Indianapolis - The St. Thomas Aquinas baseball team, champion of the East Coast Conference, was awarded the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship East Region bracket that was announced on Sunday evening.
The Spartans (36-13) are back in the championship for the sixth straight season after earning the ECC's automatic bid by capturing the league's postseason tournament. By earning a spot in the bracket, STAC will get the opportunity to defend their East Region Championship. In 2017, the Spartans captured the second East Region title in program history and advanced within a game of reaching the National Championship series.
St. Thomas Aquinas has earned the No. 2 seed in the region (tied with their 2013 team for the highest seed in program history) and will kick off the tournament with a matchup against No. 7 Wilmington (34-19), champions of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). Like STAC, the Wildcats are no stranger to the NCAA Championship, as this is their sixth appearance in the last eight seasons. The last meeting between the two schools also came in an East Regional during the 2015 season. Wilmington won that matchup in the regional final, 11-9, to deny the Spartans a second straight East Region title.
The other five teams participating in the tournament are all from the Northeast 10 Conference (NE10). Those teams are No. 1 New Haven (37-10), No. 3 Le Moyne (33-15-1), No. 4 Southern New Hampshire (35-15), No. 5 Franklin Pierce (32-13-1), and conference champion No. 6 Merrimack (31-19).
St. Thomas Aquinas posted a 7-5 record against NCAA Championship participants during the regular season. They compiled a 3-3 record vs. fellow East Region participants by taking two-of-three from Southern New Hampshire and dropping two-of-three against Franklin Pierce. They also finished 4-2 vs. teams that made the Atlantic Region bracket, sweeping two games from top seed West Chester and splitting a four game set vs. Bloomsburg.
The double-elimination East Regional will be hosted by New Haven at Peter X. Finnerty Field on the campus of Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y. The tournament will begin on Thursday, May 17 and run through Monday, May 21. The winner of the tournament will advance to the NCAA Division II World Series at USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. which runs from May 26 - June 2.