchburg as anywhere from the top seed to the sixth seed depending on weekend results. The Yellow Jackets have the advantage of playing the last-place Wasps of Emory and Henry (4-14, 10-28), but had to take the five-hour trip to Exit 24 on Interstate 81 to do so.

The Yellow Jackets must sweep the Wasps for any hope of winning or sharing the conference title. Then, they need both Shenandoah and Washington and Lee to either split their respective twinbills to share it, or get swept to win it outright.

The ODAC Baseball Tournament begins Thursday at City Stadium in Lynchburg.

SOFTBALL: Virginia Wesleyan has won the ODAC regular season crown, and Eastern Mennonite has finished their conference schedule at 13-5. Both Randolph-Macon and Lynchburg enter the weekend tied for third place at 11-5, and the Hornets are in Ashland to face the Yellow Jackets on the Senior Day for Patrick Henry graduate, catcher Madison Gilman, and center fielder Sierra Ford.

A sweep by either team places them in a second place tie with the Royals, but Eastern Mennonite holds tiebreakers over both teams, having swept Randolph-Macon and Lynchburg earlier in the season. So the third seed in the ODAC Tournament, with an eight-team field, is up for grabs Saturday just across the railroad tracks from Day Field. This is important, as the third seed heads to the opposite side of the tournament bracket from Virginia Wesleyan, a team opponents want to face as late into the tourney as possible. Randolph-Macon split their doubleheader with the Marlins, handing them their only conference loss thus far.

Roanoke, two games behind in fifth at 9-7, must host the top-seeded Marlins Saturday for two games. It will be interesting to see whether Virginia Wesleyan rests any starters since their tournament seed is locked in.

The ODAC Tournament starts Friday, April 29th in Salem.

WOMEN'S LACROSSE: Randolph-Macon is now tied for first in the ODAC at 6-0 with defending champion Washington and Lee. With the Generals heading to Ashland this Wednesday night, the Yellow Jackets must first defeat Randolph College on the road Saturday. The Wildcats are 1-6 in conference play, 2-13 overall. The Generals host Guilford Saturday, the Quakers tied for third place at 5-2.

If the Yellow Jackets and Generals win Saturday, Wednesday's 7pm showdown at Day Field will be for first place, and possibly will determine the ODAC regular season crown and top seed in the conference tournament which begins at higher seeds on May 3rd. A number one or two seed gives Randolph-Macon a bye to the semifinals on May 6th, where they would host a quarterfinal winner. Thus, Wednesday's match could also determine the site of a possible rematch for the ODAC Tournament Championship if the Yellow Jackets and Generals finish as the top two seeds, either Lexington, or the Center of The Universe.

(Photos Courtesy of Nick Liberante)

No comments: