PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Widener University baseball team is headed to the Division III NCAA Tournament.
The Pride are the #8 seed in the Mideast Region. Widener will open play in the double-elimination regional on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, Pennsylvania, taking on the top seed La Roche.
Widener won the MAC Commonwealth title and they bring a 24-16-1 record into the tourney.
“It definitely is exciting,” Widener head coach Mike LaRosa tells KYW Newsradio. “A lot of fun this time of year, having the opportunity to go out to regionals. Our guys are pretty excited about it.”
Listen to the entire interview with Widener head coach Mike LaRosa:
LaRosa says he has a team that knows what it is like to travel this path.
“We have a lot of experience on the team,” LaRosa says. “That’s a big reason and a big part of (their success). We have a big junior class, five position player starters that were freshman in 2014 and starters on that team that went to the NCAA Regionals. I think a lot of those guys that were returners, having that taste a couple years ago and then not being in the regional last year, they were pretty hungry coming back in this season.”
In 2014, Widener won two games in the regionals before being eliminated.
The Pride get a La Roche team in their first game that is 36-9. The Redhawks are the champions of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.
“They are a really well-balanced team, specifically offensively,” LaRosa says. “That’s probably their biggest strength. We had the a chance to play them twice (earlier this season) when we were in Florida (La Roche won both games, 5-3 & 17-12), so we do have a pretty good scouting report on them and got to know them a little bit.”
In that first-game, Widener will give the ball to sophomore right-hander Josh Lafferty.
“He’s had a great year,” LaRosa says. “First-team all-conference player. (8-2) record, sub 2.00 ERA and he’s really been the horse of our staff.”
The winner of the regional heads to the Division III College World Series.
Widener and La Roche are scheduled to get started at 1:15pm on Wednesday.