@UNCWbaseball Game Day
Schedule Fri.-Sun, Mar. 8-10, 4 p.m., 2 p.m., 2 p.m.
Location Brooks Field (Wilmington, N.C.)
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Seahawks Doubling Down With Defense On Diamond, Brian Mull - Wilmington Star News

Dub Hub Blog (Brian Mull, Wilmington Star News)

WILMINGTON, North Carolina - A rival returns to Brooks Field this weekend when undefeated VCU visits for a three-game series beginning on Friday at 4 p.m. The main difference this year, is that this is no longer a Colonial Athletic Association series as the Rams are now members of the Atlantic 10 after leaving the CAA during the summer.

In perhaps one of the best rivalries in any sport in the CAA, the Seahawks and Rams battled as conference foes from 1996 until the CAA Championship tournament in 2012. Overall, UNCW leads the all-time series 43-32 and the clubs combined to win eight of 11 conference titles since 2002 with the Rams taking five and the Seahawks three.

The two only met twice with the CAA title on the line, but both were instant classics with the Seahawks plating three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a win in 2006 and the Rams gaining a measure of revenge in 2010 when they scored twice in the 12th to edge the Seahawks, 7-5.

The Rams enter the weekend with an unblemished 9-0 mark following a midweek win over George Mason in Richmond. VCU opened the season with a pair of wins at the Country Inn and Suites Elon Invitational and continued that roll with a sweep of St. Joseph's the following weekend. The Rams then swept three in Charleston at the Charleston Crab House Shootout before topping George Mason.

UNCW, meanwhile, has fashioned a 6-6 record following a 6-5 loss at future CAA member College of Charleston earlier this week. It's been a topsy-turvy season thus far with the Seahawks winning two games with "walk-off" home runs and also dropping two games via hit by pitches.

This will also be the first series since 1996 that former VCU skipper Paul Keyes won't be in the opposing dugout after losing his battle with cancer in November of 2012. Prior to Friday's game, there will be a moment of silence in honor of Coach Keyes. “We lost a true friend, a tremendous competitor with a passion for the game of college baseball and developing young men,” said UNC Wilmington head coach Mark Scalf told Collegebaseballinsider.com. “With me Paul was always gracious in defeat and humble in victory. We developed a great respect for one another through the years of competition that went beyond the ballfield with a genuine concern for each other's families."

The series continues on Saturday and concludes on Sunday. Both games are slated for 2 p.m. starts.