SATURDAY, MAY 05, 2012
Baseball Embarks on Crucial Three-Game Series
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Baseball) – Coming off nearly a two-week break, Florida Tech resumes its schedule with one more regular-season series starting Monday against Barry at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field.
The Panthers and Buccaneers will play the series opener Monday at 6 p.m. and conclude with a 12 p.m. doubleheader Tuesday. Tuesday will mark Senior Day for FIT. Prior to the first pitch of game one, head coach Greg Berkemeier and his coaching staff will recognize Tyler Carman, K.C. Clabough, AJ Hillenbrand, Josh Hinkle, Ryan McChesney and Jose Vazquez.
FIT enters the series sitting in fourth place in the Sunshine State Conference at 26-20 overall and 11-9 in league play. Barry is occupying sixth place at 20-22, 10-9. With Tampa, Lynn and Nova Southeastern contending for first place in the SSC, the Panthers have turned their focus to competing for a spot in the NCAA Division II Championship.
In the latest NCAA South Region Poll, Berkemeier and Co. were ranked 10th. Only the top eight teams will move on to tournament play, slated to begin Thursday, May 17, at a regional site to be determined. At the very least, the Panthers will need to win the series against the Buccaneers and receive some help to earn their first postseason appearance in two years.
Heading into this week, FIT ranked sixth in the SSC in batting average at .286, seventh in earned run average at 4.25 and third in fielding percentage at .964. Its counterpart Barry ranked ninth in hitting (.256) and eighth in ERA (4.61) and defense (.952).
McChesney has put together yet another strong season. The civil engineering graduate from Lehigh Acres, Fla. had the third-highest batting average in the SSC as of Monday at .391. One of his fellow classmates, Clabough, has swiped a league-leading 35 bases in 43 attempts, which was tied for sixth-most in Division II as of Sunday.
Reliever James Mannara has had his best season-to-date as a junior. He is currently flashing a league-best 1.17 ERA and a 4-1 record. His earned run average was fifth-best in Division II and 0.97 walks per nine innings ranked eighth as of Sunday.
Live audio and stats will be available for all three games of the series at FloridaTechSports.com/live.