NEC Extra Innings – Baseball Champ Sacred Heart Learns NCAA Fate Today Plus Other NEC News

Sacred Heart (34-21) reached the pinnacle of Northeast Conference Baseball for the second time in program history eight days ago in Norwich.  After more than a week of enjoying the NEC Tournament title they clinched with a 9-2 win over regular season winner Monmouth, the Pioneers will finally find out where they’re headed next.

Set to make its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2006 when it visited Athens, GA, Sacred Heart will look on as the NCAA unveils its bracket on ESPN at 12:30 pm on Monday, May 30. … Regional Hosts Announced Plus ESPN’s take on where SHU could end up

Nick Giaquinto’s Pioneers hit a NEC-high .311 as a team over 55 games, including three at the NEC Tournament.  Their 319 runs were second only to Monmouth’s 327.

Sacred Heart’s pitching was no slouch either with a pair of hurlers (Scribner & Leiningen) named to the All-NEC Second Team.

Sacred Heart starters Troy Scribner, Nick Leiningen, and Kody Kerski, all underclassmen, threw complete-game victories while pitching to a 1.00 ERA at the 2011 Northeast Conference Tournament and one will hope to become the first Pioneer pitcher to win a NCAA Regional game.

In their first trip to the Big Dance, the Pioneers fell to site host Georgia, 11-0, before dropping a 4-3 heartbreaker to Jacksonville in the elimination round.

It’s all about the arms at this stage of the season, especially in 2011 when the new bats have brought about a glaring offensive downturn. If Sacred Heart has one thing, it’s capable pitching, leading us to believe that whoever is tabbed to face the Pioneers in the NCAA opener won’t be looking past them.

NCAA Conference Championship Central

I’ve Heard that Name Before! – Yes, Sacred Heart’s Troy Scribner is related to the former all-NEC hurler who took the mound for Central Connecticut in the middle of last decade.  Evan Scribner, a 2007 CCSU graduate, won the 2004 NEC Tournament MVP award while leading Central to the NCAA Regionals as a rookie. Seven years later his younger brother, Troy, garnered NEC All-Tournament Team honors for a second straight season competing for rival Sacred Heart.

Evan’s name has recently been in the transactions as he received a call-up to the Majors on April 25.  Scribner, 25, threw 2.0 scoreless innings in his MLB debut against Atlanta on April 26.  He was recently optioned back down to Triple A Tucson, but after six appearances and a 2.45 ERA out of the bullpen something tells us he’ll be back in The Show sometime soon.

Hoops NuggetLong Island, the 2011 NEC preseason favorite which wound up fifth in the NEC and 19-11 overall, have accepted a bid to the Preseason WNIT.  Gail Striegler’s Blackbirds will join a 16-team tournament field that contains Baylor, Norte Dame, and UCLA. NEC champion Saint Francis (PA) was a Preseason WNIT participant last year, eventually earning it first win of the 2010-11 season, a 77-69 defeat of MAAC member Iona, in the consolation bracket. … Turf’s Up – When most Brooklynites will be fleeing for the beaches, LIU Field will undergo a renovation this summer.  The playing field, which houses a number of the Blackbirds varsity programs, will be resurfaced.  Read more here …’s A Way, Vin! – It wasn’t his best performance of the season, but it was still good enough to earn a him bid to the National Championships. Monmouth sophomore javelin thrower Vincent DuVernois hit a mark of 223’ 7″ (68.14m) to finish 12th  in a field of 48 at the NCAA East Region Championships, earning a ticket to the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships which are slated for June 8-11 at Drake. DuVernois, who won the NEC title back on May 8, owns a seasonal best of 230’ 8” (70.33m).

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