May 12, 2010
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-For the fourth time in the last six seasons, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's baseball team will head for post-season play when they begin play in the Little East Conference Tournament Thursday afternoon at the Eastern Connecticut Outdoor Sports Complex. The fifth-seeded Corsairs will play second-seeded Keene State at 1:15 p.m. The winner will advance to play again Friday afternoon, while the lower will play an elimination game Thursday night.
The tournament, which was delayed a day due to forecasts of inclement weather Wednesday, will include four games daily Thursday and Friday, two games Saturday and a second possible game in the championship round slated for Sunday.
UMass Dartmouth comes into the tournament with a 20-17 overall record, and finished fifth in the LEC with a 7-7 conference mark. KSC is 25-13-1 and 10-4 in LEC play, and finished in a first place tie with Eastern Connecticut State, who was awarded the top seeded and the opportunity to host the tournament based on the tie-breaker. The Owls, who swept UMD at home on the final day of the regular season last Saturday, are the only team that the Corsairs did not beat during the regular season, but everything begins anew when pos-season play starts. "If you look at the regular season, there were a lot of splits, so it seems like anyone can beat anyone else," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Bob Curran. "The only team we didn't beat during the regular season was Keene State, and we were ahead in the first game, 5-1, so I think it's really up for grabs. Whoever gets hot can win it, and I think six teams have that capability."
Curran feels that the Corsairs can be successful in their opener. "We're getting to play them at a neutral site, and the first game of our doubleheader could have gone either way," said Curran. "The field is as even as I've ever seen it."
The 20 wins and 20-17 record represent the best marks during Curran's six-year tenure as head coach, and their pitching depth has helped them be successful. "We've got four starters who we can rely on, and the bullpen is strong," said Curran. "We made it through the regular season healthy, and we can go deep into the tournament if we can get out of the box quickly."
With six regulars hitting .300 or better, the UMass Dartmouth has the potential to score some runs. "We're swinging the bats pretty well, and everyone's contributing," said Curran. "I like our chances, but we've got to get off to a good start, stay out of the loser's bracket, and take advantage of our pitching depth so it doesn't turn into home run derby."
The winner of the tournament earns an automatic berth into next week's NCAA Division III Championships. ECSU will host one of the regionals.
UMASS DARTMOUTH BASEBALL