When today’s NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional begins at PNC Field, it will mark the fourth straight appearance for Misericordia, and the second as host at the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
However, when the team takes on Baldwin-Wallace this morning in the tournament’s opening game at 10, there won’t be many players who have played in more than one of the previous three postseason appearances.
The fifth-seeded Cougars (29-13-1) are a team that has just three seniors and one junior on the roster. So while this groups is looking to add to history, they are also trying to build their legacy.
“They haven’t been through this themselves, but we have a different type of player coming into our program now,” Cougars coach Pete Egbert said. “We’re getting the best players from the best programs throughout the region, guys who have played high-intensity baseball throughout their lives, so this isn’t different from what they’re used to.”
Over the next five days, the Cougars are one of eight teams playing at PNC Field looking for the right to advance to the Division III World Series on May 23-27 in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Playing at a pitcher-friendly ballpark against the fourth-seeded Yellow Jackets (25-18), Egbert is giving the ball to his ace, sophomore Ryan Dorosh, who equaled the school mark for wins in a season with a 10-0 record. He had five complete games and two shutouts. The right-hander has posted a 1.54 ERA and 82 strikeouts to just 14 walks in 70 1/3 innings pitched.
“He’s an absolute bulldog,” Egbert said of Dorosh. “One of the things that’s impressed me about Ryan is he was good when he came here as a freshman, but he’s continued to improve. When he’s on the mound we know we have a shot. That’s all we could ask for.”
Offensively, Misericordia is averaging an alarming 6.2 runs per game, has been shutout just twice all season — with one coming in early March — and has reached double figures 11 times, including a 28-run outburst against Freedom Conference runner-up Manhattanville.
“One of the things about our offense is that we’re pretty dynamic. Somebody has to hit 1-2-3-4, but we feel like our guys can hit in multiple parts of the order,” Egbert added. “It seems like somebody different produces everyday for us. We feel like one through nine, each guy is giving us a good shot.”
No matter what happens today for Misericordia, it will be playing Thursday in the double-elimination event. With a win, the Cougars will play at 4 p.m. against the winner of the 1:15 p.m. Wednesday game between top-seeded Moravian (32-10) and eighth-seeded Haverford (22-18). A loss would mean the Cougars would play at 10 a.m. Thursday in an elimination game against the loser of the aforementioned contest.
The other two first round tilts pit sixth-seeded Keystone (27-12) against No. 3 Susquehanna (28-12) at 4:30 p.m. today, while No. 2 Rowan (32-10) faces No. 7-seed Wesleyan (27-11) to wrap up today’s action.