The St. Joseph’s College baseball team will try to return to the national stage this week.

The Monks open the NCAA Division III New England Regional with a 1:15 p.m. game against top seed Tufts University at Eastern Connecticut State in Mansfield, Conn.

The Monks, an automatic qualifier as winner of the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference, learned the seedings just after 3 a.m. on Monday.

“I’d just as soon play the No. 1 team first when I have all my pitching lined up,” said Coach Will Sanborn. “I don’t see it as a bad draw at all. At some point if you’re going to be the best team down there you have to beat the second best team, whoever that happens to be.”

Winners of the eight Division III regionals will qualify for the double-elimination national championship at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis., May 28-June 1

The Monks have advanced to the regional in four of the past five years.

They have depth on the mound and in the batting order this season, with three players hitting above .400. The Monks have won 12 of their last 13 games.

Tufts was the New England Small College Athletic Conference champs, putting together a 31-5 season.

“What I’m told is that they have four or five really good pitchers,” said Sanborn. “A really good staff there. And that is certainly what any team hopes to have to move through a tournament like that.”

The tournament seeds are as follows: 1. Tufts University (31-5, 10-2 NESCAC), 2. Wheaton College (32-8, 11-1 NEWMAC), 3. Western New England (33-10, 17-5 TCCC), 4. Eastern Connecticut (30-13, 10-4 LEC), 5. Worcester State (31-9-1, 10-4 MASCAC), 6. Westfield State (30-9, 12-2 MASCAC), 7. UMass-Boston (27-15, 8-6 LEC), 8. Saint Joseph’s (32-11, 11-3 GNAC).

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

The baseball team nearly earned a repeat trip to the New England regional, but fell 7-3 in the championship game of the Little East Conference tournament to UMass-Boston.

The Huskies had a young lineup this year and some injury problems that affected the pitching staff, but managed to become the first ever No. 6 seed to reach the LEC title game.

“I think it will give our kids a lot of confidence going into next year,” said Coach Ed Flaherty. “They were really disappointed. But I could tell they were happy with the way they finished.”

The Huskies finish the season 22-21-1.

All New-England third baseman Josh Mackey missed much of the season with an elbow injury. And Closer Mike Eaton wound up not being able to close games after suffering a torn labrum in his shoulder.

“I was pleased with how we played in the tournament,” said Flaherty. “We had a chance to win it but just came up a little short after getting into the losers bracket.”

• Three members of the USM women’s track and field team earned All-ECAC honors by finishing in the top eight at the ECAC Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships last week: Bethany Dumas of Augusta for pole vault, javelin and 400-meter hurdles; Hannah Patterson of Londonderry, N.H., discus; and Ariel Howes of Farmingdale, heptahlon.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE

The baseball team was hoping to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tourney as well, but didn’t after a 25-15 season. The Polar Bears lost in the NESCAC championship to Tufts, by a score of 6-1.

Three players earned All-NESCAC awards. Rookie pitcher Oliver Van Zant of Westport, Conn. was named NESCAC pitcher of the year and rookie of the year.

Third baseman Brett Gorman of Bedford, N.Y., and Van Zant, were named first-team all-NESCAC and centerfielder Brendan Garner of Swampscott, Mass. was named as a second-team selection.

• Five tennis players earned all-NESCAC honors: senior Jamie Neely of Quincy, Mass. received the Clarence Chaffee Sportsmanship Award in men’s tennis.

Junior Stephen Sullivan of Miami, Fla. was named first-team all-conference, and freshman Nicholas Fenichell of Ecuador was named to the second-team.

Senior Brett Davis of Larchmont, N.Y., and sophomore Emily Lombardi of Chicago, Ill., were named to the second-team.

UNIVERSITY OF MAINE

The baseball team (30-10, 13-7 America East) wraps up the regular season with a four game series at Maryland-Baltimore County next weekend. The two teams will play doubleheaders both Friday and Saturday in Baltimore. The America East tournament opens May 26 at the home of the top seed.

Maine is currently ranked No. 3 in the America East standings, with Binghamton (18-3, 27-18 overall) and Stony Brook (15-6, 26-22 overall) holding down No. 1 and 2, respectively.

• Softball standouts Alexis Souhlaris of Derry, N.H., and Cayleigh Montano of Las Cruces, N.M., were named to the America East All-Tournament team this past weekend.

Souhlaris hit .636 with a home run in 11 at-bats, finishing her season with a .416 batting average and 27 stolen bases in 30 attempts. Montano was 1-1 with a 1.79 earned run average in three starts in the tournament, and finished the season with a 4-3 record and 2.36 ERA.

Maine softball finished the season with a 23-28 record. The Black Bears lost twice on the second day of the conference tournament — to Boston University and Stony Brook.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]