Worcester State Seeded Fifth In NCAA Division III New England Baseball Regional, Squares Off With Eastern Connecticut In Opening Round Play Wednesday

Worcester State Seeded Fifth In NCAA Division III New England Baseball Regional, Squares Off With Eastern Connecticut In Opening Round Play Wednesday

Courtesy Worcester State Sports Information

Worcester, MA --- Fifth-seeded Worcester State (31-9-1) will travel to play #4 Eastern Connecticut (30-13) at 10 AM on Wednesday in Mansfield, Connecticut on the Warriors home field. The Lancers received the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Baseball tournament by winning their fourth MASCAC Championship last Monday in a 3-2 victory over Westfield State.

The winner will play at 4:30 PM on Thursday while the loser heads to the field for a 10 o'clock wake up call in an elimination game. All games played in the tournament are double elimination. Trinity College won the New England regional last season.

The other opening round matchups on Wednesday are top-seeded Tufts against #8 St. Joes of Maine at 1:15, #3 Western New England versus sixth-seeded Westfield State at 4:30 PM and the final game of the day puts second-seeded Wheaton against #7 UMass Boston at 7:45.

Eastern Connecticut and Westfield State recieved at-large bids to the tournament. Keene State also recieved an at-large bid, but they are headed to SUNY Cortland for the New York Regional.

The Lancers are winners of eight of their last nine and they went 3-0 in the MASCAC Tournament. Since May 1, the Warriors are 5-5 and they were bounced from the Little East Tournament on Saturday in the championship round's elimination game. ECSU is ranked 20th in last week's D3baseball.com top 25 poll and they lead the all-time series against WSC 17-3.

Worcester State makes their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament with their last one coming in 2008 as the seventh seed. The Lancers lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in 12 innings to Wheaton before they bounced back with a 14-4 triumph over St. Joes the next morning. WSC was bounced from the tournament in an 8-3 setback to WNEC.

Eastern Connecticut makes their 30th appearance in the regionals and they have made each of the last four. They were the New England runners-up last season when they were defeated 5-4 by Trinity. The Warriors have also made 12 World Series appearances with championships in 1982, 1990, 1998 and 2002.

The Lancers are propelled on offense by junior Corey McDonald (Hudson, MA) who leads the MASCAC in batting (.414), on base percentage (.518), slugging (.707) and total bases (94). Senior TJ Magnell (Leominster, MA) is first in the conference in runs scored (46) while classmate Ryan LaPrade (Leominster, MA) tops stolen bases with 23 swipes.

The rotation is led by senior Joey Lucier (Brockton, MA) who has a 7-2 record with 62 strikeouts in 59.2 innings as senior closer Kevin Hayes (Medford, MA) has set the single season records in appearances (23) and saves (7). Hayes has a 1.82 ERA with 23 punchouts in 29.2 innings.

Eastern Connecticut is paced by senior Chris Thompson (Montville, CT) who has a .380 average, with five homers and 25 RBIs while classmate Melvin Castillo (Danbury, CT) is right behind with a .374 average, seven homers, 56 runs, 54 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

The rotation is led by junior Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) is 5-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 55.1 innings as senior Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) carries a 6-2 record while classmate Will Munson (Wethersfield, CT) is 5-0. Fontaine and Munson also have one save apeice.

The winner of the New England Regional advances to the NCAA DIII World Series, an eight-team double-elimination tournament which will be played at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin with the first round beginning on May 28th.

All games played in Mansfield will be webcast on www.littleeast.tv and feature livestats.


2010 New England Regional Tournament Seeds:

#1 Tufts University (31-5 - NESCAC Champion)
#2 Wheaton College (32-8 - NEWMAC Champion)
#3 Western New England (33-10 - TCCC Champion)
#4 Eastern Connecticut (30-13 - At-Large)
#5 Worcester State (31-9-1 - MASCAC Champion)
#6 Westfield State (30-9 - At-Large)
#7 UMass.-Boston (27-15 - LEC Champion)
#8 Saint Joseph's (32-11 - GNAC Champion)