Chowan headed to NCAA’s…again

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – For the second time in less than two months a Chowan University athletic team heard its name called during a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Selection Show.

The 56 team field for the 2016 NCAA Division II baseball regionals was announced here Sunday evening. Chowan secured an automatic bid after clinching the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Baseball Championship in late April.

The Hawks (26-24 overall, 26-3 region) secured the No. 7 Seed in the double-elimination Atlantic Region Tournament and will take on No. 2 Seed West Chester (36-12 region) on May 19. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. on Owl Field at Ted Palka Park in West Lawn, PA. The winner will advance to take on the winner of the No. 3 Mercyhurst and No. 6 East Stroudsburg game.

“We feel fantastic,” said Chowan coach Taylor Furlough. “I’m especially happy for the guys who’ve been with me for four years – the seniors – finally getting a chance to do this.”

This year marks the first time the Atlantic Region field has been expanded to seven teams. As a result, the regional will take place over five days and end on a Monday.

The Hawks will open against Westchester University. The Golden Rams are making their second straight and 13th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament while this is Chowan’s first trip.

The Rams are 32-23 all-time in the NCAAs, including three trips to the national semifinals in 2006, 2009 and 2012. West Chester won the national championship in 2012.

Millersville earned the top-seed in the tournament and received a bye through the first round of the double elimination tournament. The Marauders await the winner of the No. 4 Shepherd and No. 5 Seton Hill game.

We’re familiar with Millersville, East Stroudsburg, and Mercyhurst,” Furlough added. “We’re going to face pitching in the 90 MPH range with good breaking stuff. The biggest thing we have to do is play our game, particularly on defense, because that’s really what won the conference tournament for us.”

While it’s been almost three weeks since the Hawks played a series – and only one game: Mt. Olive – since winning the CIAA, Furlough says the time off has been a blessing as well.

“We had some guys that were a little dinged up, but things like the speed of the game and the pace of the game we’ve had to simulate in practice,” the coach said. “I think we’ll be prepped and ready to go.”

Chowan leaves today (Tuesday) for Pennsylvania and two days of practice on Owl Field. Good weather is predicted for the week.

“Our hitting has done really well,” Furlough said. “Our arms are healthy, and our infield defense has come through these last few weeks, so we think we’re playing well in all three phases of the game.”

While West Lawn is six hours from Murfreesboro, Furlough says there are some parents from that area, so there will be folks in the stands cheering for the Hawks.