By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Another successful campaign for the West Chester baseball team is set to continue in the NCAA Tournament.  The Golden Rams earned one of the 48-berths in this year’s field by winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament.

West Chester will open play in the double-elimination Atlantic Regional on Thursday in West Lawn, PA.  They will take on Shepherd, the champions of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“It’s certainly an exciting time,” says Golden Rams head coach Jad Prachniak.  “The guys really played well in the PSAC tournament so we’re looking forward to the next tournament.”

West Chester brings a 38-10 record into the tournament and Prachniak says they have proven to be a deep team here in 2012.

“With the format of our regular season, playing back-to-back doubleheaders, you need to have some depth on the mound and positionally you have to hit up and down the line-up.  And I think in the conference tournament, playing six games in four days, we had a lot of pitchers step up and give us key innings in tough spots.  And again the line-up, 1 through 9, the guys really stepped up and had some good at bats throughout the tournament.”

Shepherd is 32-17 and Prachniak says they can really hit the baseball.

“They have one of the best Division II hitters in the country.  They have a guy hitting about .490 with 21 home runs (senior 1B/DH Nathan Minnich).  He’s in the middle, but they also have some guys around him that can also swing it, so that’s going to be a challenge for sure.  We’re going to have to make pitches throughout.”

These two teams met in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, with West Chester winning that game 10-1.  A match-up in the 2006 NCAA Tournament also went to the Golden Rams, 9-5.

Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Jad Prachniak:


You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.

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