DeLand, FL – Stetson University’s baseball team now knows who it has to get through if it wants to win its first-ever home regional and advance on the “Road to Omaha”.
The #11 overall seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament and Atlantic Sun Conference champions will play America East Conference champions Hartford at 7 p.m. tonight at Melching Field in DeLand.
The Hatters (45-11) were chosen as one of the 16 regional host sites on Sunday, but fell just short of getting a national seed when the full tournament field was announced on Memorial Day.
That means Stetson – which has won 15 in a row, the longest streak currently at college baseball’s top level – will likely have to play on the road in the Super Regional round next weekend should it win the DeLand Regional for a chance to get to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Head Coach Steve Trimper says he’s disappointed at not becoming the first-ever national seed from a non-Power 5 conference, but is confident his team can break through despite concerns from the experts that his team doesn’t have the offense to back up its great pitching.
“We’re 45 and 11,” Trimper said with a laugh. “We did score some runs. I’m not too worried about it. We find ways to win games.”
The Hartford Hawks (26-29) are ranked #4 in the regional and made the postseason for the first time in school history.
The other two universities in the DeLand Regional are #3 Oklahoma State (29-24-1) from the Big 12 Conference and #2 South Florida (35-20-1) from the American. The Cowboys and Bulls will play each other this afternoon at 1 p.m. from Melching Field, six hours prior to the Stetson-Hartford contest.
The winners and losers from both games will play one another on Saturday and continue from there until three of the four teams have two losses. The team that doesn’t goes on to play the winner of the Chapel Hill Regional hosted by #6 overall seed North Carolina. The other universities 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 and one at USF in Tampa. They have not faced any of the other schools in the DeLand or Chapel Hill regionals this season.
Also this week, Stetson pitchers Logan Gilbert and Brooks Wilson were named first-team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America, while fellow Hatter hurler Mitchell Senger (pictured above after throwing a no-hitter earlier this season) was selected to pitch for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team this summer. He’s only the second Stetson player to ever receive that honor, joining former pitching great and World Series champion Lenny DiNardo.