NCAA Baseball Preview: Vanderbilt
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
RALEIGH, North Carolina - Colonial Athletic Association champion UNCW will open the Raleigh regional of the NCAA Baseball Championship at 2 p.m. against Vanderbilt, one of the hottest teams in the nation, at Doak Field on Friday.
The Seahawks earned their fifth trip to the regionals by winning the program's third CAA tournament title with a 10-8 win over Delaware last weekend. UNCW raced through the regular season with a 24-6 mark against CAA opponents and then went 3-1 in the tournament. The 24 wins are the second most in conference history, just behind the 2008 Seahawks who blitzed the circuit with a 25-4-1 mark.
The Commodores dropped the SEC championship game to Mississippi State and halted their winning streak at nine. VU won two games at LSU, swept Ole Miss and in the SEC tournament added wins over Georgia, South Carolina and two against Florida.
The two teams struggled in opening the season with UNCW winning three of its first 12 games and VU taking four of 12. Since then both teams have rolled to records of 35-12 for the Seahawks and 29-18 for the Commodores.
Offensively the Seahawks boast the top numbers in the regional and ranking 24th in batting average (.302), 16th in hits (624), 25th in doubles (116) and 19th in home runs (48). Leading that power surge are Tyler Molinaro with 15 round trippers and Andrew Cain and Corey Dick with 10 and seven, respectively.
On the bump, the Seahawks own a 3.39 ERA, ranking 49th nationally, while the defense is 56th with a fielding percentage of .972.
Senior righthander Tyler McSwain will draw the start on Friday. McSwain owns a 9-3 mark and has posted a 3.12 ERA. He was named first-team All-CAA and is the program's career leader in conference wins with 17.
The entire regional will be streamed and is free to viewers. A schedule of the games can be found at ESPN3.com.