Hatters to Face Miami in Coral Gables Regional
The Stetson Hatters gathered Monday at the Half Wall in downtown DeLand in anticipation of their destination for the coming weekend in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hatters, champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference, knew they were going somewhere, but were not quite sure where. As the brackets were unveiled on ESPNU and the possibilities started coming off the board, the players, coaches and fans all had a good idea of the destination.
It was not until the next to last bracket was announced that the Hatters knew for sure that they would be returning to Coral Gables to face the top five ranked Miami Hurricanes. Stetson’s first game in the regional is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night at Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Stadium.
For Stetson, it will be the Hatters 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their fourth appearance in the event in Coral Gables. The last time Stetson played in the Coral Gables Regional was 2001 where they lost to the eventual national champion Hurricanes after eliminating Bucknell and Florida.
“We knew we were going to one of the Florida schools,” Hatters coach Pete Dunn said. “Miami is a neat place with a lot of tradition and a lot of history. I cut my teeth, early in my career, playing the big boys when Coach Fraser was there. We played them quite a bit back when we were both independents and we knew they were the team we had to beat in order to get an at-large bid.
“There has been a lot of great baseball history that has come out of the University of Miami.”
The Hatters are no strangers to the Hurricanes, having played at Miami back on March 9. The ‘Canes took that game 4-2. Overall, the teams have met 156 times over the years, trailing only South Florida and Jacksonville in the number of games played.
“We are not strangers to Mark Light Stadium, so our guys won’t go in there with eyes wide,” Dunn said. “Since we played them early in the season, all they have done is gotten better and better. It is going to be a challenge for us, but with the way our kids played in the conference tournament, if we can maintain that, they we will have a shot to upset them.”
The other two teams in the Coral Gables Regional are Florida Atlantic and Long Beach State. The Hatters have not played FAU since 2006, but own a 35-25 all-time series advantage over the Owls. The Hatters have never faced Long Beach State. The Owls and Dirtbags will square off at 1 p.m. on Friday.
Losers of the Friday games will meet on Saturday at 1 p.m. while the winners will square off at 7 p.m.
Fans looking to travel with the Hatters for the NCAA Regional can get tickets through the University of Miami ticket office. There are a variety of tickets available including box seats, chairbacks and general admission. Fans can purchase either tournament tickets or individual game tickets. Click HERE for complete ticket information.