Release: May 25, 2009
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Binghamton baseball is headed to Greenville, N.C. for its inaugural NCAA Division I Championship appearance. Fresh off the team's first-ever conference title, fourth-seeded BU (29-20) will face top-seeded and host East Carolina in its opening game at 7 p.m. Friday, May 29. The Pirates (42-17) are ranked 17th in the nation in the latest NCBWA Poll.
Second-seeded South Carolina (38-21) will meet third-seeded George Mason (42-12) in the other first-round game at 3 p.m. Friday at 3,000-seat Clark-LeClair Stadium. The regional is a four-team, double-elimination format that continues Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's games will be at 2 and 6 p.m. The entire 64-team field was announced live on ESPN. There were 30 automatic berths allotted to conference champions and 34 at-large selections.
East Carolina, which plays out of Conference USA, is making its 24th NCAA appearance. The Pirates have qualified for regional competition in 10 of the last 11 seasons. South Carolina, ranked 26th in the nation, is one of eight teams to gain entry from the SEC. George Mason, ranked 29th, is representing the Colonial Athletic Association.
"East Carolina has a tremendous tradition and they have been very successful over the years," head coach Tim Sinicki said of his first-round opponent. "Greenville is a great college town and I'm sure they will support their team and make it a tremendous atmosphere. Our guys are looking forward to the challenge. They are still flying high after the weekend. We are all very excited and proud to have this opportunity to represent Binghamton and the America East."
Binghamton captured its first America East tournament title in eight years of membership by going 3-0 as the top seed this past weekend. After winning the program's third consecutive regular season title, BU hosted the four-team championship at Pete Sylvester Field in Endicott and tied a conference record by scoring 37 runs in three games. In a memorable final evening, the team waited out a nearly two-hour lightning delay before providing its own offensive electricity in a 16-6 romp over second-seeded Albany. The on-field celebration took place after 3 a.m. Sunday morning - seven hours after the scheduled start time.
The Bearcats have won three straight America East regular season titles and own the league's highest win percentage in conference play over the last six seasons.
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