|Randolph-Macon hit a speed bump with a two and out in the ODAC tournament.
Randolph-Macon athletics photo
Follow this regional
May 19: All times Eastern
at Randolph-Macon 4, Christopher Newport 3Video | Box Score | Recap | Photos
Meet the teams
By Ryan Mossman
The South Regional brings some familiar faces back to the NCAA playoffs and one new that being The Big Red from Denison. Denison had a record breaking season to claim an at-large bid and the baseball program’s first NCAA berth. Five out of the six teams are ranked in their respective regions, those being the Mid Atlantic, Mideast and South, while four of the teams lead by No. 3 Randolph-Macon, appear in the Top 25 poll.
The only team in this pool to win their conference championship is LaGrange, which was the first team in the country to win a Pool A bid and returns after entering the South regional in 2017 as the No. 1 team in the country.
Randolph-Macon, the No. 1 seed in the latest regional poll, had an earlier than desired exit from the ODAC tournament but boasts one of the best offense and pitching combinations in the country. A pitching staff that features arguably one of the best prospects in Division III in Colin Selby as well as top arms Nick Roth and Cody Thompson. 2017 ODAC Player of the Year Cole Migliorini and first team all ODAC first baseman Joseph Tuzzolo provide a tough punch in the middle of the order with Rick Spiers as well. TCNJ comes into the South region with the lowest ERA, 2.49, a full run lower than any other team in Holly Springs. The Lions three top starting pitchers all sport ERAs below 2.50 led by Joe Cirillo and also have a great backend pitcher in Matt Curry. TCNJ’s lineup will feature seven hitters with above .300 batting averages including Zach Shindler who leads the team with 17 extra base hits.
Denison coming from the Mideast region looks to build on their record setting season by looking to their three senior offensive leaders Tanner Johnson, Jack Blanchard, and Sam Frazen who all have over 20 extra base hits a piece. Tanner Johnson will be a player to watch in this regional as he leads the team in hits, stolen bases, extra base hits, walks and RBIs. Junior relief pitcher Mikey Rivera is having an all american type of season of the pen for the Big Red and will look to shut teams down late into games. Christopher Newport has flown under the radar for most of the season, but is one of the top teams in this regional and in the country. Junior transfer Seth Woodard could be the best offensive player in this regional as he is the home run leader for the south region and is tied for second in round trippers for Division III. Coming alongside a stellar lineup is an equally as good pitching staff that has the most strikeouts of all the staffs in this regional. Look for Joe Burris and Thomas Packert to make a big impact in a pitching staff that arguably is the deepest in the region.
Alvernia returns to the NCAA playoff landscape after receiving a bid to the Mid-Atlantic regional in 2017. Nathan Sides will be the player to watch for this club as he has more than 20 extra base hits and 10 stolen bases on the year as well. An X factor of note for this club will be if John Catchmark can return to form and anchor this pitching staff to a World Series appearance. LaGrange has had the longest wait to get to this regional tournament as it has been over a month since their conference title run was completed. This isn’t the same LaGrange team that came into the South regional in 2017 with loads of fire power and pitching depth as the No. 1 team in the country. USA Rookie of the Year Jack Layrisson will be the centerpoint of this lineup with Sophomore Richie Post leading the pitching staff for the panthers.
Holly Springs Regional schedule
All times Eastern
Thursday, May 17
Game 1: No. 1 Randolph-Macon (31-7-1) vs. No. 6 LaGrange (28-16), 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 2 TCNJ (28-9) vs. No. 5 Alvernia (28-13), 3 p.m.
Game 3: No. 3 Denison (32-10) vs. No. 4 Christopher Newport (32-10), 7 p.m.
Friday, May 18
Game 4: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 11 a.m.
Game 5: Winner of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 3, 3 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 3, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 19
Sunday, May 20
With their combination of hitting the ball with authority and stellar starting pitching we expect Randolph-Macon to make the long awaited trip to Appleton. Migliorini has been heating up and can’t be pitched around with Tuzzolo and Spiers in their deep lineup surrounding him. Selby and Roth are arguably one of the best 1-2 punches in Division III and with low 90s bullpen arms mainly Cody Thompson behind them it’ll be tough to overthrow the Yellow Jackets.
Most likely to disappoint
Denison has put together such a terrific season so I hate to say they are going to disappoint, but they are the highest seed in this regionally that I feel have the most question marks specifically on the pitching side. Rivera has been a crucial piece to their pitching success, but outside of their workhouse the lack of strikeouts and low left on base percentage does not bode well to beat some of the nation’s best offenses.
Am I allowed to make a four seed a Cinderella? Christopher Newport has been one of the least spoken about top teams this season, but when they emerge from this regional to return to Appleton I will not be surprised what so ever. They have the highest strikeout percentage, have left the second most runners on base out of the staffs in Holly Springs and can flat out hit with the best of them. Their lineup has the most extra base hits, most walks, second most stolen bases and home runs and yet they are a four seed.
Players to Watch
C Sam Frazen, Denison (.329, 33 R, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 3 SB)
1B Joseph Tuzzolo, Randolph-Macon (.378, 46 R, 11 HR, 54 RBI, 8 SB)
1B Jack Layrisson, LaGrange (.357, 36 R, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 4 SB)
2B Danny Borup, TCNJ (.357, 36 R, 19 RBI, 13 SB)
3B Dillon Dunne, Alvernia (.341, 27 R, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 9 SB)
3B Seth Woodard, CNU (.396, 55 R, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 4 HR)
SS Jack Blachard, Denison (.338, 38 R, 4 HR, 36 RBI, 4 SB)
SS Nathan Sides, Alvernia (.329, 38 R, 2 HR, 28 RBI, 10 SB)
OF Tanner Johnson, Denison (.390, 57 R, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 25 SB)
OF Thomas Persichetti, TCNJ (.356, 36 R, 17 RBI)
OF Cole Migliorini, Randolph-Macon (.366, 42 R, 6 HR, 43 RBI, 9 SB)
OF Rick Spiers, Randolph-Macon (.331, 36 R, 3 HR, 45 RBI, 8 SB)
DH Brandon Ginch, CNU (.372, 39 R, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 4 SB)
SP Perley Provost, Denison (2.49, 10-1, 1 SV, 8 BB, 44 K)
SP Joe Cirello, TCNJ (1.96, 6-1, 4 BB, 41 K)
SP Thomas Packert, CNU (3.95, 8-1, 16 BB, 88 K)
SP Colin Selby, Randoph-Macon (2.89, 10-2, 24 BB, 112 K)
RP Gibson Bittner, LaGrange (1.38, 6-1, 2 SV, 12 BB, 49 K)
RP Michael Griffin, Alvernia (1.00, 1-1, 3 SV, 7 BB, 10 K)