Thursday, April 30, 2015

Conference Tournaments Get In To Full Swing This Weekend

We have a very eventful weekend coming up in the world of Division II baseball, as about half of the country's conferences will be conducting their conference tournaments. The PSAC Baseball Tournament most likely takes center stage, holding five of the Atlantic region's top eight regionally-ranked teams.

Here are links to follow along with this weekend's conference tournaments, as well as links to those tournaments which have already been completed:

Atlantic Region

2015 CIAA Baseball Tournament (Apr. 30-May 2)
Seeds: #1 Winston-Salem State (#6 A), #2 Chowan, #3 Virginia State, #4 Saint Augustine's

2015 PSAC Baseball Tournament (Apr. 29-May 2)
West Seeds: #1 Mercyhurst (#1 A), #2 Seton Hill (#2 A), #3 Slippery Rock (#7 A), #4 California (Pa.)
East Seeds: #1 Millersville (#4 A), #2 West Chester (#3 A), #3 Shippensburg, #4 East Stroudsburg

Central Region

2015 GAC Baseball Tournament (May 2-5)
Seeds: #1 Southern Arkansas (#4 C), #2 Ouachita Baptist (#7 C), #3 Harding, #4 Henderson State (#6 C), #5 Arkansas Tech, #6 Southeastern Oklahoma State

2015 MIAA Baseball Tournament (Preliminary Round - Best of 3 series) (Apr. 30-May 2, May 7-9)
Seeds: #1 Missouri Southern (#5 C), #2 Emporia State (#3 C), #3 Central Missouri, #4 Missouri Western, #5 Washburn, #6 Nebraska-Kearney, #7 Lindenwood, #8 Northeastern State

South Region

2015 GSC Baseball Tournament (May 2-5)
Seeds: #1 West Alabama (#2 S), #2 Alabama-Huntsville (#5 S), #3 West Georgia (#7 S), #4 West Florida, #5 Valdosta State, #6 Delta State

2015 SIAC Baseball Tournament (Apr. 23-28)
Champion: Albany State

Southeast Region

2015 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament (Apr. 23-26)
Champion: North Greenville

2015 SAC Baseball Tournament (Apr. 23-27)
Champion: Wingate

On to a few series that are wrapping up the regular season, which could have some big conference or regional implications:

#18/#4W UC San Diego (30-15, 25-11 CCAA) vs #8W Cal State-Los Angeles (26-18, 21-15 CCAA) (4/30, 5/1 at CSLA, 5/2 (DH) at UCSD): UC San Diego is tied with Cal Poly Pomona for the CCAA lead, but they face a tough task in taking on CSLA for four games, while CPP is facing off against a much weaker San Francisco State team. The Tritons will need a big performance to claim the regular season crown and top seed in the CCAA Tournament, and three or four wins in this series will boost their stock in the West regional rankings even more. CSLA, on the other hand, desperately needs a series victory to try and move up in to the top six in the regional rankings.

#7MW Trevecca Nazarene (30-16, 19-1 G-MAC) @ Alderson Broaddus (29-13, 19-3 G-MAC) (5/1 (DH), 5/2 (DH)): These two teams will battle it out for the regular season crown, with ABU needing at least three victories in the series. The problem for the G-MAC, however, is that they may be better served in having TNU sweep this series in an effort to keep them in the running for a Midwest regional tournament spot, as the conference tournament winner does not get an automatic bid. If that were to happen, a four-game sweep against a team that was in the regional rankings last week would be a big boost, and possibly bump TNU in to that elusive top six. Depending how far back ABU dropped from last week, a sweep could do the same for them, as well. Either way, the worst case scenario here is a split for the G-MAC. They need a team to rack up wins and make that at-large resume look good.

#2E Southern New Hampshire (29-9, 15-4 NE-10) @ #3E Stonehill (28-10-1, 15-6 NE-10) (5/1, 5/2 (DH)): This may be the biggest series of the week based off regional implications, as this is a match-up of a pair of top three teams in the East region, currently. Not only that, but they are second and third in the NE-10 standings going in to this last weekend of the regular season. They won't catch Franklin Pierce for the regular season title, most likely, but they will be jockeying for position just behind the Ravens.

#22/#1 SE Catawba (38-12) @ #25/#6 SE USC Aiken (33-14) (5/1, 5/2): This becomes a very intriguing series when you consider that the Southeast region is basically boiled down to a four-team region right now after a pair of surprise winners in the Conference Carolinas and SAC Tournaments eliminated two at-large spots in the region. USC Aiken, currently sixth, is battling for their postseason lives this week with these two games and a game against Mt. Olive, with that game against Mt. Olive, currently fifth in the SE region, is of utmost importance for the Trojans, as well. The Pacers are gonna find themselves in a trio of high-octane and important non-conference games this week, beginning with this pair of games.

#6W Point Loma (31-14, 17-11 PacWest) @ #5W Dixie State (29-15, 22-6 PacWest) (5/1 (DH), 5/2 (DH)): This is more a match-up with regional implications than conference implications, as both of these teams are on the bubble in the West region going in to this weekend, occupying the final two spots in the regional rankings. Between this match-up, and the series between the West #4 (UCSD) and West #8 (CSLA), there could be some major changes in the regional rankings here come next week.

#5MW Grand Valley State (28-14, 19-9 GLIAC) @ Malone (26-19, 17-11 GLIAC) (5/2 (DH), 5/3 (DH)): GVSU is holding on to one of the final two spots in the region right now, but face a tall task this weekend against Malone, a team that just took three of four from GLIAC-leading Ashland last weekend. Malone has been a surprising team this year and will qualify for next weekend's GLIAC Tournament, where I am sure these two teams will meet up yet again.

#4MW Missouri-St. Louis (25-13, 17-13 GLVC) @ #2MW Quincy (32-14, 23-9 GLVC) (5/2 (DH), 5/3 (DH)): Another tilt between a pair of regional teams, as the Tritons and Hawks will do battle to jockey for Midwest regional position. I have to think that UMSL does not have a very big cushion between themselves and GVSU/Ashland, so a couple wins here would be big for them. I think Quincy (along with William Jewell) are comfortably in the regional tournament field, but when you are #2 in the region, you know the Hawks are targeting that #1 spot.

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