WILLIMANTIC, CT – Tenth-ranked Rowan (33-8) visits top-ranked Eastern Connecticut State (42-3) in the NCAA Baseball Super Regional this weekend, with a trip to the NCAA Division III World Series on the line. The Profs and Warriors will face off in a three-game series beginning at noon on Friday, May 27 at the Eastern Baseball Stadium, (image below)continuing on Saturday, May 28 at 11 a.m., with a third game to follow on Saturday, if necessary.
The Profs earned a spot in the Super Regional when they won three games last weekend at the NCAA Baseball Annville (PA) Regional. Rowan defeated Mitchell (7-1) and Washington & Jefferson on consecutive days by scores of 14-7 and 9-0 to earn its second consecutive regional title.
Rowan is seeking its second straight berth in the NCAA Division III World Series, which will be held in Cedar Rapids, IA, on June 3-8.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The Profs earned a spot in this Super Regional when they won three games last weekend at the NCAA Baseball Annville (PA) Regional. Rowan defeated Mitchell, 7-1, and Washington & Jefferson on consecutive days by scores of 14-7 and 9-0 to earn its second consecutive regional title. Eli Atiya earned the victory over Mitchell as he struck out six, while Hunter Wroniuk went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Starter Jason O'Neill picked up the first win over W&J, while Mike Shannon pitched three strong innings in relief. Ryan Murphy and Eric DiDomenico provided the offense as each drove in three runs as the Profs rallied from an early two-run deficit and won, 14-7. Michael Miles threw his first complete game of the season, a three-hit shutout, as the Profs clinched the title with a 9-0 win over W&J on Sunday. DiDomenico hit a two-run homer and Murphy was 3-for-5, which included a triple.
MOST VALUABLE PROF: Catcher Hunter Wroniuk was named the MVP of the Annville Regional as he topped the Profs hitting .667 (6-for-9) with three doubles, five runs scored and four RBI.
ABOUT THE PROFS: The Profs are making their 28th NCAA appearance in school history, and the fifth consecutive under head coach Mike Dickson. Rowan has been nationally-ranked all season, and as high as fourth in the polls, and owned a nine-game winning streak beginning in late April while capturing the NJAC regular-season title with a 16-2 record.
THE HEAD PROF: In eight seasons, Mike Dickson has led the Rowan baseball program to a 213-88 record and five NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the NCAA Division III College World Series in 2021. He picked up his 200th win at Rowan on April 15 with a win over TCNJ. He has guided the Profs to two NJAC Championships in his eight years, with the most recent tournament title coming in 2021. Dickson's Profs were the top seed in the NCAA Marietta (Ohio) Regional in 2021 and captured the Regional Championship to advance to their first NCAA Division III World Series since 2005. Rowan went 29-6 overall and 17-1 in conference play and finished the season ranked seventh in the nation in the D3Baseball.com poll, its highest ranking since the inaugural poll in 2010. With the success of the 2021 season, he was honored as the ABCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year and as the NJAC Coach of the Year, earning both awards for the first time in his career.
SERIES HISTORY: Rowan and Eastern Connecticut State are deadlocked at 5-5 in the all-time series history and last met on March 14, 2015 at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, with Rowan picking up a 17-11 win.
RANKING THE PROFS: Rowan was ranked 12th in the preseason and has stayed in the D3Baseball.com Top 10 all year, reaching a high of #4 on May 2. The Profs are currently 10th, with that ranking from the final poll of the regular season.
ON THE HILL: Lefthander Eli Atiya was named the NJAC Co-Pitcher of the Year and tops the conference in ERA with 1.85 and in runs allowed (23), while ranking second in wins with his 8-0 record. Righthander Jason O'Neill (8-2) is tied for second in the league with Atiya in wins. Also seeing starting assignments this season have been Donald Zellman (3-2), Michael Miles (3-1) and Ben Iervolino (1-0).
IN RELIEF: Closer Christian Bascunan set a Rowan record for saves in a season with 10, breaking the previous mark of nine that has been held since 2009. The senior set the record by earning a pair of saves as the Profs swept the season's final doubleheader with Kean, 4-3 and 8-7, to earn the conference's regular-season title.
AT THE PLATE: Anthony Schooley tops the Profs in batting with his .393 average and 20 doubles on the season, while Ryan Murphy is the team's leader in runs (50), hits (67), and triples (5) while notching 11 games with three or more hits. Tyler Cannon is hitting .352 in the leadoff spot and is tied for the team lead in stolen bases with Trip McCaffrey, as both have 11 steals. Hunter Wroniuk has moved up to fourth on the team in batting average after his .667 effort in the regional, and is now batting .348 with 13 doubles and 27 runs scored. Ryan Mostrangeli tops the team in RBI (51) and is tied for the Profs' lead in home runs as he, Murphy and Eric DiDomenico have each posted nine.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE(S): Righthander Michael Miles went the distance to help the Profs clinch the title last weekend. The junior made his sixth start of the year and tossed his first complete game, which happened to be his first shutout, while limiting Washington & Jefferson to just three hits in the 14-7 win.
HONOR ROLL Eli Atiya was named the NJAC Baseball Co-Pitcher of the Year was joined on the All-NJAC First Team by teammates Chris Curcio and Ryan Murphy. Patrick Defeciani was named to the All-Conference Second Team while Tyler Cannon and Hunter Wroniuk were Third-Team selections. Atiya and Murphy are the Profs' only repeat members of the All-NJAC Team with both earning first-team honors in 2021.
PROFS IN THE NCAA'S: Rowan owns an all-time record of 71-50 in 28 appearances in the NCAA Championship with national titles in 1978 and 1979. The Profs have won seven Regional titles, with the 2021 Marietta Ohio Regional Championship being the first since 2005. Last year's appearance in the World Series was the first under coach Mike Dickson.
WHAT'S NEXT: The eight Super Regional winners will advance to the College World Series from June 3-8 at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.