SEGUIN, Texas – The Franklin College baseball team opens up play in the NCAA Regional on Friday (May 17) afternoon, and will face off against the region's top seed in Trinity (TX) University at Katt-Isbel Field on the campus of Texas Lutheran University.
HOW WE GOT HERE
The fourth seed in the four-team regional, the Grizzlies are making their second straight regional appearance after winning the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament for the second year in a row. The Grizzlies knocked off Anderson University and earned two wins over top-seeded Rose-Hulman to become back-to-back HCAC Tournament champions for the first time in program history.
The 28-13 Grizzlies are matched up against the fourth-ranked team in the nation and the champions of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), the Trinity Tigers. Trinity enters the regional with a 34-10 record, which included a 14-4 mark in conference play.
Senior Sam Claycamp has been one of the driving forces offensively for the Grizzlies all year, leading the team with a .414 batting average to go along with three home runs and 43 runs driven in. The HCAC Tournament MVP tops a team that batted .314 on the year and smacked 36 home runs, both tops in the HCAC.
Ryan Bixler leads the Grizzlies in the power department with his nine home runs and 50 RBI leading all players. Right behind him in second place with five home runs each are senior Drew Naumovich and junior Quenton Wellington.
Senior Aaron Leming tops the Franklin pitching staff with a 7-2 record and carries a 3.86 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 63 innings into the regional. Fellow senior Jordan Clark leads the starting rotation with a 3.45 ERA while striking out 11.93 batters per nine innings.
ABOUT THE TIGERS
Trinity carries a .301 team batting average and are 4-1 on neutral fields in 2019. Rafe Chaumette leads the Tigers with a .350 average, collecting five home runs and 42 RBI throughout the year. He is one of five Tiger regulars with a batting average north of .300 on the year. Jake Martin leads the team with seven home runs and a .546 slugging percentage. Mason Meredith, Michael Goodrich and Dalys Binder are the other top run producers for the Tigers, driving in at least 26 runs each.
The pitching staff enters regional play with a 3.74 team earned run average, led by Corey Cater's 2.24 ERA and 7-3 record in 21 total appearances. Cater is one of five pitchers to log at least 52 innings and carry an ERA under 4.10, with Jeff Lonnecker (5-1, 2.77 ERA), Ian Hussain (5-3, 3.96 ERA), James Nittoli (6-0, 4.05 ERA) and Mark Tindall (5-0, 4.05 ERA) joining him.
AROUND THE REGIONAL
Following the opening game between the Grizzlies and Tigers will be a meeting between the regional's second seed and host Texas Lutheran (31-12) taking on third-seeded Concordia (TX) (34-10). The #16-ranked team in the country and last year's national runner-up, Texas Lutheran earned an at-large bid after falling in the SCAC title game to Trinity. They will meet the champions of the American Southwest Conference (ASC) and #25-ranked team in the nation in Concordia, who are back in the NCAA regional for the third straight year.
HOW TO FOLLOW
In-game updates will be available by following us on Twitter @FCGrizAthletics. Live video and live stats for all games at the region will be provided by Texas Lutheran and those links can be found at the regional tournament championship page.
The winner of each game will move on to the winner's bracket game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The loser from each of Friday's games will meet in an elimination contest at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. The winner of the TLU regional will move on to the West Super Regional to face either Chapman or Whitman, who are set to meet in a five-game series for the right to move on.
First pitch between the Grizzlies and Tigers is set for 2:00 p.m. eastern time on Friday afternoon.