CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Cornell baseball team
hopes to continue its winning ways in the NCAA Regionals, starting
on Friday, June 1. The Big Red (31-15-1) will face host and overall
sixth-seed North Carolina (44-14) at approximately 3:00 p.m.,
following the first game of the day, between East Carolina
(35-22-1) and St. John's (37-21). Depending on the outcome of
Friday's contests, Cornell will play either ECU or the Red Storm at
1pm or 6pm on Saturday.
The Regional round is contested as a double elimination tournament between four teams spread over 16 sites, with each sites' winners advancing to one of eight Super Regionals.
Of the four teams in the Chapel Hill Regional, the two that earned at-large berths are the top two seeds. UNC is the overall sixth-seed, ranked No. 10 in the country and the top seed in the Regional. East Carolina is the No. 2 seed, while St. John's, the BIG EAST Tournament champion, is No. 3 and Cornell is No. 4.
Cornell earned the Ivy League's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament thanks to some late-inning heroics. First, the Big Red found itself tied with Princeton, 3-3, in the last game of the season, with the winner advancing to the Ivy League Championship Series. Finally, in the 12th inning, Cornell sophomore Ben Swinford hit a solo shot to left field to give his team the Lou Gehrig Division title and a matchup with Red Rolfe Division winner Dartmouth.
After the two teams split the first two games of the Series, Cornell again needed extra innings to win the decisive contest, and again it was a home run that did the trick. This time, a two-run blast by sophomore Chris Cruz in the bottom of the 11th gave the Big Red the win, sending it to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history and the first since 1977.
The 2012 unanimous selection for Ivy League Rookie of the Year, freshman reliever Kellen Urbon, was the pitcher of record in both of Cornell's victories that propelled the Big Red to the Championship Series and the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Championship Notes
• Cornell earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history and the first since 1977.
• Both times Cornell reached the NCAA Tournament, St. John's was one of the teams in its Regional.
• Cornell is 2-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. In 1977, the Big Red defeated St. John's (10-7) and Connecticut (9-7) before falling to Temple (9-6) and the Red Storm in a rematch (11-9).
• Cornell's appearance in the NCAA Tournament is the 50th all-time for the Ivy League. The League is 46-105 all-time in the NCAA Tournament (.305).
• The Ivy League's last win in the NCAA Tournament came in 2010, when Dartmouth defeated Florida International, 15-9. Last season, Princeton fell to Texas (5-3) and Texas State (3-1).