I’ve gotta say, I really wish the weather were cooperating for this weekend, because the schedule is absolutely loaded. The defending CWS champions will pay a visit to New England (something that hasn’t happened in decades), and Hartford, Rhode Island, and Northeastern host big D1 series as well. In D2, Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire, who’re both in the top 5 nationally now, will celebrate the honor with five home games apiece. And it’s rivalry weekend in D3. Williams and Amherst renew the oldest rivalry in college baseball, and Babson-Wheaton, Suffolk-Saint Joseph’s, and Bowdoin-Bates will also be on display. Bottom line: if you’re willing to layer up, you won’t need to travel far for some great baseball this weekend. Continue reading
Yeah. That’ll teach me to gloat about early-season weather. Mother Nature really took a buzzsaw to the New England college baseball scene this weekend. Thanks to some creative scheduling, though, we’ve still got plenty to recap. Big weeks for Northeastern and Hartford in D1, Franklin Pierce kept on rolling in D2, and Wesleyan stayed hot after returning from Arizona in D3. More on those teams and plenty of others after the jump.
The games are only getting bigger as we turn the page on March, and there were plenty of big wins to fill the roundup. Hartford and Sacred Heart both took to the road to earn sweeps, Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire kept on rolling ahead of their showdown this Wednesday, and there were some big results in D3. All that, and some thoughts on some big news about the D3 Tournament, after the jump.
So we’re going to try something new with our weekend previews. Instead of going division-by-division, league-by-league like before, I’m going to break things down by region. The idea is to give people an idea of the best games on offer in their own backyards. Every week, I’ll pick the can’t-miss series from every corner of New England and talk about the narratives, players, and implications surrounding each of them. As I’ve written elsewhere, you’d have plenty of reasons to get yourself to a park even if we weren’t expecting sunshine this weekend. So thanks for clicking, enjoy the post, and if you won’t already be playing in one, get out and see a game.
All right, this took way longer than expected, so I’ll wish you a happy Pi Day and let you get to it. (Didn’t have time to spell or fact check, so let me know what I messed up, and I’ll fix things.)
Coming off a tough weekend to end April, Division I got back on track. Bryant, Quinnipiac, and Rhode Island ensured they’ll stay in title contention with winning weekends, and Hartford, UMass, and Fairfield did the same to put themselves back into playoff contention. In Division II, a pair of great series– AIC and New Haven, Stonehill and SNHU– decided berths and seedings, and Bridgeport won its way to a historic conference title.
It’s amazing what two weeks of nice April weather can do for conference standings. Since I wrote here last, we’ve gone from the early season to the thick of playoff races. Some schools in Division III are even opening up conference tournaments this week, and we’ll have our first NCAA Tournament ticket punched on Sunday in the GNAC. I’ll take a closer look at those tournaments and playoff races this week, but for now, here’s a look back at a great weekend of college baseball.
Boston College and Dartmouth had the biggest weeks in Division I, and some title contenders elsewhere kept on rolling. Quinnipiac, Holy Cross, and Bryant/Sacred Heart all finished the weekend atop their conference standings. In Division II, the Northeast Division’s three-headed monster of Franklin Pierce, Southern New Hampshire, and Stonehill combined to go 18-0 on the week, leaving a scramble for the fourth playoff spot in their wake. In Division III, heavy schedules stretched pitching staffs and made it difficult for teams to maintain consistency, but it was Rhode Island College’s turn in the spotlight of what’s been a wildly entertaining year in the Little East.
We’ve turned the calendar to April, and it feels like the conference standings are starting to settle out. We’re a couple weekends into league play in Division I, and New England teams sit atop the standings in the MAAC, NEC, and Patriot League. In Divisions II and III, some teams have gotten some separation in the early going. Franklin Pierce’s 27-2 start has powered it to a 7-1 divisional mark, and they swept one of their direct rivals this weekend. Every one of the Division III conferences has seen a team race off to a perfect start so far. Husson in the NAC (10-0), Endicott in the CCC (8-0), Saint Joseph’s in the GNAC (6-0), Mitchell (6-0) and Becker (5-0) in the NECC, MIT in the NEWMAC (5-0), Western Connecticut in the LEC (4-0), Amherst (3-0) and Wesleyan (3-0) in the NESCAC, and Salem State in the MASCAC (2-0). It’s still early, of course, but in all three divisions, New England teams have set the bar high for the rest of the teams in their conferences.
I was down at UConn yesterday, so I’m just catching up on what was a pretty exciting Thursday in the Northeast-10. Some key series openers, and for once, we can look forward to (almost) a full slate of games. It’ll be another weekend before the standings really start to take shape, but these are series we’ll probably be remembering come tournament time.