Dayton will play Fordham in third round of Atlantic 10 baseball tournament

Cole Pletka strikes out 10 in six innings in second-round victory against Davidson

The Dayton Flyers took another step toward their first Atlantic 10 Conference baseball championship since 2012, beating No. 2 seed Davidson 7-3 on Thursday in the second round at Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y.

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No. 2 seed Dayton (31-24), which beat No. 6 seed Rhode Island 3-2 in the opening round Wednesday, will play No. 4 seed Fordham (36-22) at noon Friday. Fordham beat No. 1 seed Virginia Commonwealth 2-1 on Thursday.

VCU was eliminated its second game, losing 6-2 to No. 5 seed Richmond on Thursday night. That means Dayton is the highest remaining seed in the double-elimination tournament without a loss.

If Dayton wins Friday, it will play at noon Saturday with a chance to win the tournament and clinch a NCAA tournament bid in that game. A loss to Fordham will put Dayton in the 7 p.m. game Friday against Davidson or Richmond.

Dayton lost two of three games at home to Fordham in the final regular-season series. It won the first game 17-4 before losing 4-3 and 8-4.

Dayton took a 1-0 lead against Davidson on a squeeze bunt by Benjamin Blackwell in the third inning. Eddie Pursinger scored on the bunt. Pursinger hit his team-high seventh home run to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Riley Tirotta hit a solo home run to make it 3-1 in the sixth.

Dayton extended its lead to 5-2 on a two-run single by Alex Brickman in the eighth and added to its lead on RBI singles by Bryce Hellgeth and Jay Curtis in the ninth.

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Dayton starter Cole Pletka earned the victory, tying a career high with 10 strikeouts in six innings. He allowed two earned runs on five hits.

This is Dayton’s first A-10 tournament appearance since 2014 when it went 0-2. It was the No. 2 seed in 2012 and won the title with a 3-0 record. It was the No. 3 seed in 2011 and went 2-2. This is its ninth A-10 tournament appearance in all since 2001.

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