With May upon us, we’ve got a few weekends of D1 conference tournament action to look forward to. Up and down the Eastern seaboard, New England teams will be battling to make NCAA Tournament dreams come true. We’ll update this post with previews of all the postseason qualifers as things unfold.
Playoffs! After Babson and Coast Guard kicked things off today, we’ve got full slates of conference tournament action in the NEWMAC and NECC to look forward to this weekend. That also means that we’ll have regular-season champions crowned and playoff spots decided all over D3. Add that to the top 4 facing off in the NE-10 Northeast and decisive weekends in the Rolfe Division, Patriot League, and NEC, and we’ve got a heck of a weekend to look forward to.
(Apologies for the delay in getting this out– the conference tournament previews set me back a bit. As a result I’ll only be focusing on Saturday and Sunday games in this post.)
The weather was gorgeous this weekend, and the baseball was even better. We had more walkoffs than I can ever remember in a single weekend, and plenty of sweeps, upsets, and offense throughout the region. In Division I, UConn knocked off a top-30 opponent, Northeastern got a big road sweep, and the Ivy League standings got bunched about as tightly as possible entering the final two weekends. In Division II, Southern New Hampshire won its midweek grudge match with Franklin Pierce as part of a perfect week that left it atop the NE-10 Northeast. And in D3, a slew of title races came into focus in a weekend of walkoffs and upsets. Read on for more.
Sunshine. Sweet, sweet sunshine. Taking Worcester as our bellwether, we’re looking at sunny and 50s to start the weekend, a sunny and 60s by Sunday. Around the region, sixty-three teams will play home games this weekend, and many of them are involved in title races that are heating up right along with the weather. We’ll take a region-by-region look below.
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.
We’ve gotten in a lot more non-conference baseball than we’re used to this year, but with the end of March, we’re finally getting into conference play. Leagues like the ACC, AEC, NEC, and NECC are in full swing now, and some fascinating title races are already taking shape. More on those, and on the slew of NECB clubs representing the region well as our center of gravity shifts from south to north in the weeks ahead.
(One other thing, a favor to ask: I’ll be linking the blog posts on a Facebook page from here on out, and I’d much appreciate it if you’d give it a like and help spread the word to folks who aren’t on Twitter to follow the season along with us. Thanks, and enjoy the post!)
For the first time in 2016, we saw action in all three divisions (even one game in right here in New England!). As a region, we’re off to a much quicker start than last season, especially in Division I, where several teams grabbed the headlines in their first weekend out on the field. More on that, and some D2/3 action, after the jump.
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.
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.