|Eric Hamilton was named the Bob Wallace Player of the Year in the SUNYAC for the second time.
Oswego State athletics photo
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May 20: All times Eastern
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Meet the teams
By John McGraw
Teams from New England, New York and the Mid-Atlantic comprise the Syracuse, New York, regional which will be played at the Onondaga Community College Baseball Complex and hosted by the SUNYAC. Four of the six teams descending on the Salt City will be from outside of the New York region. Interlopers from New England will make up half of the six-team field in the form of Southern Maine, Tufts and Castleton. The outsider, not from New York or New England, will be TCNJ, representing the Mid-Atlantic.
Oswego State is making its third straight NCAA tournament appearance. The Lakers were shipped to New England last May and came within two wins of claiming the crown at the Eastern Connecticut State regional. Scott Landers piloted the Green and Gold to the SUNYAC regular season championship, dethroning perennial New York powerhouse SUNY Cortland atop of the table for the first time ever in the modern conference format.
Southern Maine returns to the regionals after a one-year absence. This spring, the Huskies have won 30 games of 40 games against Division III opponents and went 10-6 against regionally ranked teams. Tufts is making its second NCAA tournament appearance in a row and the Jumbos have been to the NCAA regionals four out of the last eight years.
Castleton has become a familiar face in the New York regional with this year marking the third time in four years that the Spartans have been sent to the Empire State. Castleton won its four NAC tournament championship in a row this past Sunday by dispatching of New England College twice in the championship round.
TCNJ claimed a share of the NJAC’s regular season conference crown and then reeled off three-straight wins in the NJAC tournament to earn a return trip to the NCAA tournament. The Lions punched their tournament ticket in dramatic fashion with rallies from down 5-0 and 6-5 in the NJAC title tilt versus Ramapo.
Ithaca captured the Empire 8’s first ever automatic bid in what will be the school’s final season in the conference. This past weekend, The Bombers swept through the Empire 8 tournament and defeated St. John Fisher in the championship game. Ithaca will be making its 46th NCAA tournament appearance, 33rd under George Valesente, and first since 2013. The last time Valesente skippered the Bombers to the regionals, Ithaca won the regional championship and finished third at the Division III World Series.
Syracuse Regional schedule
All times Eastern
Thursday, May 18
Game 1: No. 1 Oswego State (28-8) vs. No. 6 Ithaca (28-11), 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 2 Southern Maine (30-11) vs. No. 5 Castleton (34-8), 2:30
Game 3: No. 3 TCNJ (31-11) vs. No. 4 Tufts (30-8-1), 6:00
Friday, May 19
Game 4: Ithaca vs. Castleton, 11 a.m.
Game 5: Oswego State vs. Tufts, 2:30
Game 6: Southern Maine vs. TCNJ, 6:00
Saturday, May 20
Game 7: Oswego State vs. Southern Maine, 11 a.m
Game 8: Ithaca vs. TCNJ, 2:30
Game 9: Ithaca vs. Southern Maine, 6:00
Sunday, May 21
Game 10: Southern Maine vs. Oswego State, 12
Game 11: Game 10 rematch, if necessary
The Huskies finished the regular season on a 21-2 run that included a Little East Conference regular season title before stumbling at home in the LEC tournament. You can bet that Southern Maine will not be looking past their first round opponent after dropping their opener in the LEC tournament.
Most likely to disappoint
The Lakers sail into Salt City as the No. 1 seed in the regional. Oswego State won the SUNYAC regular season title and then was awarded the conference’s automatic bid due to the SUNYAC tournament being washed away with heavy rains and wet grounds. The Lakers have not played a game since sweeping SUNY Oneonta on April 29. Oswego went 16-4 in April but did begin the month 2-2 after a two-week break in late March because of the weather. If the Lakers cannot shake off the rust quickly, they’ll find themselves in a tough situation.
Ithaca played the role of spoiler in the Empire 8 tournament, knocking off nationally ranked Empire 8 regular season champ St. John Fisher in the title bout. Ithaca enters the regionals with a well-rested pitching staff and an offense that scored 18 runs in three Empire 8 postseason games.
Players to Watch
C – C.J. Gearhart, TCNJ (.326, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 43 H, 32 R, 17 CSB)
1B – Nick Falkson, Tufts (.377, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 55 H, 33 R, .997 FLD %)
2B – Jake Dexter, Southern Maine (.354, 22 RBI, 57 H, 34 R / 4-1, 11 SV, 33.0 IP, 27 K)
SS – Zachary Scindler, TCNJ (.356, 37 RBI, 58 H, 16 XBH, 28 BB, 20 SB)
3B – Ryan Henchey, Ithaca (..364, 44 RBI, 56 H, 14 DBL)
3B – Eric Hamilton, Oswego State (.442, 4 HR, 34 RBI, .652 SLG, 17 DBL, 61 H)
3B – Tommy O’Hara, Tufts (.344, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 44 H, 42 R, 33 BB, .497 OBP)
OF – Dylan Hapworth, Southern Maine (.404, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 55 H, 43 R, 24 XBH .735 SLG)
OF – Zach Quintal, Southern Maine (.361, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 61 H, 41 R, 13 TRP, 25 BB, 12 SB)
OF – Sam Little, Ithaca (.336, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 29 BB, 45 H, 38 R)
DH – Mike Dellicarri, Oswego State (.343, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 13 DBL, .676 SLG)
UTL – Davis Mikel, Castleton (.326, 9 HR, 32 RBI, .623 SLG / 6-1, 1 SV, 0.96 ERA, 47.0 IP, 63 K)
SP – Joe Cirillo, TCNJ (5-1, 1.40 ERA, 5 CG, 77.1 IP, 64 K)
SP – Jake Binder, Ithaca (8-1, 2.93 ERA, 70.2 IP, 33 K, 20 BB)
SP – Tim Cronin, Oswego State (9-0, 1.82 ERA, 6 CG, 2 SO, 59.1, 32 K)
SP – Speros Verinos, Tufts (8-1, 1.92 ERA, 2 CG, 70.1 IP, 78 K, 10 BB)
RP – Matt Curry, TCNJ (8-0, 7 SV, 0.87 ERA, 31.0 IP, 26 K)