Preview: Hounds to Take On Southern N.H. in Opening Round of NCAA East Regional

Jake Hamel

WORCESTER, Mass. – For the fourth time in program history, the Assumption baseball program will make an appearance in the NCAA DII Playoff Championship, taking on the second-seeded Southern N.H. Penmen as the No. 7 seed in the East Region II bracket on Thursday, May 16 at 3:30 p.m. All games throughout the East Region II tournament will take place at Penmen Field in Hookset, N.H.

The Hounds have not made the NCAA tournament since 2009 but have posted a 26-18 record, their best since their 33-21-1 mark 10 years ago. The team is 2-6 all-time in regional play but have not made it out of the regional tournament. On the other side of the ball, Southern N.H. (36-12) has made the tournament eight consecutive years and captured their third regional title last season while advancing to their third straight East Regional final game. They have now hosted the tournament five times in the program's history.

Scouting the Hounds
Assumption finished its regular season 26-18 with a 14-12 record within Northeast-10 Conference play, good enough for fifth in the Northeast Division. The team finished its season on a two-game losing streak, losing the final two games of a three-game weekend series with the Franklin Pierce Ravens. As a team, the Hounds are hitting .271 with a .376 on-base percentage and .371 slugging percentage. They have a total of 22 home runs and 274 runs (6.16 per game) along with 198 walks (4.5 per game) and 105 extra base hits. The team combines for a 4.54 ERA while striking out 7.42 batters per nine innings.

Scouting the Penmen
Southern N.H. finished its regular season with a 36-12 record and with a 22-6 record in Northeast-10 Conference play. They earned the No. 1 seed in the Northeast Division within the Northeast-10 Conference Championship, but fell to No. 4 seed and eventual tournament-winner Franklin Pierce 3-2 in the opening round. As a team, the Penmen are hitting .260 along with a .358 on-base percentage and .357 slugging percentage. They average five runs per game and 8.81 hits. As a unit, the Penmen have stolen 91 bases, boast a 2.70 ERA and have struck out 468 batters in 436.2 innings (9.66 K/9).

The Leaderboards: Assumption
Derek Adamson (Chelmsford, Mass. / Chelmsford) and Matt Lonardo (Cranston, RI / Cranston High School) both lead the team in more than one category, with Adamson holding leads in runs (36) and hits (49) and Lonardo in RBIs (31), walks (29) and stolen bases (10). Both players have had fine seasons so far at the plate. Adamson sports a slash line of .290/.404/.385 with two home runs, 30 RBIs and six stolen bases to go along with 10 doubles and 19 walks. Lonardo is hitting to a line of .263/.393/.336 with two home runs, 31 RBIs and 10 stolen bases with 30 runs and 29 walks. On the mound, Cole Chudoba (Oxford, Conn. / Oxford High School) has been the team's best pitcher, throwing 78 innings in 13 appearances and 11 starts with a team-leading seven wins, which also puts him tied for first in wins within the NE-10 Conference. He also has a 2.54 ERA with 78 strikeouts to only eight walks, but has not faced Southern N.H. this season. Against the Penmen, Matt Schneider (Dalton, Mass. / Wahconah Regional) is 2-for-6, while Brendan Desautels (Holden, Mass. / Holy Name Central Catholic) allowed only one unearned run in six innings in his only start against the Penmen. Mke Keinz (North Branford, Conn. / Notre Dame) has pitched four innings of relief against Southern N.H. and has given up only one walk while striking out six.

The Leaderboards: Southern N.H.
Sam Henrie has played a vital role in the Penmen's offense this season, hitting to a slash line of .304/.361/.403 with one home run, 35 RBIs and 33 runs with 15 extra base hits. Joshua Goldstein has also powered the Penmen lineup with a .297 batting average and .434 on-base percentage with scoring 39 times this season along with 15 steals. Southern N.H. sports several top pitchers within the Northeast-10 with Jake Walkinshaw at the forefront of their staff. In 13 appearances and 12 starts, Walkinshaw is 7-1 with a 1.90 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 85.2 innings pitched. Jeffrey Praml has been excellent in relief, throwing 28.2 innings in 20 appearances and pitching to a 4-0 record and 0.64 ERA with nine saves and 38 strikeouts with a lowly 0.59 WHIP. Other pitching performances for the Penmen include Wesley Tobin (7-3, 2.69 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 70.2 innings), Endy Morales (6-2, 3.07 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 73.2 innings) and Chris Murphy (4-2, 2.16 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 54.1 innings.

Head-to-Head
The Hounds are 1-2 so far this season against the Penmen and are 10-26-1 all-time. Assumption lost the first two games 3-0 and then 5-0 but took the final game 5-3. The win snapped a 16-game losing streak for Assumption, which dated back to 2014.

Hounds vs. the Field
Assumption is 2-2 against LIU Post this season, losing 3-1 and then 8-1 in both games of a doubleheader between the two teams on April 16, while taking the both games of the doubleheader between the two teams on April 17, 5-4 and then 11-7. They have not faced Felician this season. LIU Post qualified for the tournament after winning the East Coast Conference Championship with a 36-14 overall record. They enter currently on a three-game win streak. It is their 11th time in the tournament. Felician earned an at-large bit from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) and with a 30-21 overall record. They lost to Bloomfield in the opening round of the CACC Championship and are making their fourth appearance in the NCAA Championship.

Game and Tournament Information
Tickets for each day are $8 for adults, $5 for children (12 & under) and seniors (55+), and $1 for students with a valid ID. Children under the age of two are admitted free. The following is a complete timetable for the East Region II tournament:

Thursday, May 16
Game 1: (2) Southern New Hampshire vs. (7) Assumption -- 3:30 p.m. 
Game 2: (3) LIU Post vs. (6) Felician -- 7:00 p.m. 

Friday, May 17
Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 -- 12:00 p.m. 
Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 -- 3:30 p.m.
Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 -- 7:00 p.m. 

Saturday, May 18
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 -- 12:00 p.m.
Game 7: Rematch Game 6* -- 40 minutes after conclusion of Game 6 
* Game 7 only necessary if Game 5 Winner wins Game 6

For a complete itinerary of the East Region II tournament and the NCAA Baseball Championship, click here.

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