Hey everyone. I’m going to ignore this and basically just hope it goes away, permanently. (At least it’s too cold for snow?) There’s baseball being played somewhere, thankfully, so click on for a division-by-division rundown of the early days of 2016.
Welcome back! Appreciate all of you returning in the midst of football season. Incredibly enough, we’re less than a month from first pitch (kudos to Bentley for scheduling some January games in Florida), so I figured I should start getting some offseason roundup/season preview pieces up on here. No promises on the amount of posts I’ll do, but I’ll keep them coming until teams start playing outside up north— we’ll need plenty of reading material when the mild weather inevitably turns into a Day After Tomorrow scene as soon as we try to go outdoors. Anyways, enjoy, and let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see me spotlight in the run-up to the season.
In Division I, at least, only a handful of programs head into 2016 with new faces on the coaching staff. None of our 18 D1 programs made a head coaching change. (By comparison, four coaches were starting their first full season last year.) Eight teams returned full staffs, and three more added only a new volunteer. College baseball isn’t known for the same volatility as football or basketball in this department, but even then, it was a pretty quiet offseason.
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 already April, and in Division I, that means the halfway point of the season. Teams are as close to conference tournaments as to opening weekend, and even the early conference games have a big impact. For some teams, they mean more than others. The Ivies, for example, are scrapping for the Rolfe Division’s lone berth in the Championship Series, while UConn’s guaranteed a playoff spot in the AAC. For everyone, though, these 20-something conference games are their path to the postseason, where one good weekend can end with you going to the Big Dance. Here’s what’s on top as we head into April.
We’re almost ready to turn the calendar to April, which means more teams than not are playing conference games that really matter. Some have already kicked things off, with A-10 leaders UMass getting off to the most auspicious start. Here’s a preview of the action.
Just when we thought we were done with the snow, huh? Yet another weekend with a bunch of games cancelled, and these are conference games we’re talking about now. There was just enough turf and warmth for some teams to get outside up north, and a few were lucky enough to be playing down south. If you’re on grass, though, you better hope your facilities guys have an incentive-laden contract. They’ve got a busy week ahead if we don’t want to be canceling into the last weekend of March.
On the field, nobody really blew the doors off. None of the can’t-miss 4-0 and 5-0 weeks we’ve been seeing. Still, though, some good weeks, and plenty of exciting baseball. More after the jump.
We’re two weeks into Division I baseball, and so far, no one’s blown the doors off. Series wins for Northeastern, Hartford, and UConn, some tight games with top-25 opponents, but nothing like the eye-catching wins in Baton Rouge and Starkville that caught our attention last spring. With 15 teams featuring in some top-notch action this weekend, there’s a good chance that’ll change.