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Courtesy: CAA
UNCW's Michael Bass

CAA Baseball Championship Preview

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 05/21/2013
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RICHMOND, Va. (May 21, 2013) – Riding the momentum from one of the best regular seasons in more than a decade, the 2013 CAA Baseball Championship gets underway on Wednesday in Harrisonburg, Va.

All-session tickets are $35 (chairback reserved), $25 (adult general admission), and $15 (senior citizen, youth, veterans general admission). Single-day tickets are $15 (chairback reserved), $10 (adult general admission) and $5 (senior citizen, youth, veterans general admission). Students from participating institutions are admitted free with a valid student ID.

Audio and video for every game of the CAA Baseball Championship will be carried live for free in high definition on CAA.TV and via select CAA mobile apps. A free login will be required to view the games or listen to the action both via CAA.TV on a computer or using the CAA's mobile apps. The same free login link will be provided accordingly on the Baseball Championship Central page. Download the iPhone app to listen for free to all the championship action and get the iPad app to watch the free high definition CAA.TV broadcast.

For the second year in a row, the CAA Baseball Championship will be held at 1,200-seat Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg, Va. The facility opened in 2010 and features a FieldTurf surface. Six teams will once again battle for the conference title using a format that provides the top two seeds with first-round byes.

The double-elimination tournament gets underway at Noon on Wednesday when #4 Towson (25-28, 14-13 in CAA) faces #5 Northeastern (28-24, 12-15 in CAA), followed by #3 Delaware (33-20, 15-12 in CAA) against #6 James Madison (24-28, 11-15 in CAA) at 3:30 p.m. The losers of the first two games will meet in an elimination game at 7 p.m.

At Noon on Thursday, #1 UNCW (37-19, 18-8 in CAA) takes on the Towson/Northeastern winner, followed by #2 William & Mary (35-20, 17-10 in CAA) versus the Delaware/JMU winner at 3:30 p.m. Another elimination contest will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday. There are three games on Friday, setting the stage for the championship game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

UNCW is the defending tournament champion and will be looking to capture its fourth CAA title since 2004. The Seahawks are led offensively by senior second baseman Michael Bass (.381, 57 R, 24 SB), junior third baseman Ryan LaGrange (.374, 46 RBI) and sophomore outfielder Luke Dunlap (.347, 43 RBI). UNCW also has strong pitching with junior Mat Batts (9-3, 2.59 ERA) and sophomore Jordan Ramsey (6-6, 2.34 ERA) leading the starting rotation and juniors Kelly Secrest (3-1, 7 saves) and Justin Livengood (1-1, 2.12 ERA) anchoring the bullpen.

William & Mary, which posted a best-ever second-place CAA regular-season finish, is making its first appearance in the CAA Baseball Championship since 2008. The Tribe pitching staff leads the conference with a 3.60 ERA and features several quality starters in senior John Farrell (10-2, 2.42 ERA), sophomore Jason Inghram (8-5, 2.53 ERA) and senior Brett Koehler (6-4, 4.12). W&M’s closer is senior Matt Wainman (3-3, 7 saves). Pacing the Tribe offensively are first baseman Michael Katz (.367, 41 RBI), second baseman Ryan Lindemuth (.341, 35 RBI) and outfielder Ryan Brown (.325, 56 R).

Delaware has reached the CAA championship game three times, including a year ago, but is seeking its first CAA title. The Blue Hens have a powerful offense led by junior first baseman Jimmy Yezzo (.406, 13 HR, 63 RBI), who was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 tournament, and senior outfielder Nick Ferdinand (.353, 14 HR, 59 RBI). UD also has a solid pitching staff with junior Chad Kuhl (10-2, 3.53 ERA) and senior Matt Soren (4-5, 3.62 ERA) topping the starting rotation and senior Stephen Richter (4-0, 3 saves, 1.66 ERA) closing games from the bullpen.

Towson reached the CAA title game in 2005 and 2008 but is looking to win the conference championship for the first time. The Tigers’ defense leads the nation with 74 double plays and their .973 fielding percentage is the best in the CAA. Towson’s top offensive performers are sophomore outfielder Peter Bowles (.352, 45 RBI), junior designated hitter Kurt Wertz (.335, 11 HR, 57 RBI) and junior outfielder Dominic Fratantuono (.327, 44 RBI). Senior Mike Volpe (7-3, 3.84) has been the Tigers’ ace on the mound.

Northeastern returns to the CAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. The Huskies’ pitching staff ranks second in the conference with a 3.62 ERA and NU is also second in fielding percentage (.967). NU’s top two starting pitchers are senior lefty Kevin Ferguson (7-4, 2.49 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Nick Berger (6-5, 3.12 ERA). Senior closer Dylan Maki has seven saves. Offensively, the Huskies rely on junior outfielder Aaron Barbosa (.321, 41 R) and sophomore first baseman Rob Fonseca (.313, 33 RBI).

James Madison has won a pair of CAA titles (2008, 2011) over the last five years. The Dukes are potent offensively, averaging 7.7 runs per game while batting .315 as a team. Leading the attack are senior outfielder Colby Roberts (.395, 35 RBI), sophomore outfielder Chad Carroll (.393, 54 RBI) and junior designated hitter Conner Brown (.343, 9 HR, 44 RBI). The Dukes’ top pitchers have been sophomores Chris Huffman (4-4, 7 saves, 4.33 ERA) and Michael Howerton (3-5, 6.82 ERA).

For live stats, game stories, boxscores, photos and much more, click on the CAA Baseball Championship Central page.

2013 CAA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Veterans Memorial Park – Harrisonburg, Va.

Wednesday, May 22

Game 1 - #4 Towson vs. #5 Northeastern - Noon

Game 2 - #3 Delaware vs. #6 James Madison – 3:30 pm

Game 3 – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 – 7 pm

Thursday, May 23

Game 4 - #1 UNCW vs. Towson/Northeastern winner – Noon

Game 5 - #2 William & Mary vs. Delaware/JMU winner – 3:30 pm

Game 6 – Game 3 winner vs. Lowest Seeded Game 4/5 loser – 7 pm

Friday May 24

Game 7 – Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5 - Noon

Game 8 - Winner of Game 6 vs. Highest Seeded Game 4/5 loser – 3:30 pm

Game 9 – Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner – 7 pm

Saturday, May 25

Game 10 - Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 9 – 1 pm

Game 11 (if necessary) - Same two teams, 30 minutes after Game 10

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