Northwest Conference champion and fifth-ranked Linfield (31-9) is one of six teams invited to the double-elimination NCAA Division III Abilene Regional baseball tournament in Abilene, Texas. Games begin Wednesday and run through Saturday. Other teams competing in the region include Chapman (29-11), Redlands (29-11), Trinity-Texas (33-11) Texas-Tyler (33-6) and Concordia-Texas (30-15).
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The regional tournament champion advances to compete in the eight-team Division III championship finals, scheduled May 27-31 at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis. The event is hosted by Lawrence University.
THE FIRST ROUND
No. 1 seed Linfield plays sixth-seeded Concordia in the tournament's first game, Wednesday at noon CDT. Other first-round matchups pit No. 2 Chapman against No. 5 Texas-Tyler in a 3:30 p.m. game, and the 3 versus 4 matchup between Redlands and Trinity at 7 p.m.
WEST REGIONAL SCHEDULE
(Seeding in parentheses, all times Central)
Wednesday, May 18
Game One: Concordia-Texas (6) vs. Linfield (1), Noon
Game Two: Texas-Tyler (5) vs. Chapman (2), 3:30 p.m.
Game Three: Trinity (4) vs. Redlands (3), 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 19
Game Four: Loser of Game One vs. Loser of Game Two, Noon
Game Five: Winner of Game One vs. Loser of Game Three, 3:30 p.m.
Game Six: Winner of Game Two vs. Winner of Game Three, 7 p.m.
If Four Teams Remain After Game Six:
Friday, May 20
Game Seven: Winner of Game Five vs. Winner of Game Six, noon
Game Eight: Winner of Game Four vs. Loser of Game Six, 3:30 p.m.
Game Nine: Loser of Game Seven vs. Winner of Game Eight, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 21
Game 10: Winner of Game Seven vs. Winner of Game Nine, Noon
Game 11 if necessary, 4 p.m.
If five teams remain after Game Six:
Friday, May 20
Game Seven: Loser Game Five vs. Loser Game Six
Game Eight: Winner of Game Four vs. Winner of Game Five
Game Nine: Winner Game Six vs. Winner Game
If two teams after Game Nine:
Saturday, May 21
Game 10: Winner of Game Eight vs. Winner of Game Nine, Noon
Game 11 if necessary
If three teams remain after Game Nine:
Saturday, May 21
Game 10: Winner of Game Eight vs. Loser of Game Nine, Noon
Game 11: Winner of Nine vs. Winner of Game 10, 4 p.m.
Linfield games will be streamed live on the internet with games announced by Chad Grubbs, sports information director at Hardin-Simmons University. LiveStats will also be available.
The Wildcats departed McMinnville Monday afternoon and flew directly to Abilene, Texas, arriving at approximately 9 p.m. local time. The team practiced Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Wednesday's first-round game.
Linfield has seen two regional opponents already this year in Concordia and Chapman. The Wildcats defeated Concordia 17-4 at the Arizona Classic in early February, and won three of four games in a home series against Chapman in mid-April.
Five of the six teams competing in the Abilene Regional are ranked in the Top 25. In the latest polls released by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and d3baseball.com, Linfield is ranked No. 5, Texas-Tyler is 11th, Chapman is 12th, Trinity is 17th and Redlands is 19th.
LINFIELD (ORE.): Making its third postseason appearance in four seasons, Linfield (31-9) is led by fourth-year head coach Scott Brosius. A three-time Northwest Conference Coach of the Year, Brosius has compiled an overall record of 131-47 record during his stint with the ‘Cats. On the field, the Wildcats are led by NWC Player of the Year Cole Bixenman. The senior catcher is hitting .373 while leading the club with 10 home runs and 44 RBI. First team all-NWC selection Tim Wilson (Jr., Redmond, Wash.) provides both power and speed, entering the postseason hitting .460 with five homers and 29 RBI. He also leads the club with 18 stolen bases. Second baseman Eric Evenson and outfielder Nate McClellan (Jr., Shoreline, Wash.) are each hitting above .355 for the Wildcats. At the heart of Linfield's success is pitching. The Wildcats boast a team ERA of 2.59. First team all-conference pitcher Ryan Larson is 7-2 with a 1.92 ERA. Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.) and Zach Brandon (Jr., Cottage Grove, Ore.) have combined to go 10-0 on the season. Evan Hilberg is 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA on the year. The four pitching aces each hold an ERA under 2.00.
CHAPMAN (CALIF.): In his ninth season at the helm of the Chapman (29-11) program, Tom Tereschuk has established the Panthers as one of the elite teams in the West Region. Under his leadership, Chapman has achieved 311 victories and five World Series appearances. All-Independent Pitcher of the Year Brian Rauh anchors the Panthers' pitching staff with a 10-0 record and 1.88 ERA on the year. The sophomore right-hander comes into the postseason leading the nation with 124 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .186 batting average. Jordan Sigman is another first team all-Independent pitcher. The all-time winningest pitcher in program history, Sigman is 7-2 on the year with a 2.82 ERA. Offensively, senior Tyler Hadzinsky ranks second on the team with a .328 batting average, while stealing 10 bases and tallying 23 RBI. Catcher Adam Kodich boasts a .307 average and a team-leading 32 RBI. Third baseman Tyler Surnbrock leads the club in home runs (5) and outfielder Adam Velez tops the club with a .333 batting average.
REDLANDS (CALIF.): Coached by 12th-year head coach Scott Laverty, the Bulldogs (29-11) represent the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Redlands is led by SCIAC Pitcher of the Year Derek Johnson. The senior right-hander from Canby, Ore., is 12-2 with a 2.48 ERA in 14 starts. Over the course of the season, he held opponents to a .224 batting average and struck out 98. Kyle Hart has seen the second-most action on the mound, going 9-2 with 79 strikeouts and a 3.74 ERA. Behind the plate, the Bulldogs boast the highest team batting average of the six clubs in the West Regional at .346. By national standards, they are eighth best. Senior Nate Carlson is hitting .384 with 12 doubles, six home runs and 40 total RBI. Four other full-time starters hit above .350, including first team all-SCIAC honoree Chase Tucker. The junior infielder is hitting .377 with a team-leading 97 total bases and 11 triples. Along with teammate Jason Henning, he co-leads the team with 18 multiple-hit games. Henning, the sophomore third baseman, is hitting .369.
TRINITY (TEXAS): The Tigers (33-11) earned their sixth postseason appearance by winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. Head coach Tim Scannell is in his 13th year and has led Trinity to within one game of advancing to the national tournament on three separate occasions. The six-time SCAC Coach of the Year has amassed more than 400 victories in his career and ranks 15th in winning percentage (.708) among active NCAA Division III coaches. Offensively, four players are hitting above .350 on the season, including senior outfielder Kevin Calbick. He leads the club in batting average, hitting .407 with 28 RBI. Senior catcher Kyle Felix led the league with 13 home runs while hitting .365. He also became the Tigers' career leader in home runs, RBI and doubles. Kevin Jackson stole a team-best 24 bases while hitting .369. On the mound, SCAC Co-Pitcher of the Year Ben Klimesh leads the team with 102 strikeouts and has a 3.10 ERA. He went 10-2 in 16 appearances, pitching three complete games. Senior right-hander Michael Panozzo boasts the team's lowest ERA at 2.66 and is 5-0 entering the playoffs.
TEXAS-TYLER (TEXAS): One of two teams from the American Southwest Conference to make the NCAA field, the Patriots (33-6) are led by first-year head coach Paul Wyczawski. The club features a strong pitching staff, with a team ERA of 2.63. ASC East Division Pitcher of the Year Chad Sherman posted a league-leading 1.49 ERA, going 8-1 with 95 strikeouts. Three other pitchers hold an ERA under 2.6, including Matt Schimf. The senior right-hander, a preseason All-American, went 6-1 in 11 starts, tallying 45 strikeouts with a 2.47 ERA. Offensively, two players enter the regional tournament hitting above .400. First baseman Nick Clifton led the league in batting average, hitting .426 with 29 RBI. The first team all-conference selection also boasts a .706 slugging percentage and leads the team in both home runs (7) and doubles (13). Fellow senior Justin Juneau is hitting .401 with 42 runs batted in. A first baseman, Juneau also has eight stolen bases. T.J. Martin enters the postseason hitting .345 with 36 RBI.
CONCORDIA (TEXAS): Concordia (30-15) is making just the second postseason appearance in program history. The Tornadoes qualified for the playoffs this year by winning the American Southwest Conference tournament. Head coach Tommy Boggs, a former major league pitcher, is in his second year at the helm. The Tornadoes have all-stars on both offense and defense. ASC West Division Player of the Year Collin Janssen is hitting .373 on the year with 25 runs batted in. The junior catcher and utility player comes into the postseason on a hot streak, batting .478 in ASC tournament games. Senior first baseman Robert Brown and sophomore outfielder Brent Schaekel are both hitting .325 or above and are two of the quickest players on the team with double-digit stolen bases apiece. The ace of the pitching staff is sophomore right-hander Colin Butschek, who was named the ASC West Division Pitcher of the Year. He compiled an 8-3 record with a 3.45 ERA and 60 total strikeouts. Senior Pedro Maldonado leads the club in strikeouts (78) but has a 4.32 ERA.
Linfield Coaching Staff
Second-straight postseason appearance
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128