Harold Coggins: GAC Baseball Dominates Central



As expected, the NCAA Division II Central Regional Baseball Tournament is Great American Conference-heavy.

Conference tournament champion Southern Arkansas, which received the league’s first-ever NCAA automatic bid to the postseason, is back in the NCAA regionals for the seventh straight time, and is joined by a couple of first-timers, Arkansas Tech and Arkansas-Monticello.

The GAC baseball regular-season champion Wonder Boys, 42-10, received the top seed and hosting rights for the double-elimination tournament, which begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday’s championship.  SAU, 38-17, was awarded the No. 2 seed. UAM, 36-15, is the fifth seed.

Last year’s Division II national runner-up, Minnesota State-Mankato, Emporia State and Augustana College (S.D.) round out the six-team field. Minnesota State, 41-9, from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, is the No. 3 seed and joins Tech and UAM as at-large entries to the regional tourney field.

The other two are conference champions. No. 6 seed Augustana, 40-14, received the NCIS’s automatic bid by winning that league’s postseason tournament while Emporia State, 40-17 and the fourth seed in the Central Region, is the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association tournament champion—and surprisingly, the only MIAA representative in the postseason.

Thursday’s pairings have a decided GAC baseball feel as rivals SAU and UAM will reprise their conference championship game at 3:30 p.m. The GAC rematch—and the sixth meeting between the Muleriders and Boll Weevils in 2014—will be the second of three first-round contests in Russellville. Minnesota State and Emporia State will get things started at noon at Tech Field, while the host Wonder Boys will place Augustana at 7 p.m.

All-day tickets are $5, with student and senior tickets being sold for $3. Children age four and under are admitted free.

Watch this space for a breakdown of the first-round games as we get closer to first pitch on Thursday.

GAC Baseball Dominates Central Seeding


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