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Baseball Looks to Defend Back-to-Back Conference Titles this Weekend

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - The Wesleyan University baseball team will look to defend its back-to-back NESCAC Championship titles this weekend when it heads to Nashua, N.H. as the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC West. The Cardinals will open the tournament against the No. 2 seed from the East, Trinity College, on Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m. 

LIVE COVERAGE
Every game will be broadcasted live by the Northeast Sports Network (NSN), and will feature live stats.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT
The conference tournament features the top two teams from each division, and will be a double elimination format played at Holman Stadium (Nashua, N.H.). The top seed in the East, Tufts University, will serve as the host from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15. 

PREVIEW
Wesleyan, who clinched the No. 1 seed on April 30 with a 4-3 extra-inning victory over Amherst College, enters the tournament with a 22-10 overall record, and a 7-5 NESCAC West mark. The Bantams enter the tournament with a 15-19 overall record, and a 7-5 ledger in NESCAC East play. The Cardinals and Bantams are fresh off a doubleheader Saturday, which saw Wesleyan win both contests by scores of 6-2 in game one and 8-1 in game two. The Cardinals are 4-1 in their last five games, while the Bantams have lost five straight. 

Wesleyan boasts the league's best offense and leads the NESCAC in batting average (.347), slugging percentage (.492), runs scored (275) and stolen bases (48). The Cardinals' lineup is led by seniors Marco Baratta and Guy Davidson. Baratta leads the league in hitting with a .444 batting average and ranks second with 39 RBIs. Davidson ranks third overall with a .400 batting average and 35 RBIs, and was the hero of last year's championship in which he hit the game-winning homerun in the top of the 12th inning to give Wesleyan a 4-3 victory over Amherst - securing the Cardinals' second NESCAC Tournament championship. On the mound, junior Nick Miceli leads the staff with a 6-1 record and 2.92 ERA. He also has a conference-high five saves, and his six wins are tied with six others for most among league leaders. Joining him with six wins is teammate Peter Rantz '16, while Ethan Rode '17 has five.

Trinity is led by senior Daniel Pidgeon and freshman Johnny Stamatis. Pidgeon is batting .302 with 27 RBIs, while Stamatis is batting .324 with 27 runs scored. On the mound, the Bantams are led by Anthony Egeln, Jr. who has a 4-2 record and a staff-high 33 strikeouts.

AGAINST THE FIELD
The Cardinals went 2-1 during the season against Amherst, who finished second in the West, and 2-0 against Trinity. The Cardinals did not face Tufts this season, but boast a 19-16 overall record against the Jumbos, with the Cardinals winning the last meeting on May 11, 2014 in the NESCAC Tournament by a score of 6-4. Tufts will head into the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the East with a 29-6 overall record, and an 11-1 conference mark. The Jumbos' lone loss in league play occurred at Bowdoin on April 30th by a score of 5-2.

For a complete preview of the NESCAC Tournament, click HERE. 

2016 NESCAC Baseball Championship Schedule

Day One - Friday, May 13
Holman Stadium – Nashua, N.H.
Game 1 - Tufts vs. Amherst – 3 p.m.
Game 2 - Wesleyan vs. Trinity – 7 p.m.

Day Two - Saturday, May 14
Holman Stadium – Nashua, N.H.
Game 3 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 10 a.m.
Game 4 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 2 p.m.
Game 5 - Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 – 40 minutes after Game 4 

Day Three - Sunday, May 15
Holman Stadium – Nashua, N.H.
Game 6 - Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 – 10 a.m.
Game 7 - If necessary – 30 minutes after completion of Game 6