The College of Wooster baseball team has been in a wait-and-see mode since winning the North Coast Athletic Conference championship May 5 by beating No. 23-ranked DePauw 8-6. That win advanced Wooster to the NCAA Mideast Regionals in Marietta, but they had to sit and wait for the outcome of the other conference tournaments held May 9-12.
Wooster joins an 8-team field in Marietta, May 16-20, in the double-elimination field, with the winner advancing to the Division III Small College World Series, May 25-29, at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis. The field that was announced by the NCAA, May 14, includes the nation’s top-ranked team in Marietta, as well as No. 10 Adrian College and 16th-ranked Washington and Jefferson.
The Scots, 27-16 overall but winners of 15 of their last 20 games, will face 35-8 Adrian of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, May 16, at 4:30 p.m. Other opening-day games will have 33-9 Westminster playing 29-10 St. John Fisher at 9:30 a.m.; La Roche (25-16) facing 37-6 Marietta at 1 p.m.; Wooster-Adrian at 4:30 and Manchester (25-19) squaring off against W&J (35-8) in the 8 p.m. game.
This is Wooster’s 26th appearance in the NCAA field, which ranks it fourth in Division III history. Only Ithaca College (34), Marietta (33) and Eastern Connecticut State University (32) have more NCAA appearances than Wooster. The Scots are 57-54 all-time in Regional play, which includes five regional titles and appearances in the World Series. Wooster finished runner-up in the nation in 1997 and 2009 to go along with a third-place finish in 2005. It made its first appearance in 1989 and returned again in 1994.
Wooster split its regular-season games with Marietta this season, winning 6-0 in Florida before losing 15-9, April 25. Wooster also played two other teams that earned Regional berths. The Scots won two of three games against DePauw this season, which earned a spot in the Regional at Millington, Tenn., and Wooster lost to No. 18 Rowan 16-5 in Florida.
The Scots head into the tournament with six players recently named all-NCAC. Senior Josh Stidham topped the list by being named Pitcher of the Year. Stidham is currently 7-2 with a 2.14 ERA and held opponents to a .229 batting average this season. He is expected to draw the starting nod against Adrian.
Leftfielder Jonathan Ray (.363, 6 HR, 30 RBI) and infielder Eddie Reese (team high .368, 7 HR, 34 RBI) were first-team picks, while sophomore Zac Mathie (.353, 25 RBI) repeated as a second-team selection. Steve Hagen, who was 7-3 and had five saves (3.62 ERA) over 16 evenly split appearances as a starter and reliever, and leadoff hitter/centerfielder Jarrod Mancine (.339, 26 runs) earned honorable mention.
Published: May 15, 2012