By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It has been another very successful season for the West Chester University baseball team, and it is not over yet. The Golden Rams are headed to the Division II NCAA Tournament.

West Chester will be the #2 seed in the Atlantic Region and open the double-elimination regional on Thursday afternoon, taking on Chowan in West Lawn, Pennsylvania.

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The Golden Rams bring a 36-12 record into the tourney after winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference crown.

“Winning the conference championship was certainly a good way to secure a way into the NCAA Tournament,” West Chester head coach Jad Prachniak tells KYW Newsradio. “The season overall has been a good season and had a lot of good moments.”

Listen to the entire interview with West Chester’s Jad Prachniak:

 

West Chester can rake. The Golden Rams come into this tournament hitting .315 as a team. They average 7.1 runs a game with 41 home runs in 48 games.

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West Chester is in the tournament for a second straight season and Prachniak says that experience has value.

“There’s a lot of value in coming to the tournament and just kind of seeing the set-up and getting a feel for that,” Prachniak says. “We had some success last year. We won our first game against a good Millersville team and then the game that we get eliminated in (by Mercyhurst) was one of those crazy extra-inning games that, if you end up winning the game, you’d look back at it as one of the best games you’ve been a part of. But because you lose the game, it kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Hopefully, we can lean on some of that stuff from last year, but we also understand there’s no carry-over. Even going to the conference tournament that we just had, that we won, the only carryover is that five of those same teams are coming to this tournament. But it’s a whole new slate. And certainly, year-to-year, you’d like to lean on the experience a little bit, but it’s going to be all about how we perform and execute at 3:00 (Thursday).”

West Chester will face a Chowan team in their first game that is 26-24 on the season. The Hawks won the CIAA Tournament title.

“Their #1 pitcher (Cody Smith) has had an outstanding season,” Prachniak says. “I don’t officially know if he’s starting, but my assumption would be they’re going to throw their best arm out of the gate. He’s 9-2 on the season, big left-handed pitcher, his ERA is under three (2.48) and opponents batting average is under .200 (.178). So with that guy on the mound I know they are a very tough team to beat. And their team batting average is right around .330 (.328). So it’s a pretty good combination for them where they’re swinging the bats pretty good and when they have their ace on the mound, they seem to be tough to beat.”

West Chester won the national championship back in 2012. That was Prachniak’s first season as the head coach.

West Chester and Chowan get underway at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday.

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You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.