Baseball Earns No. 1 Seed in East, Will Host East Regional
MANCHESTER, N.H. – For the first time in the 47-year history of the Southern New Hampshire University baseball program, the Penmen have earned a bid to the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. SNHU, which stands 38-12 overall, will host the East Regional at Penmen Field as the No. 1 seed and host sixth-seeded Dowling College (31-17) in a first round contest on Thursday (May 17). Game times and ticket prices, along with a complete schedule, will be announced Monday.
Double-elimination regional competition will be held through Sunday, May 20, with the East Region champion advancing to Cary, N.C. to compete with the other seven regional titlists from May 26-June 2.
The four other teams in the six-team East Region field include SNHU's Granite State rivals Franklin Pierce University (36-17-1) and Saint Anselm College (28-23-2), each of whom earned at-large bids. The third-seeded Ravens and fourth-seeded Hawks will meet Thursday. In Thursday's other contest, No. 2 seed Le Moyne College (40-13-1) will take on fifth-seeded Wilmington (Del.) University (32-16)
SNHU is enjoying its best-ever season on the diamond, as it has compiled a single-season school-record 38 victories while the Penmen have been ranked No. 1 in the East Region in each of the past three weeks. Southern New Hampshire has earned its first postseason berth of any kind since capturing the 1997 ECAC championship.
Under fourth-year head coach Scott Loiseau, the Penmen have showed steady improvement before this season. SNHU was 7-32 the year the year before his arrival, and has won 14, 18 and 25 games in the three seasons preceding 2012. The Penmen earned the program's first-ever national ranking this season, with the team as high as No. 4 in the NCBWA poll after jumping out to a 25-2 start, including a 13-game win streak with wins over three nationally-ranked foes to start the season.
SNHU did not face Dowling this season, and is 1-3 against the Golden Lions all-time. The two teams last met in 2011, with Dowling posting a 1-0 win in a game played in Lantana, Fla.
2012 marks the first season Southern New Hampshire has been eligible to host NCAA baseball tournament competition on campus with the installation of lights in the summer and fall of 2011. A lighted facility is a requirement to host the NCAA regional.