Manhattan Embarks on Fourth NCAA Tournament
NCAA Tournament Central
Manhattan ready for CWS Champs - AP
New York Daily News - Jaspers Journey
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan College baseball team will make its fourth appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament Friday when the Jaspers meet Columbia Regional host and #8 national seed, South Carolina at 4 p.m. Fans can watch the Jaspers-Gamecocks opening round match up live from Carolina Stadium on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. GoJaspers.com will have additional coverage with live audio broadcasts that can be accessed on mobile devices for all Manhattan's games in the Columbia Regional of the NCAA Tournament. Visit the NCAA Tournament Game Day Central page to follow all the action.
Manhattan (33-25) earned the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Baseball Championships by winning its third conference title last weekend at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, N.Y., home of the Houston Astros Class-A affiliate the Tri-City ValleyCats. It is the Jaspers second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and their third since 2006. In 2006, Manhattan defeated tournament host #6 Nebraska and San Francisco to advance to the Regional Final, before it dropped the elimination contest to Miami.
After facing top-seed South Carolina, the two-time defending National Champions, in game one of the double elimination tournament, Manhattan will take on either No. 2 Clemson or No. 3 Coastal Carolina on Saturday. It will mark the first time the Jaspers will play any of the South Carolina based schools in the baseball program history. The winner of the Columbia Regional advances to the best-of-three Super Regional the following weekend.
The Manhattan Athletics Ticket Office has limited seats available for alumni and patrons of the program. Please contact Teresa Moran at 718-862-7297 to place your order by 5 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets can be picked up no later than 12 p.m. on Friday at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown lobby on 630 Assembly Street, Columbia, S.C. 29201.
Columbia Regional Field
#1 South Carolina (40-17)
South Carolina was awarded the No. 8 national seed in this year's NCAA Tournament after winning the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are the two-time defending National Champions and have won an NCAA-record 16 straight NCAA Tournament games (including a 10-0 mark in 2011). Junior first baseman Christian Walker, who has been named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team in each of the last two years, was a First Team All-SEC selection. Walker leads the Gamecocks with a .328 average, 10 home runs and 51 RBIs. Junior infielder LB Dantzler has tallied nine homers and 43 RBIs, while freshman outfielder Tanner English is hitting .309. English, catcher Grayson Greiner and shortstop Joey Pancake were all selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team. Senior left-hander Michael Roth, who earned a place on the SEC All-Defensive Team along with junior outfielder Evan Marzilli, was the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Roth is 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA and a team-high 75 strikeouts in 15 starts. Junior right-hander Colby Holmes also boasts a 6-1 record this season. Junior closer Matt Price, a Second Team All-SEC choice, has collected 10 saves to go along with four wins and 74 strikeouts in 63.2 innings.
#2 Clemson (33-26)
Clemson earned an at-large NCAA Tournament bid out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. This is the Tigers' 37th NCAA Tournament appearance, and 25th in the last 26 years. Junior third baseman Richie Shaffer and senior designated hitter Phil Pohl both earned First Team All-ACC honors. Shaffer leads the team in batting average (.339), hits (74), home runs (10) and doubles (19) while ranking second on the squad in runs (45) and RBIs (46). Pohl has belted eight homers to go along with a team-high 50 RBIs. Sophomore second baseman Steve Wilkerson, the team leader with 47 runs scored, and junior outfielder Thomas Brittle were both named to the All-ACC Second Team. In addition, sophomore first baseman Jon McGibbon earned All-Tournament honors at last weekend's ACC Tournament. Junior right-hander Kevin Brady paces the Clemson pitching staff with a 2.52 ERA, while sophomore Kevin Pohle, freshman Daniel Gossett and junior Dominic Leone are tied for the team lead with six wins apiece. Gossett is the team-leader with 79 strikeouts. Working exclusively out of the bullpen, junior righty Scott Firth is 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA.
#3 Coastal Carolina (41-17)
After winning the Big South Conference regular season crown, Coastal Carolina added a tournament title with a 4-1 victory over Liberty in the Big South Championship Game. Senior outfielder Daniel Bowman was named Big South Player of the Year. He leads the Chanticleers with a .401 average, 91 hits, 59 runs scored, five triples and six home runs. Senior third baseman Rich Witten was also selected to the All-Big South First Team. He paces the squad with 16 doubles and 62 RBIs to go along with a .350 batting average. Senior catcher Tucker Frawley, another First Team All-Big South choice, won the conference's Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and is a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award. Junior Aaron Burke was the First Team All-Big South relief pitcher, as well as Big South Co-Pitcher of the Year. In 34 relief appearances, Burke has a 1.18 ERA and a team-leading 10 wins, as well as picking up seven saves. He shared Big South Tournament MVP honors with junior reliever Ryan Connolly. Connolly boasts a 2.11 ERA, five wins, and a team-high 11 saves. Sophomore right-hander Tyler Herb has made 16 starts on the mound, notching an 8-2 record and 2.87 ERA. He also has a team-leading 65 strikeouts. In addition, Chanticleers Head Coach Gary Gilmore was named Big South Coach of the Year for the eighth time this season.