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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #8: Randolph-Macon College Baseball

They are the only college representative on our list for the 2015-16 season, led by a group of seniors bound and determined to make as much history as possible before leaving Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park in Ashland for the last time.

They needed 27 wins to become the first graduating class of Yellow Jackets with 100 career baseball wins. They earned 35. They didn't experience a two-game losing streak this season until the very end. They won their first eleven games. Postseason awards were everywhere, especially for Matoaca grad Travis Lodge and Atlee grad James Walsh.

They knocked off their biggest rival, Hampden-Sydney, in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament Championship to clinch a return to the NCAA Tournament, where the Yellow Jackets had never won a game.

Until this year.

As the two seed in their regional near Pittsburgh, Randolph-Macon won their first three games in the Mideast, setting up a showdown with #1 seed LaRoche in the final round, a team they defeated 19-6 for their third tournament win. Although the Yellow Jackets had their chances, including having the winning run in scoring position twice, that two-game losing streak reared its head at the worst possible time, and it would be LaRoche taking the bid to Appleton and the Division III College World Series.

Although they fell short of the ultimate goal, it was still, far and away, the greatest baseball season in the storied history of Randolph-Macon College baseball, and the team well deserving of a spot in our year-end Top 10.

(Photos Courtesy of Nick Liberante and Old Dominion Athletic Conference)

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