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.
April. April! Everyone’s back from Florida, and the games that matter are starting up in earnest, so naturally, we’re looking at 30s and gale-force winds for Sunday. On the bright side, Friday and Saturday will be warm, and there’s plenty of good baseball around to keep the blood flowing. Click on for a region-by-region preview that takes you from Bridgeport to Bangor and just about everywhere in between.
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!)
So, now that everything’s cooled off a bit, let’s take a look at the selection committees’ work before we start getting excited for these regionals to kick off. I’ll discuss the at-large decisions, travel arrangements, and tournament format as a Q&A. If there are any questions/issues I don’t address that you’d like me to, let me know, and I’ll add to the post. None of what I say is an endorsement of the committee’s decisions, I’m just trying to explain them.
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.