May 13, 2010

By Sara Weber
Special to NCAA.com


For Division II baseball teams this week, all eyes are looking forward, trying to get to Cary, North Carolina for the NCAA Division II National Championship Series. The first step is this week's eight regionals. Six sites will host six teams, the West region will host four teams and the South region will host eight teams. All regionals are double-elimination tournaments. To get you ready for Thursday's action, here is a breakdown of each region and all the teams participating.

Links to this week's polls:
NCAA-II Poll: http://www.baseballnews.com/polls/divII/currentpolldivII.htm
NCBWA: http://www.sportswriters.net/ncbwa/div2poll/index.html
PING!: http://www.pingbaseball.com/rankings/dii_top30.php
UCSD is still No. 1 in all three polls.

NCAA.COM Regional Page: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/051010aac.html

Let's start with the West and the current No. 1 team in the land, UC San Diego (UCSD)

WEST
Teams: 1. UCSD (48-7), 2. Cal State Dominguez Hills (40-18), 3. Cal State Chico (35-18), 4. Hawaii Pacific (37-10)
Host: Cal State Dominquez Hills - MLB Urban Youth Academy, Compton, CA
Tournament Central: http://www.gotoros.com/custompages/baseball/2010-NCAA-WR/index.html
Dates: May 13-16 (Thursday-Sunday)
Notes: Cal State Dominguez Hills is hosting a regional for the first time

School: University of California at San Diego Tritons
Region Seed: 1
Record: 48-7
Head Coach (record): Dan O'Brien (13th Season, 406-267-1)
Conference: CCAA
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, 3rd place national finish
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: They won the CCAA tournament last weekend by beating Cal State DH 8-3 and secured the automatic bid to the West region
Top Players: Senior first baseman Brandon Gregorich (CCAA Player of the Year) is hitting .468 and is aiming to break a school record set in 1987 when the record was .465. He has 94 hits, 28 doubles, and 79 RBI - all UCSD records. Catcher Kellen Lee is hitting .415 and SS Vance Albitz has 323 career hits, seventh-highest career total in Division II history. The pitching staff is led by CCAA Pitcher of the Year, Matt Rossman. He is 9-0 with a 2.37 ERA.

Notes: As a team, UCSD is hitting .374. The team broke several school records this season including the record for wins in a season with 48 so far; plus, they have scored 511 runs. They bring a potent offense and a battle-tested defense to the table.


School: California State University at Dominguez Hills Toros
Region Seed: 2 (Host)
Record: 40-18
Head Coach (record): Murphy Su'a (4th Season, 120-148-1)
Conference: CCAA
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, West region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: They lost the CCAA tournament final to UCSD, but secured an at-large bid to the West region.
Top Players: Senior RHP Brett Montgomery (First -team All-CCAA selection) leads the way with a 6-3 record and a 3.07 ERA. He is joined by junior CCAA Newcomer of the Year Abel Medina. Medina is batting .408 with 13 HR and 64 RBI. Also joining in is OF Kevin Pillar, batting .387 with 89 hits.

Notes: As a team, CSDH is hitting .318. They last won the West in 1987.


School: California State University at Chico (Chico State) Wildcats
Region Seed: 3
Record: 35-18
Head Coach (record): Dave Taylor (4th Season, 159-71)
Conference: CCAA
NCAA Last appearance: 2008, West region tournament
NCAA Titles: 2, 1997 & 1999
How they got here: They lost to CCAA tournament runner-up Cal State Dominquez Hills, 8-4, but secured an at-large bid by virtue of their No. 3 rank in the West region.
Top Players: Senior SS Michael Murphy (Second -team All-CCAA selection) leads the charge with a .387 average, 79 hits, and 7 HR. Adding to the mix is junior OF Johnny Hay with 11 HR, 59 RBI, and a .354 average. Senior RHP Ian Waldron leads the pitching staff with a 6-1 record and a 2.64 ERA through 25 appearances.

Notes: Chico State is no stranger to NCAA play, having won the national title in 1997 and 1999. As a team, the Wildcats are hitting .335. The Wildcats rallied from 10 runs down in the CCAA tournament to defeat Cal State San Bernardino and survive to play again. They won that game 16-15, an epic.


School: Hawaii Pacific University Sea Warriors
Region Seed: 4
Record: 37-10
Head Coach (record): Garett Yukumoto (5th Season, 143-96-1)
Conference: PacWest
NCAA Last appearance: 0, 1 NAIA World Series appearance in 1991
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: They won the Pacific West conference title and was awarded a bid to the West region. They have won the PacWest title two of the last three years.
Top Players: The Sea Warriors are led by senior IF Kenny Turner, who bats .440, freshman IF Kale Sumner, .420, and sophomore IF Blake Amaral, who is batting .400 with seven HR. Senior catcher Bas Nooij also has seven HR and a .407 average. Junior RHP Michael Greene and senior RHP Danny March lead the pitching staff. March has 15 appearances with a 6-0 record and a 3.09 ERA. Greene has 3.70 ERA, a 6-2 record, and 10 appearances.

Notes: 2010 marks the first NCAA appearance in school history for the Sea Warriors, as they are NCAA eligible this year.

SOUTH
Teams: 1. Southern Arkansas (43-8), 2. Tampa (42-8), 3. Valdosta State (42-15), 4. Florida Southern (39-14), 5. Rollins (38-17), 6. West Florida (36-18), 7. Florida Tech (38-14), 8. Albany State (33-14)
Host: University of Tampa - Tampa Baseball Stadium, Tampa, FL
Tournament Central: http://www.tampaspartans.com/page.asp?articleID=2205
Dates: May 13-17 (Thursday-Monday)
Notes: The South is the only region with eight teams and boasts the former top-ranked team SAU (they were No. 1 through most of April) and the nation's current No. 2, Tampa. Those two teams are also 1-2 in the South region rankings

School: Southern Arkansas University Muleriders (SAU)
Region Seed: 1
Record: 43-8
Head Coach (record): Allen Gum (5th Season, 222-66)
Conference: GSC (Gulf South Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, NCAA South region tournament (they hosted)
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: They are the top-ranked team in the South region. They are GSC tournament runner-ups as they lost to Valdosta State in the GSC tournament championship game, 20-10. They forced a final and deciding game, but could not overcome Valdosta State.
Top Players: Junior starting pitcher Hayden Simpson (GSC West Player of the Year) leads the charge with an astounding 1.88 ERA and a 12-1 record through 13 appearances. Also leading the Muleriders are senior 3B Cannon Lester (GSC West Division First-Team selection), who is batting .418 with 13 HR and senior SS Andrew Whittington (GSC West Division First-Team selection), who is batting .396 with 84 hits. Junior 1B Logan Williams leads the team with 15 HR.

Notes: As a team, SAU is hitting .365. They have been the top seed in the South pretty much most of the season. They had to defer hosting the South region due to the hotel situation in Magnolia as several events were scheduled for this weekend in their home town.


School: University of Tampa Spartans
Region Seed: 2
Record: 42-8
Head Coach (record): Joe Urso (10th Season, 442-134-1)
Conference: SSC (Sunshine State Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, NCAA South region tournament
NCAA Titles: 5, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2006, 2007
How they got here: They are the second-ranked team in the South region and second-ranked team nationally. They clinched the SSC title outright and the automatic bid with a sweep of arch-rival Florida Southern on their last regular season series weekend.
Top Players: The Spartans are led by SSC Player of the Year senior designated hitter Mike Schwartz who is batting .421 with 70 runs scored and 11 HR. Senior OF Tyler Cox (All SSC First-team) is batting .388 with 57 hits and junior IF Patrick Donahue (All SSC First-team) is at .390 with 15 2B and 60 H. First-team All-SSC starting pitcher junior Josh Bowman anchors the pitching staff with a 4.12 ERA, 66 strikeouts, and a 7-3 record. Junior Evan Stobbs (SSC Honorable mention) has nine saves, an ERA of 0.48 and 21 strikeouts through 18.2 innings pitched.

Notes: Joe Urso, the SSC Coach of the Year, is now UT's all-time winningest baseball coach. They won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007; went back to the Champ series in 2008, but went two and out. They lost in the South region last year and are looking to return to the Champ series this year. Had a streak of 25 wins in a row through March and the beginning of April this season. They are hosting for the third time in four years.


School: Valdosta State University Blazers
Region Seed: 3
Record: 42-15
Head Coach (record): Greg Guilliams (3rd Season, 121-54)
Conference: GSC (Gulf South Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, NCAA South region tournament
NCAA Titles: 1, 1979
How they got here: They defeated SAU to win the GSC title, 20-10, after dropping the first game, 19-2. They were undefeated throughout the whole tournament until the final day when SAU forced a deciding game. With that championship, they secured the automatic bid.
Top Players: The Blazers are led by GSC East Player of the Year senior OF Brandon Decker who is batting .432 with 19 HR, 82 H, 76 RBI, and 20 2B. His teammate designated hitter senior Clayton Cain follows him with a .429 average and 18 HR. Junior OF Ryan Dansbury has 20 stolen bases. The pitching staff is led by All-GSC East first-team righty starter Jeremy Forbus with a 4.14 ERA and a 9-1 record through 19 appearances. Junior RHP Brett Kennedy (All GSC East First-team) is along for the ride with 81 strikeouts through 92.2 innings pitched, a 4.27 ERA, and a 7-4 record.

Notes: As a team, the Blazers are batting .352.


School: Florida Southern College Moccasins
Region Seed: 4
Record: 39-14
Head Coach (record): Jim Tyrrell (2nd Season, 80-30)
Conference: SSC (Sunshine State Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, NCAA South region runner-up
NCAA Titles: 9, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1995, and 2005
How they got here: Finished fourth in the SSC with a 14-10 record and a South region ranking of three.
Top Players: The Moccasins are led by designated hitter and SSC honorable mention Andrew Grutka with a .349 batting average and 65 hits. Junior lefty Max Russell, a SSC First-team selection, leads the pitching staff with 101 strikeouts, a 4.59 ERA, and a 10-2 record through 14 appearances. SSC Second-team RHP Daniel Tillman has 13 saves.

Notes: Perennial power Florida Southern returns to the South region tournament once again where they narrowly missed going to the champ series last year in Coach Tyrell's first season at the helm. They actually lost to fellow conference foe Lynn, who wound up going on to win the 2009 NCAA National Championship.


School: Rollins College Tars
Region Seed: 5
Record: 38-17
Head Coach (record): Dr. Jon Sjogren (5th Season, 150-122-1)
Conference: SSC (Sunshine State Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2005, NCAA South region
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Finished second in the SSC with a 16-8 record.
Top Players: The Tars are led by All SSC First-team and Pitcher of the Year senior Tim Griffin, who sports an ERA of 2.34 with an 11-2 record through 16 appearances and 86 strikeouts. In the hitting department, senior OF and All SSC First-team selection Taylor Ferguson bats .393 with 12 HR and 27 2B.

Notes: Rollins returns to the NCAA tournament after a five year layover and a new coach as Dr. Sjogren joined the Tars in 2006.


School: University of West Florida Argos
Region Seed: 6
Record: 36-18
Head Coach (record): Mike Jeffcoat (5th Season, 166-117)
Conference: GSC (Gulf South Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2007, NCAA South region
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: GSC East Division champions with an 11-3 record.
Top Players: The Argos are led by All GSC East First-team LHP junior Daniel Vargas-Vila, who has a 3.74 ERA and an 8-2 record through 15 appearances. All GSC East Division First -team selections 2B Kyle Brown and 3B Dustin Lawley lead the team in hitting with .385 and .377 respectively. Lawley has 66 hits.

Notes: The Argos return to the NCAA tournament after a three-year hiatus.


School: Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) Panthers
Region Seed: 7
Record: 38-14
Head Coach (record): Greg Berkemeier (3rd Season, 105-56-1)
Conference: SSC (Sunshine State Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2008, NCAA South region
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Tied for fourth in the SSC with 14-10 record.
Top Players: The Panthers are led by All SSC First-team starting pitcher Jonathan Cornelius, who sports a 3.98 ERA with an 8-3 record through 12 appearances and 94 strikeouts. The hitters are led by All SSC First-team 1B Michael Demma, who is hitting .371 with 11 HR.

Notes: As a team, the Panthers are hitting .304 and they have broken the record for wins in a season with 38. The Panthers return to the NCAA tournament after a two-year hiatus.


School: Albany State Rams (Ga.)
Region Seed: 8
Record: 33-14
Head Coach (record): Edward Taylor (n/a)
Conference: SIAC (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2006, NCAA South region
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Defeated Benedict College to win the SIAC and the automatic bid.
Top Players: The Rams are led by SIAC MVP sophomore SS/3B William Smalls.

Notes: The Golden Rams last made the NCAA tourney in 2006.


ATLANTIC
Teams: 1. Kutztown (37-12), 2. West Chester (36-12), 3. Seton Hill (35-19), 4. West Virginia State (31-14), 5. Mansfield (32-18), 6. California (Pa.) (32-16)
Host: Kutztown University - Owls Field, West Lawn, PA
Tournament Central: http://kutztown-live.sidearmsports.com/sports/2010/5/6/BB_0506104827.aspx
Dates: May 13-16 (Thursday-Sunday)
Notes: Kutztown was ranked number one in the Atlantic region all season, but lost the PSAC tourney to California (Pa.)


School: Kutztown University Golden Bears
Region Seed: 1
Record: 37-12
Head Coach (record): Chris Blum (8th season, 296-125)
Conference: PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, NCAA Atlantic region
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Top-ranked in the Atlantic division, PSAC Tournament runner-ups, second place finish in the PSAC with 16-8 record.
Top Players: The Golden Bears are led by PSAC East Player of the Year sophomore 3B Shane Houck, who is batting .480 with a team-leading 16 HR, 23 2B, and 71 RBI. He is followed by teammate senior 1B Jared Frey, who is hitting .426 with 46 RBI and 60 hits.

Notes: Kutztown has been making noise all season and looks to win the Atlantic region amid tough competition from West Chester, Mansfield, and West Virginia State.


School: West Chester University Golden Rams
Region Seed: 2
Record: 36-12
Head Coach (record): Mark Jackson (1st season, 36-12)
Conference: PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, NCAA National Championship Series, lost two games
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: First place finish in the PSAC with a 17-7 record.
Top Players: The Golden Rams are led by sophomore All-PSAC East selection Joe Wendle, who is batting .40 with 75 hits and 60 runs scored. Wendle also had a 23-game hitting streak snapped mid-season. Fred Breidenbach tied the school record for wins in a single season with 10 while amassing a 10-2 record and a 4.05 ERA.. Breidenbach, who was named PSAC Freshman of the Year, leads the conference in wins and ranks fifth nationally in that category.

Notes: West Chester has scored 457 runs as a team and 64 homeruns. They are looking to return to the Champ series and avenge last year's losses to 2010 champ Lynn, and current No. 1 in the land, UCSD.


School: Seton Hill University Griffins
Region Seed: 3
Record: 35-19
Head Coach (record): Mark Marizzaldi (7th season, 214-149)
Conference: WVIAC (West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 0, 2010 marks their first appearance in school history
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Won first WVIAC title with 14-3 victory over West Virginia State. They were also the WVIAC Northern Division Champs.
Top Players: Catcher and All-WVIAC First -team selection Pat Trettel leads the charge with a .428 batting average and has amassed 12 HR and 17 2B with 71 RBI. Senior RHP Josh Guthrie has a 4-2 record with a 3.55 ERA through 32 innings of work.

Notes: Seton Hill is looking to make some noise after being in the NAIA for several years. This is their debut in the NCAA Tournament.

School: West Virginia State University Yellow Jackets
Region Seed: 4
Record: 31-14
Head Coach (record): Cal Bailey (32nd season, 915-420-4)
Conference: WVIAC (West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2008, Atlantic region tournament - lost to Kutztown
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Lost the title game of the WVIAC to Seton Hill.
Top Players: Senior infielder Josh Bower leads the team in batting with a .407 average and 68 hits. Junior Bo Darby has 13 HR and a .346 average. Both were WVIAC First-team selections.

Notes: In 2005, the Jackets advanced to the NCAA National Champ Series in Montgomery, AL and garnered a 5th place National finish


School: Mansfield University Mountaineers
Region Seed: 5
Record: 32-18
Head Coach (record): Harry Hillson (25th season, 778-465-1)
Conference: PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2002, Atlantic region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Lost in the PSAC tournament. Finished third in the East division with a 13-11 record.
Top Players: Junior outfielder and All-PSAC East First-team selection Kevin Miller is batting .364 with 60 hits and 14 2B. Bernard Johnson is an ALL-PSAC relief pitcher with 6-3 record, a 3.16 ERA and 27 strikeouts. Senior 1B Chris Coleman also leads the hitting attack with a .396 average and he is on a 24-game hitting streak.

Notes: In 1992, Mansfield was the national runner-up to Tampa, who won that game, 11-8. Harry Hillson is one of the winningest coaches in all of Division II .


School: California University (Pa.) Vulcans
Region Seed: 6
Record: 32-16
Head Coach (record): Mike Conte (14th season, 392-268-4)
Conference: PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2007, Atlantic region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Won the PSAC tournament by defeating Kutztown, 10-9. Finished second in the West division with a 17-7 record.
Top Players: The Vulcans are led by redshirt sophomore and PSAC West Pitcher of the Year Randy Sturgill, who boasts and 8-1 record with a 3.18 ERA through 70.2 innings of work. Senior rightfielder and All-PSAC West First-team selection Sam DiMatteo is batting .407 with 11 HR and a school-record 42 steals.

Notes: Mike Conte was named PSAC West Coach of the Year, the sixth time for him in his career.


EAST
Teams: 1. Southern Connecticut State (35-11-1), 2. Franklin Pierce (36-14-1), 3. New Haven (31-13), 4. Stonehill (29-16), 5. CW Post (31-15-1), 6. Dominican (28-16)
Host: Southern Connecticut State University - Yale Field, West Haven, CT
Tournament Central: http://www.southernctowls.com/sports/2010/5/11/BB_0511105510.aspx
Dates: May 13-17 (Thursday-Monday)
Notes: SCSU was in the driver's seat all season, remaining number one in the regional poll for a great part of the 2010 season. They will host the tournament for the first time in school history.

School: Southern Connecticut State University Owls
Region Seed: 1
Record: 35-11-1
Head Coach (record): Tim Shea (9th season, 263-168-1)
Conference: Northeast 10 Conference
NCAA Last appearance: 2008, East region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Finished first in the NE 10 Conference with a 21-5 record. Lost in an elimination game in the tournament to No. 2 seed Franklin Pierce.
Top Players: Mike Cleary was named Northeast 10 Freshman of the Year after batting .328 with 57 runs scored and 11 stolen bases. He is followed by shortstop and NE-10 First-team selection Ryan Geffert who adds his .320 average and team-leading 14 homeruns to the mix. Chris Zbin leads the pitching staff with a 2.07 ERA and a 7-2 record. He has 96 strikeouts and had a career-best 15 strikeouts in a game against Mercy.

Notes: Tim Shea has been a two-time ABCA Regional Coach of the Year and Northeast 10 Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2008.


School: Franklin Pierce University Ravens
Region Seed: 2
Record: 36-14-1
Head Coach (record): Jayson King (12th season, 401-205-2)
Conference: Northeast 10 Conference
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, East region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Lost in finals of NE 10 tournament. Finished second in regular season standings to SCSU with a 19-6-1 conference mark.
Top Players: Junior right-hander Jose Macias was named Northeast-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year and an ALL-NE-10 First-team selection. He sports an 8-1 record with an astounding 1.08 ERA through 75 innings of work. He has thrown 104 strikeouts. Joining him on the ALL-NE-10 first-team are senior rightfielder Phil Hendricks and sophomore catcher Mike Dowd. Hendricks is batting .347 with 17 2B and Dowd is at .311 with 6 HR and 12 2B.

Notes: The team has won four NCAA Northeast Region titles and in 2007, they won the Northeast-10 Regular season and tournament titles.


School: University of New Haven Chargers
Region Seed: 3
Record: 31-13
Head Coach (record): Raphael Cerrato (4th season, 105-77)
Conference: Northeast 10 Conference
NCAA Last appearance: 2006, Northeast region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Lost to Merrimack in NE 10 tournament. Finished third in regular season standings with an 18-8 conference mark. Ranked third in the East region rankings.
Top Players: Junior closer Mitch Rossi is a All-NE-10 First-team selection. Sophomore Ryan Brockett and junior tom Rombilus were named to the All-NE-10 Second-team. Rossu has 11 saves and an 1.67 ERA with 35 strikeouts through 32.1 innings pitched. Brockett is batting .312 with 44 hits. Rombilus is batting .311.

Notes: New Haven returns to the NCAA field after a four-year hiatus.


School: Stonhill College Skyhawks
Region Seed: 4
Record: 29-16
Head Coach (record): Patrick Boen (10th season, 274-77)
Conference: Northeast 10 Conference
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, Northeast region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: Lost to Merrimack in NE 10 tournament. Finished third in regular season standings with an 18-8 conference mark. Ranked third in the East region rankings.
Top Players: Junior first baseman Angelo Bruno, the NE-10 Championship MVP is batting .298 with 31 runs scored and ten homeruns. His teammate, senior Mitch Davis is batting .313 with 14 doubles. Junior right-hander Alex McCormick, an All- NE-10 selection, has an 1.36 ERA with a 6-3 record.

Notes: This is only Stonhill's second appearance in the NCAA tournament.


School: CW Post University Pioneers
Region Seed: 5
Record: 31-15-1
Head Coach (record): Pete Timmes (5th season, 115-126-2)
Conference: ECC (East Coast Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2008, Northeast region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: The Pioneers won the ECC championship over Molloy College, 6-5, in an 11-inning thriller
Top Players: The Pioneers are led by Zach Graczyk, the ECC Player of the Year, who boasts a .376 average with 67 hits and 14 doubles. Graczyk has also pitched in 11 games and has a 1.50 ERA through 24 innings of work. Brian Saldana is 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA through 17 appearances.

Notes: The Pioneers improved to 31-15-1 this season, tying for the most wins in school history with the 1981 squad, which went 31-8. Pete Timmes won the ECC Coach of the Year honors.


School: Dominican College Chargers
Region Seed: 6
Record: 28-16
Head Coach (record): Rick Giannetti (21st season, 598-356)
Conference: CACC (Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference)
NCAA Last appearance: 2009, East region tournament
NCAA Titles: 0
How they got here: The Chargers won the CACC Championship after beating Post University, 6-4. They finished 15-5 in the conference standings.
Top Players: The Chargers are led by First-team CACC selections Tommy Maloney and Dave Bartuska. Maloney is batting .369. Bartuska has a 2.08 ERA and a 4-0 record with 50 strikeouts.

Notes: The Chargers have earned their second consecutive NCAA East Region Tournament appearance. Coach Giannetti was the 2009 ECAC Coach of the Year.