Glens Falls, NY- The Big Blues will head to Glens Falls, NY as the 8th seed to play in the USCAA Baseball National Championship for the first time as the Big Blues have only been in the Association since last summer. This will also be first time in quite a while since the Big Blues have made a post-season birth, 1st since the WVIAC Era. Coach Hunter and the Big Blues will try to replicate their 1992 performance in the WVIAC Tournament where they were Runner's Up. The team will take on Central Penn College at 8:30 am Monday morning.
Quick Facts about Central Penn
Central Penn is located in Summerdale, PA a town in which the Big Blues have to drive right by on their way to Glens Fall, NY. The school can trace its founding to 1881 where is started solely as a 2-year business school. The College continued to grow and in 2000 became a 4-year degree-granting college. Central Penn is just a little bigger than Bluefield State with an enrollment of roughly 1,500 students.
Central Penn Team Preview
The Knights are currently 14-14 on the season but have been playing extremely well down the stretch, winning four of their last five, seven of the last 10. This is the complete opposite of Bluefield State, who struggled down the stretch losing their last nine games. The Knights are an extremely young team with only one senior and 10 freshmen but are very good offensively, scoring 169 runs in only 28 games. They are led by #5 Todd Cook and #9 Jerry Biller III. Cook currently is batting .351 and leads the team in hits and RBIs with 34 and 22 respectively. Biller is almost as good, tallying 31 hits and 19 RBIs. On the mound the Knights may throw #12 Luis Padilla, #5 Todd Cook or #4 Christian Fulp, all who have started 4 games or more this season. Fulp has the lowest ERA of the three with a 4.24; however, Padilla has been the go to pitcher for the Knights with six starts and nine total appearances. Defense is probably the Knight's weakest link. The team has committed 50 errors in the 28 games and have only turned one double play all season.
Keys to a Big Blues Victory
First, the Blues have to get their offense back on track. In this nine game slide, the Big Blues have not scored more than four runs in a game, being blanked twice. To do this, BSC has to believe they are one of the stronger teams in the tournament. No one in the USCAA Tournament has played the strength of schedule Bluefield State has played and the Blues can use that to their advantage. Getting out to big leads in these games is crucial, as it will give Bluefield State pitchers like Tanner Muovich, Addison Meeks, Brandon Chandler and Brandon Wortkoetter some confidence to settle in. Just like in any baseball postseason run, pitching is key and these primary starters for Bluefield State will have to step up to make a run at the finals. Offensively, the Big Blues will have to look to Justin Bowler, Drew D'Angelo, Peyton Durham and Sam Harris. Bowler, D'Angelo and Harris are all batting over .300 currently and all have on base percentages above .370 with Bowler's being an incredible .411. When healthy, Peyton Durham has provided the power for BSC. Durham leads the team in Home Runs with 5 and has 28 RBIs on the season.
Big Blues fans will have to get up early for this match up as 1st pitch is scheduled for 8:30 am Monday morning. This 8/9 match up will be the 1st game of the tournament with the winner taking on the #1 seeded UC Clermont later that afternoon. The loser will still have a chance in the double elimination tournament but would play Tuesday at 8:30 am again. Live stats will be provided for all games throughout the tournament. The link to the Big Blues 1st game is here: http://baseball.theuscaa.com/sports/bsb/2016-17/boxscores/20170515_eesh.xml