Norwich, CT - The Northeast Conference Baseball Tournament will begin Friday, May 20th, the NEC announced Wednesday afternoon. The #2 Sacred Heart Pioneers will play the #3 Long Island University Blackbirds at 3:30 pm in their first game of the tournament
After indefinitely delaying the first pitch of the 2011 NEC Baseball Championship due to inclement weather and wet field conditions in Norwich, CT, the NEC decided upon the official start date and time during an administrative conference call on Wednesday afternoon.
The four-team, double-elimination tournament will begin 24 hours later than originally scheduled, meaning top-seeded Monmouth and defending champion Central Connecticut will take the field for Game 1 on Friday, May 20 at 12:00 pm. SHU and LIU will follow at 3:30 pm.
"The weather for Friday doesn't look as severe as originally forecasted and the Dodd Stadium grounds crew has done a fine job in preparing the field for safe play," said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris.
This is the 19th annual Northeast Conference Baseball Championship, with the winner receiving automatic access into the NCAA Division I Championship field. The double-elimination tournament will feature two games per day Friday, May 20-Sunday,May 22. An "if necessary" final round contest will take place on Monday, May 23. Play will begin at 12:00 pm each day.
All games can be seen live (FREE of charge) on NortheastConference.TV. Live audio will also be available free of charge throughout the tournament through Stretch Internet on sacredheartpioneers.com, with Randy Brochu and Brendan Flynn providing play-by-play.
The Sacred Heart Pioneers reach the Northeast Conference Baseball Tournament for the third consecutive year, and the fourth time in six seasons. The Pioneers won their first and only NEC crown in 2006.
SHU comes in winners of eight of their last nine games, including eight straight conference games. The Pioneers swept Wagner at home in a four-game series, coming from behind in three of those victories. With their win in the final game of the regular season, the Pioneers matched their program high of 31 wins (set last season).
The Pioneers lead the NEC with a .310 team overall average and a .330 team average in NEC games. SHU is also first in hits (537) and second in runs(294). Six of SHU's everyday starters are hitting .300 or better.
The Pioneers are also the second best fielding team in the NEC (.969 fielding %), committing 60 errors (2nd fewest) in 1926 chances (2nd most). First baseman Rob Griffith and left-fielder JJ Edwards have not made an error all season.
The format of the tournament is as follows:
2011 NEC Tournament at Dodd Stadium, Norwich, CT
Friday, May 20th
Game 1: #1 Monmouth vs. #4 CCSU 12:00 pm
Game 2: #2 Sacred Heart vs. #3 LIU 3:30 pm
Saturday, May 21st
Game 3: Gm. 1 loser vs. Gm. 2 loser 12:00 pm
Game 4: Gm. 1 winner vs. Gm. 2 winner 3:30 pm
Sunday, May 22nd
Game 5: Gm. 3 winner vs. Gm. 4 loser 12:00 pm
Game 6: Gm. 4 winner vs. Gm. 5 winner 12:00 pm
Monday, May 23rd (if necessary)
Game 7: Rematch (if necessary)