UPDATE (05-28-18): Stetson is the #11 overall seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. They will play America East Conference champions Hartford on Friday at Melching Field.
The other two universities in the DeLand Regional are Oklahoma State and South Florida. They will play each other on Friday at Melching Field.
The tournament is double-elimination, with the eventual winner going on to play the winner of the Chapel Hill Regional hosted by #6 North Carolina for a spot in the College World Series. The other teams in that regional are North Carolina A & T, Houston and Purdue.
Stetson has won twice this season against South Florida and once against Purdue, with two of those games at Melching. They have not faced any of the other schools this season.
UPDATE (05-27-18): Stetson was chosen as one of the 16 regional host sites for next weekend’s NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Earlier reporting below.
Jacksonville, FL – If you’ve been paying any attention at all to Stetson University’s baseball team this season, you probably knew before this weekend that the Hatters were a virtual lock to make it into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the Pete Dunn era, no matter what happened in this week’s Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.
But being a virtual lock apparently wasn’t good enough for head coach Steve Trimper’s ballclub.
Another dominant performance on the mound by sophomore Mitchell Senger and some early sparks at the plate were all the Hatters needed to secure the conference tournament crown today, defeating the University of North Florida, 6-0, on its home field.
Senger held the Ospreys to three hits in earning his eighth win of the year, three of which have been complete game shutouts and one of which was Stetson’s first no-hitter since 1986. The big lefty had good offensive support early as Hatter batters lit up UNF pitching, getting all six runs in the first two innings.
The victory gives Stetson a record of 45 wins and 11 losses, the most wins in a season for the Hatters since the 2000 squad notched 48. It also gives the team 15 straight wins, the longest streak currently at the top level of college baseball.
The win at UNF’s Harmon Stadium also means Stetson claims the A-Sun’s auto-bid to next weekend’s NCAA Tournament. That was also the case in 2016, the last time the Hatters’ baseball team made it to a regional.
That year, the Hatters were a surprise winner in the A-Sun tournament after a lackluster regular season and were knocked out of the Coral Gables regional early by the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University.
This time, it’s shaping up to be a much different story. With Saturday’s win, Stetson added the conference tournament title to its regular season A-Sun crown, a first for the baseball program.
Now, the big question is whether Stetson’s Melching Field will host its first-ever NCAA regional. That question should be answered by Sunday night.
Either way, the Hatters will have to wait until Memorial Day to see which three teams it has to go through to advance on the road to Omaha and the College World Series.
Stetson fans are invited to join the team in a “watch party” at Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company (111 West Georgia Avenue) in DeLand as the team finds out its opponents. The party starts at 11 a.m. Memorial Day.
Photo above is courtesy of the Atlantic Sun Conference.