ADRIAN, Mich. – The No. 16 Shenandoah University baseball team opens up play at the NCAA Mid-East Regional Thursday morning with a first-round game versus longtime DIII power Marietta College.
The winner of Thursday's game plays the winner of the No. 1 Wooster (Ohio) versus No. 8 Wabash (Ind.) contest at 4:30 Friday. The losers of the two Thursday games play at 10 a.m. Friday in an elimination contest.
This will be the second-ever meeting between SU and Marietta in NCAA play – in 2016, the Hornets rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to take a 3-2 victory over the Pioneers in the opening game of the Mount Berry Regional.
Shenandoah comes into its ninth-ever NCAA playoff appearance hitting .331 as a team with 29 home runs and 399 runs scored.
Eight starters: Nussman, Baker, Henry Delavergne, Keegan Woolford, Grant Thompson, Robert Marcelle, Nick Goode and Chase Smallwood, are hitting over .300 with Smallwood's .406 average leading the ODAC this season.
Baker, a three-time All-ODAC honoree, was selected as the ODAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player and was joined on All-Tournament squad by Nussman, Marcelle, Smallwood, Goode, Woolford and Bugonowicz.
Morse figures to be the Hornets starter Thursday morning and enters NCAA play with a 7-3 record in 75 2/3 innings pitched over 13 appearances. He also has 82 strikeouts and a 3.21 ERA.
Bugonowicz is 5-2 with seven saves and a 2.18 ERA in 62.0 innings pitched. His 9.58 strikeouts per nine innings is third on the team to CJ Morton's 11.25 and Morse at 9.75.
2018 marks Marietta's NCAA record 42nd NCAA Tournament appearance and the Pioneers have won six national championships with the last coming in 2012.
Marietta, which played the nation's toughest schedule this season, comes into the regional hitting .278 as a team. Geoff Snyder leads a group of four starters hitting over .300 with a .363 average and 15 extra base hits in 135 at-bats.
Matt Hale, who is hitting .322, has driven in 43 runs and has a team-best 20 doubles.
Senior David Stover, the OAC Pitcher of the Year, figures to be the Pioneers starter on the mound Thursday. The righty has a 10-3 record with 51 strikeouts and a 3.51 ERA in 74 1/3 innings pitched.
Michael Barnabei has three of the squad's six saves this season to go along with a 4-1 record in 28.0 innings pitched over 14 appearances.