Of the tournaments I’ve previewed so far, the CCC might have the most intriguing field. Two perennial conference powers at the top, a 3-4 matchup of two teams earning their highest seed in years, and two teams accustomed to competing for titles sneaking into the last two spots. Mix it all together, add plenty of on-campus games, and you’ve got an exciting weekend of college baseball to look forward to.
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.
Finally, a full weekend of baseball. Yeah, there were some cancellations and even more cold, but more teams than not have gotten out on a field, and a lot more will follow in the week to come. With some consistent 40s on the horizon for much of New England, fields will hopefully start melting off and drying off for home games in a couple weeks. And till then, we get to enjoy some more Florida sunshine.
On the field, plenty of teams were still shaking off the winter this weekend, but also some really good results down south. In Division I, Harvard and UConn got marquee series wins. In Division II, the NE-10’s top guns held serve, and Franklin Pierce’s Mike Lundin threw a no-hitter. And in Division III, Mitchell got a big series sweep to open NECC play, and plenty of others started southern trips off on the right foot.
Division III explodes onto the scene this weekend, with more than half of New England’s teams in action. It’s a deep region, with many of last year’s playoff teams returning talent and other teams waiting in the wings. Most of them have scheduled like they mean business, as you’ll see below, and it’ll prep them for what looks to be another year of tightly contested playoff chases and exciting conference tournaments. Here’s a conference-by-conference rundown of this weekend’s games.