NCAA Division III Baseball Championship Tournament – Regional Round
Penn State Harrisburg vs. Tufts
Friday, May 17 | 2 p.m. | Cortland, N.Y. | SUNY Cortland | Robert H. Wallace Field
Penn State Harrisburg will compete in the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship Tournament for just the second time in program history after earning an at-large bid to this year's tourney. The Lions earned the No. 2 seed in the region hosted by SUNY Cortland and will face Tufts on Friday afternoon in their first game of the weekend.
(Watch) All games will be streamed live and for free courtesy of SUNY Cortland. Audio commentary will also be available for all games.
(Follow) Fans can keep up with all the action in real time with live stats.
Going to the Game
(Directions) Admission is $4 per day for all fans. Children under two-years-old receive free admission. Due to graduation at SUNY Cortland on Saturday, parking on Saturday will be in the Route 281 Lot. Visitors can walk or catch a shuttle located at the red bus stop shelter. The shuttle will clearly be marked with for NCAA Baseball. Visitors should enter the campus via Route 281 to gain access to this lot. SUNY Cortland police will be present to assist drivers.
Last Time Out
Penn State Harrisburg fell to Christopher Newport in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship Series last weekend after defeating Southern Virginia and eliminating Salisbury from the CAC Playoffs the week before. The Lions wrapped up the season with an overall mark of 32-13-1, with the team's 32 victories standing as a new program record.
Last NCAA Appearance
Penn State Harrisburg is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in six years and just the second in school history. The Lions won the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship in 2013, clinching the conference's automatic berth and securing the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Regional Round.
History In the Tournament
Penn State Harrisburg is still looking for its first NCAA Tournament victory. The program's first tournament outing came in NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional play at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa. The Lions went 0-2 in tourney play back in May of 2013. The Blue & White fell 12-7 to nationally-ranked Kean in the team's first contest before dropping a 15-2 decision to Johns Hopkins in an elimination game the next day.
Strength of Schedule
(SOS) According to D3baseball.com, Penn State Harrisburg played the 17th-toughest schedule in the nation this spring. The Lions' strength of schedule was the third toughest among all teams in the NCAA's Mid-Atlantic Region, ranking behind only those of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and Kean.
Williams Makes History
Junior Bret Williams recently became the first Penn State Harrisburg player in program history to be named the CAC Player of the Year. The Mount Carmel, Pa. native is in the midst of an historic campaign that's seen him slash .430/.509/.788 with an OPS of 1.297. He currently leads the nation in hits (83), runs (70) and total bases (152), while his 17 home runs rank second in the country. He currently ranks third among NCAA Division III players with 64 runs batted in. The outfielder was recently named to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week after earning CAC Player of the Week honors last month.
(Story) Four Penn State Harrisburg players earned CAC All-Conference honors for their stellar efforts this spring. Junior Bret Williams was named a first-team outfielder and senior Miguel Torres earned first-team second baseman honors. Junior Travis Van Houten picked up a pair of CAC All-Conference First-Team accolades as both a starting pitcher and designated hitter, while sophomore Zach Gettys earned second-team all-conference recognition as a starting pitcher.
At the Polls
(Rankings) For the second time in as many weeks, Penn State Harrisburg is receiving votes in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA)/D3baseball.com Division III Top 25 Poll. The Lions also appear in the NCAA Regional Rankings, coming in at No. 5 in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Blue & White have appeared in the regional rankings for nearly four weeks, dating back to mid-April.
Through the Ranks
The Blue & White played three nationally-ranked teams this spring in Christopher Newport, Salisbury and Johns Hopkins, finishing with a 5-5 record in those games. In total, the Lions played 18 games against teams that qualified for the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. In addition to CNU, Salisbury and Hopkins, Penn State Harrisburg faced New England College, Susquehanna, Shenandoah, Keystone and Alvernia, finishing with an 8-10 record against those squads.
Leading the Nation
(Statistics) Penn State Harrisburg players Bret Williams and Travis Van Houten are tops in NCAA Division III in a number of major statistical categories. Williams ranks first in the nation in hits (83), runs (70) and total bases (152), while Van Houten currently leads the country in runs batted in (69).
Most Likely to Surprise
(Story) D3baseball.com recently released its NCAA Tournament Regional Preview and named Penn State Harrisburg the team "most likely to surprise" in the New York Super Regional that also includes a second four-team region being hosted by Trinity (Conn.); a group consisting of Babson, Salve Regina and Keystone.
Tufts Quick Glance
The Jumbos (29-9) are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history after clinching their sixth New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship and earning an automatic bid last weekend. Tufts is led by four NESCAC All-Conference performers, including the league's pitcher of the year in senior RJ Hall and the conference's rookie of the year in freshman Peter DeMaria. Hall has been outstanding this spring, racking up seven victories and posting a stout 1.31 earned run average. DeMaria slashed .346/.485/.543 this season with 17 doubles and 33 runs batted in. For Tufts, this marks the program's fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past six years.
SUNY Cortland Quick Glance
Cortland is no stranger to the postseason, as this is the 27th consecutive year the program will compete in the NCAA Tournament. The Red Dragons (31-11-1) earned the region's top seed and hosting duties and will take on Alvernia in the opening contest of the weekend on Friday at 10 a.m. SUNY Cortland clinched the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) regular season championship but finished as the runner-up to SUNY Oswego in the conference's postseason tournament. Head coach Joe Brown led the team to its 25th 30-win season in 26 years and was named the conference coach of the year for the seventh time. Junior Scott Giordano was voted the league's player of the year, while senior Matt Valin picked up the conference's pitcher of the year honor. Nine total players earned SUNYAC All-Conference recognition.
Alvernia Quick Glance
The Golden Wolves (28-14-2) are making their 14th NCAA Tournament appearance this spring and are led by two-time MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year Nathan Sides. Sides is currently tied for the NCAA Division III lead in hits with 83 and his .464 batting average ranks him fourth in the nation. He joined five other Alvernia players as all-conference honorees. AU won the MAC Commonwealth Championship to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Widener 6-5 in an 11-inning thriller. For the Golden Wolves, it is the third year in a row that they will take part in the NCAA's postseason event. Penn State Harrisburg defeated Alvernia 7-4 in the teams' lone matchup earlier this spring.
The Cortland Regional should provide plenty of firepower, as Penn State Harrisburg ranks third in the country with a 9.9 runs per game average. Tufts isn't far behind, posting 8.5 runs per contest; a number good enough to rank 16th in the nation. SUNY Cortland ranks 20th among NCAA Division III teams with an 8.4 runs per game average and Alvernia is tallying 7.8 runs per outing.
The tournament is double elimination format. If the Lions win game one, they'll be guaranteed at least one contest on Saturday, with a second win advancing them into the regional championship game on Sunday afternoon. If the Blue & White drop their opener, they would be forced to win twice on Saturday to advance to Sunday's championship.