When Scott Loiseau was hired as the Division-II Southern New Hampshire head coach following the program’s disappointing seven-win campaign in 2008, he introduced a very simple philosophy to his players—attitude, effort and concentration.
“Those are the only three things you can control,” senior righthander Brad Monroe said. “If you can control those three things on and off the field, then you’re going to be successful. I’ve been here since coach took over the program, and he’s instilled that philosophy in us and pushed us to get better every day.”
The Penmen have steadily improved in the win column every year since then and won a school record 25 games in 2011. Thanks to dominating pitching by Monroe (8-3, 2.48), junior lefthander and D-II pitcher of the year Tim Flight (9-1, 1.31) and sophomore righthander Junior Mendez (6-2, 1.38), Southern New Hampshire was officially put on the map in New England after capturing 43 wins this season and making its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
“Since we’re one of the few conferences in the country to play with wood bats, our goal when I was first hired was to build this team on strong pitching, defense and timely hitting,” Loiseau said. “We recruited a great crop of young men that bought into what we were saying and really sold it to incoming freshmen and transfer students.”
Northwestern State coach J.P. Davis was forced to resign Wednesday after a 19-32 season for the Blue Demons that included a 14-19 Southland Conference mark.
“Leaving a place where you've completely invested your life for the past 12 years is difficult, but I walk away proud of the guys I coached, coached with, and especially what's gone on in the lives of so many of our former players," Davis said in a statement." We've always had a strong commitment to academic achievement in our program, we've been strong in graduating players and helping them develop as young men, and that's truly the most important part of coaching."
Aaron Fitt is previewing the NCAA regionals over on the Baseball America College Page, but he and John Manuel also sat down to give their thoughts on each regional for a pair of podcasts. The “right bracket” podcast can be downloaded here or you can subscribe at iTunes. It breaks down half of the regionals. The previous podcast with the left bracket is available here.
0-4:26: Intro & Update on left bracket
4:26: Los Angeles Regional: UCLA, Creighton, New Mexico, San Diego
11:19: College Station Regional: Texas A&M, Dayton, Ole Miss, Texas Christian
21:18: Coral Gables Regional: Miami, Stony Brook, Missouri State, Central Florida
35:47: Baton Rouge Regional: Louisiana State, La.-Monroe, Belmont, Oregon State
48:36: Chapel Hill Regional: North Carolina, Cornell, St. John's, East Carolina
53:54: Tucson Regional: Arizona, Missouri, Louisville, New Mexico State
1:04:24: Palo Alto Regional: Stanford, Fresno State, Michigan State, Pepperdine
1:12:52: Tallahassee Regional: Florida State, Alabama-Birmingham, Samford, Mississippi State
1:23:23: CWS Picks
In a rematch of the 2006 Division III national championship, the Marietta (Ohio) defeated Wheaton (Mass.) Wednesday afternoon by the same score as six years ago, 7-2, to win the Division III baseball crown once again in Appleton, Wis. This is their second consecutive national title and the sixth all time for the Pioneers. It also marks the first time since 1979 that Division III has seen a repeat champion.
After losing to St. Thomas on Sunday, Marietta won four straight elimination games to regain the title of national champions. Marietta senior righthander Brian Gasser earned the win after yielding just two runs and eight hits while striking out six over eight innings. It was Gasser's 11th victory on the season.
Aaron Fitt is previewing the NCAA regionals over on the Baseball America College Page, but he and John Manuel also sat down to give their thoughts on each regional for a pair of podcasts. The first podcast can be downloaded here or you can subscribe at iTunes. It breaks down half of the regionals (those in the left bracket). The second podcast will arrive shortly.
0:45-10:00: Gainesville Regional–Florida, Georgia Tech, College of Charleston, Bethune-Cookman
10:00-20:35: Raleigh Regional–N.C. State, Vanderbilt, UNC Wilmington, Sacred Heart
20:35-29:02: Charlottesville Regional–Virginia, Oklahoma, Appalachian State, Army
29:02-38:07: Columbia Regional–South Carolina, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Manhattan
38:07-47:23: Eugene Regional–Oregon, Cal State Fullerton, Indiana State, Austin Peay
47:23-55:00: Gary Regional–Purdue, Kentucky, Kent State, Valparaiso
55:00-58:44: Houston Regional–Rice, Arkansas, Sam Houston State, Prairie View
58:44-End: Waco Regional–Baylor, Dallas Baptist, Texas-Arlington, Oral Roberts
Duke coach Sean McNally resigned after seven seasons at his alma mater, where he posted a 192-198-1 mark (.491).
The Blue Devils' program had a highwater mark of 35-24 under McNally in 2009, going 15-15 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, falling on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble. Righthander Marcus Stroman also should become the school's first first-round pick in a June draft next week, and McNally-coached players such as Alex Hassan (Red Sox) and Jake Lemmerman (Dodgers) are closing in on the big leagues.
However, McNally's teams just didn't win enough the last couple of years and were hurt by losing top recruits such as Steven Baron and Cameron Coffey to the draft in '09. This year's team went just 21-34, 9-21 ACC, and the Blue Devils went just 63-145-1 (.301) in ACC play in his seven seasons. The 2012 team lacked physicality and athletic ability even by its own modest standards—and a rash of injuries ruined any hopes Duke had of making a run in the ACC. [...] Continue Reading »
Defending Division III national champion Marietta (Ohio) will get a chance to defend its crown after knocking off St. Thomas (Minn.) 5-0 behind a dominant pitching effort by senior righthander Mike Mahaffey. The Pioneers will face Wheaton (Mass.) in the championship game scheduled for 3:30 this afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis.
Mahaffey gave the five-time champion Pioneers a much-needed quality start and allowed the bullpen to rest for the second half of today's doubleheader by tossing eight shutout innings in which he yielded just four hits and a walk. Marietta senior shortstop Tim Saunders went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and junior left fielder Mitch Geers added three hits and two RBIs to lead Marietta.
St. Thomas showed signs of a rally in the eighth inning after Ben Podobinski and Dan Reichert hit back-to-back singles. However, nothing come of it as Mahaffey sat down the next three batters to end the threat. Kyle Lindquist tossed a scoreless ninth, though he did walk a pair, to end the game.
Marietta moves on to face a familiar foe in the championship. The Pioneers knocked off Wheaton, which advanced out of the winner's bracket, last night in a 6-5 extra-inning affair. In 2006, the two teams met in the championship game with Marietta knocking off an upstart Wheaton program. [...] Continue Reading »
St. Thomas (Minn.) and Marietta (Ohio) will meet in a Division III tournament elimination game today at noon, with a berth in this afternoon’s championship game against Wheaton (Mass.) at stake.
Either the Tommies or Pioneers will have to win twice today to take home a national title after rain washed out much of the action on Saturday at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis. Wheaton advanced to the title game, scheduled for 3 p.m. today, by winning the winner’s bracket.
St. Thomas earned a spot in the first game today by beating Cortland (N.Y.) State, 7-6, yesterday afternoon. Marietta earned its spot last night with 6-5, 10-inning victory over Wheaton, which was already assured a berth in the final.
Oklahoma State fired coach Frank Anderson on Tuesday after nine seasons. Anderson led the Cowboys to a 329-208 record (123-113 in the Big 12), including a 32-25 mark this season. The Cowboys made regionals in six of his nine seasons, including last season, but a poor Ratings Percentage Index ranking kept them out of the NCAA tournament this season after a fifth-place finish in the Big 12.
It's worth noting that this season was the first time during Anderson's tenure that the Cowboys enjoyed a full allotment of 11.7 scholarships, according to the Oklahoman, which blamed the repeated scholarship reductions on "administrative mistakes."
"When Frank took this job, no one anticipated that he would have to endure five years of very significant scholarship reductions due to miscalculations by the compliance office," athletic director Mike Holder said in a statement. "This occurred in baseball and several other equivalency sports at OSU. Even though Frank was not responsible for the errors, he accepted his fate with a positive attitude and never used the situations as an excuse. I commend him for his loyal service to OSU and regret that he didn't get nine years with a full allotment of scholarships and a level playing field with the competition."
The Cowboys also must make an investment in their aging stadium in order to keep up with the other powers in the Big 12. Nevertheless, the job should attract no shortage of qualified candidates, because OSU is steeped in winning tradition and should be able to muster plenty of financial resources if the administration wants to increase its commitment.
The 2012 NCAA Tournament field of 64 is set, and on the whole, the committee did a solid job—including 63 of the 64 teams from our final projection last night, as well as 15 of our 16 hosts and all eight of our national seeds.
Here are my significant areas of disagreement:
1. Wake Forest deserves to be in the field of 64 after sweeping Clemson in the final weekend to finish 13-17 in the nation's strongest RPI conference. The Demon Deacons are inside the top 40 in the RPI (No. 38) and posted a better conference record than fellow ACC bubble teams Virginia Tech and Maryland, which each missed the conference tournament (and also the NCAA tournament).
"Utlimately, looking at their conference regular-season record, we couldn't get over 13-17 in conference," Kallander said of the Deacs. It's worth noting, however, that Miami was just three games better in the ACC but managed to host a regional (more on that below).
Deacons coach Tom Walter was somewhat philosophical, saying, "It's our job to make the decision easy for them, and we didn't do it."
The Deacons played 21 games against the top 25 in the RPI and went just 6-15 in those games, but that still compares very favorably with Michigan State, which somehow got an at-large spot despite finishing in fifth place in the Big Ten. (Also, Wake played 12 of those games on the road in league play—at Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia.) The Spartans finished four games out of first, three out of second and two out of third, so it's not like East Carolina, which finished sixth in a tightly bunched C-USA, just a half-game out of second place.
Michigan State went just 2-5 against the top 25 and 3-6 against the top 50 and 13-12 against the top 100. Wake was 15-19 against the top 50 and 17-23 against the top 100. And while Michigan State's RPI (No. 45) is in solid at-large range, the Spartans are still seven spots behind the Deacs. MSU had a chance to finish in second place if it won a season-ending home series against Penn State—and if it had done so, it would have deserved an at-large bid. Instead, the Spartans lost two of three in that series, which should have been a death blow to their case. [...] Continue Reading »
The Southeastern Conference leads all conferences with eight teams in the field of 64. Here's a look at how many teams from each conference earned spots in the NCAA field.
|Southeastern||8 (Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi St., South Carolina, Vanderbilt)|
|Atlantic Coast||7 [Clemson, Florida St, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina St., Virginia]|
|Pacific-12||5 (Arizona, Oregon, Oregon St., Stanford, UCLA)|
|Big 12||4 (Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas A&M)|
|Conference USA||4 (UAB, East Carolina, Rice, UCF)|
|Missouri Valley||3 (Creighton, Indiana St., Missouri St.)|
|Southern||3 (Appalachian St., Col. of Charleston, Samford)|
|Big East||2 [Louisville, St. John’s (NY)]|
|Big Ten||2 (Michigan St., Purdue)|
|Mountain West||2 (New Mexico, TCU)|
|Southland||2 (Sam Houston St., Texas-Arlington)|
|West Coast||2 (Pepperdine, San Diego)|
|Western Athletic||2 (Fresno St., New Mexico St.)|
|America East||1 (Stony Brook)|
|Atlantic Sun||1 (Belmont)|
|Atlantic 10||1 (Dayton)|
|Big South||1 (Coastal Caro.)|
|Big West||1 (Cal St. Fullerton)|
|Colonial||1 (UNC Wilmington)|
|Independent||1 (Dallas Baptist)|
|Metro Atlantic||1 (Manhattan)|
|Mid-American||1 (Kent St.)|
|Northeast||1 (Scared Heart)|
|Ohio Valley||1 (Austin Peay)|
|Southwestern||1 (Prairie View)|
|Summit||1 (Oral Roberts)|
|Sun Belt||1 (La.-Monroe)|
UNC Greensboro announced it is not renewing the contract of coach Mike Gaski after 22 seasons. Gaski, who is heavily involved with USA Baseball as its president since 2001, was let go after a 25-27 season that included a 10-20 Southern Conference record.
He's the only coach in the history of the program and leaves with a 657-540-1 record, with regional appearances in 1994 and 1997. [...] Continue Reading »
The NCAA Division I baseball committee released the 16 sites for the regional round of the NCAA tournament. The 64-team field will be announced Monday at noon ET.
The 64 teams will break down into 16 four-team, double-elimination regional tournaments. Surprisingly, that list did not include Kentucky and instead included Miami, which reached the ACC tournament championship but did not win the league, losing in the title game just after regionals were announced. Here are the 16 regional sites, presented in alphabetical order. All are at campus sites with one exception, Purdue, which will be played at the home park of the Gary Railcats, an independent minor league team:
North Carolina State
Purdue (at Gary, Ind.)
HIGH POINT, N.C.—Just a few minutes down the road from Greensboro, where Florida State and Virginia were meeting in a game that had no ramifications on the ACC tournament outcome, Coastal Carolina took on Liberty for the Big South title at High Point.
It was a familiar result: Coastal won 4-1, winning its 15th straight Big South tournament game and its 17th straight game against Liberty to capture its sixth straight Big South tourney championship. But this Coastal team isn't a steamroller like the other recent Chanticleer teams have been, and this team had to grind its way to a championship. That made Sunday's win even more gratifying for Chanticleers coach Gary Gilmore.
"We've had more adversity—our two top freshmen never threw a pitch all year for us, we lose (ace Josh) Conway halfway through the year, and our starting pitching has been iffy down the stretch," Gilmore said. "But the two submarine guys and the rest of that bullpen have been lights out. We've found ways, we've gotten better defensively the majority of the time. And our older guys have just carried us offensively—it's just been wonderful."
Coastal's two submarine righthanders, Aaron Burke and Ryan Connolly, were the story of the tournament. Burke came out of the bullpen to get the win in Coastal's opener (5.1 IP, 1 ER) and third game (4.1 IP, 0 R). Connolly earned the win in relief in games two (6 IP, 0 R) and four (5.1 IP, 0 R). All told, the duo combined to allow just one run in 21 innings over four games. [...] Continue Reading »
The following teams clinched automatic bids Saturday:
Big South: Coastal Carolina
Big Ten: Purdue
CAA: UNC Wilmington
MAC: Kent State
Missouri Valley: Creighton
Mountain West: New Mexico
Summit League: Oral Roberts
The wins by Coastal Carolina, Purdue and UNC Wilmington were good for bubble teams, as those teams would have earned at-large spots if they hadn't won automatic bids. Instead, the Big South, Big Ten and CAA will be one-bid leagues. New Mexico's blowout of San Diego State earned the Lobos a trip back to regionals for the third straight year. TCU's exit earlier meant the MWC was already going to be a two-bid league, just as we've had it all week, so no change there. So none of the 10 teams that clinched automatic bids Saturday snapped up additional at-large bids. [...] Continue Reading »
Add Brigham Young to the roster of Division I schools looking for a baseball head coach. The Cougars will not renew the contract of Vance Law, who led the program for 13 seasons.
The former major leaguer had a 397-347-2 record. BYU usually was competitive under Law but never broke through as a consistent regional club through moves from the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conferences before playing this season in the West Coast Conference. Assistant coaches Ryan Roberts and Wally Ritchie (the former big league pitcher) will run the program in the interim while the school conducts a national search. [...] Continue Reading »
A sixth team punched its ticket to regionals Friday, as top-seeded Stony Brook completed a 3-0 run through the America East tournament with a 13-6 win against Maine. Three of Stony Brook's stars—Travis Jankowski, William Carmona and Maxx Tissenbaum—combined for eight hits and nine RBIs to lead an 18-hit attack, and all nine starters recorded at least one hit. Stony Brook (46-11) will head to its third regional in five years as the No. 4 seed that nobody wants to see in its bracket, thanks to an offensively potent, experienced lineup, a strong one-two pitching punch (Tyler Johnson and Brandon McNitt) and a quality bullpen anchored by Frankie Vanderka (1-2, 2.22). The biggest arm on the staff, James Campbell, delivered four innings of two-hit, shutout relief to pick up the win Friday.
Don't make the mistake of dismissing Stony Brook because it dominated weaker Northeast competition. A number of Seawolves proved they can handle themselves very well against college baseball's best with standout summers in the Cape Cod League last year, as we wrote about last August.
Onto the Mini Stock Report. Here's a look at how Friday's action impacted the races for national seeds, regional hosts and at-large spots. We'll reference WarrenNolan.com RPI figures rather than the more accurate Boyd's World rankings because the Warren Nolan figures have been updated to reflect Friday's action, while the Boyd's figures won't be updated until Saturday morning. The Warren Nolan figures are accurate enough to suit our purposes.
NATIONAL SEED RACE
We wrote Thursday that the battle for the final national seed is probably a two-team race between South Carolina and Stanford. The Gamecocks were knocked out of the SEC tournament Friday by Florida, 7-2. After a 1-2 showing in Hoover, South Carolina should now turn its attention to the West Coast, where Stanford lost an 18-inning epic to California on Friday, 5-4. [...] Continue Reading »
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Day Three at the ACC tournament featured a pair of walk-off home runs, but Clemson's victory over Florida State was considerably more compelling than Georgia Tech's walk-off win against Virginia.
When Jake Davies launched his wind-aded three-run homer over the right-center-field wall in the day's first game, it gave the Yellow Jackets a mercy-rule-shortened 17-5 win, improving Tech to 2-0 in pool play.
"That's what you call a good old-fashioned butt-kicking," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said.
Clemson's walk-off win was more conventional, and more dramatic.
The Tigers clawed their way back from deficits for most of the game but couldn't quite catch up with Florida State until the ninth. The Seminoles took control with four runs in the third inning, then led 5-2 after tacking on another run in the fifth. Clemson answered with two in the bottom of the frame to get within a run—and FSU again extended its lead to three runs with two in the eighth. Again, Clemson responded, scoring two in the bottom of the inning to get back within a run.
Florida State closer Robert Benincasa took the mound to close it out in the ninth, but after a pair of singles, Jon McGibbon delivered a game-winning homer to right-center on a Benincasa breaking ball that hung up a little too long. The Tigers mobbed McGibbon at the plate, celebrating a 9-7 win. [...] Continue Reading »
Texas-San Antonio announced Friday that head coach Sherman Corbett has resigned after 12 seasons. He will be retained within the athletic department in a new administrative capacity.
The Roadrunners went 353-329 in Corbett's tenure, winning a pair of regular-season Southland Conference titles and making one trip to regionals in 2005—the second NCAA tournament appearance in program history.
But UTSA fell upon hard times this year, going 22-32 overall and 11-21 in the conference to finish in last place.
"I want to thank Sherman for his 12 years of hard work, dedication and service to the UTSA baseball program," athletics director Lynn Hickey said in a release. "He won three championships and took us to the NCAA Tournament during his time here, but he told me he thought it was time to consider making the move to an administrative position and allow the program to have new leadership and direction." [...] Continue Reading »
On May 26, the Junior College Division II World Series will commence in Enid, Okla., with four first-round matchups on Saturday. Defending national champion Western Oklahoma State, No. 1 ranked LSU Eunice, and Grand Rapids (Mich.) CC headlines the 10-team field. Western Oklahoma State carries a 44-15 record into the tournament. This is the fifth straight season the Pioneers have advanced to the World Series and multiple Western Oklahoma State pitchers could be late-round draft picks. LSU Eunice enters the World Series with a 52-4 record and the Bengals have won three of the last six national championships.
Grand Rapids is one of the most storied D-II programs in the country with five national championships. Seven of the 10 teams have advanced to a World Series in the past five years. Catawba Valley (N.C.) CC and Lackawanna (Pa.) College are making their first-ever World Series appearances. The 19-game tournament will run through June 2 and all games will feature live video broadcasts through the NJCAA website. [...] Continue Reading »
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