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Hatters to Open NCAA Play Against Hartford

The excitement level at Persimmon Hollow on Monday was as thick as the Florida humidity, and ESPN made the more than 300 people gathered wait until almost the very end of its hour-long college baseball bracket show to give the packed house the news they were there to see.

The ASUN Champion Stetson Hatters were tabbed as the No. 11 national seed for this week’s DeLand Regional at Melching Field and will welcome in a familiar foe and two not so familiar teams for the start of play on Friday.

On Friday, June 1, at 7 p.m., the Hatters (45-11) will open their first home regional against Hartford (26-29), champions of the America East Conference for the first time. It will be the first time for the Hatters and Hawks to ever square off on the diamond, but certainly not the first encounter for Stetson head coach Steve Trimper, who owns a 33-20 career mark against the Hawks.

aerial of ball field

The 2018 NCAA Regional Tournament begins Friday, June 1, at Melching Field in DeLand.

The Hatters will host the NCAA Regional Tournament in DeLand for the first time in their history. Stetson University and the City of DeLand were selected Sunday evening by the NCAA as one of 16 host sites for Regional Tournaments to open the “Road to Omaha” in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.””

Sports Illustrated says Stetson is a team to watch in this year’s tournament.

“It’s a small school from DeLand, Fla., but Stetson is one team that could shake up the NCAA baseball tournament,” the magazine reported this week. ” … You may be familiar with the Hatters from program alumni such as Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom, or from DeLand native and longtime supporter Chipper Jones, but in a few weeks’ time you may know them as the disrespected mid-majors taking shots at the bluebloods in Omaha.”

Games start Friday

Before Stetson gets to take the field on Friday, the second seeded South Florida Bulls (35-20-1) will play third seeded Oklahoma State (29-24-1) at 1 p.m.

Stetson and USF are long-time rivals, with the Hatters owning an 87-84 all-time series lead over the Bulls, including a sweep of the two-game season series between the teams this year. Stetson and Oklahoma State have met five times, with the Cowboys having won four of those games.

For the Hatters, who enter the post-season with the longest active win streak in the nation at 15 games, this will be the 19th NCAA Regional appearance in program history.

While Stetson has never played Hartford, the Hatters have an all-time record of 18-6 against teams from the America East Conference. Most of those games were against Trimper’s former school, the University of Maine.

Team celebrates in a huddle on the field.

The Hatters celebrate their ASUN championship after beating the University of North Florida in Jacksonville on Saturday, May 26.

Fans interested in attending the 2018 DeLand Regional Tournament can purchase tickets through the Stetson Athletics Ticket office. Tournament passes are $65 for reserved seats and $55 for general admission and are good for all six, or seven, games in the regional.

Single game tickets will go on sale on Friday and will cost $18 for reserved seats, if available, and $12 for general admission and standing room only. Melching Field will be cleared following the completion of the early game each day and a separate ticket will be required for admission to the late game.

Visit GoHatters.com/tix to get information on purchasing tickets.

Ricky Hazel
Go Hatters.com