Yale baseball team to face Nebraska in NCAA tournament


NEW HAVEN >> Nearly two weeks after clinching its first Ivy League championship since 1994, the Yale baseball team finally reaped its reward.

The NCAA selection committee released the 64-team field for the national tournament on Monday. The Bulldogs earned a three seed, rare for an Ivy qualifier, and a trip to Corvallis, Oregon, where it could face the nation’s top team.

Yale (32-16) opens play in the double-elimination regional on Friday against second-seeded Nebraska (35-20-1) at 4 p.m. (EST). Oregon State (49-4), the tournament’s top overall seed, plays Holy Cross in the nightcap.

The two winners play on Saturday at 10 p.m.; the losers meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 4 p.m.

The 64-team field is divided into 16 four-team regionals. Each regional has four seeds. Yale, ranked 48th in the Ratings Percentage Index, was seeded alongside renowned programs Rice, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, UCLA and Auburn, all three seeds.

“We’re proud to be a three seed and proud to be representing our league,” Yale head coach John Stuper said. “We’re looking forward to this challenge.”

Nebraska, like Yale, is coached by a former World Series champion. Darin Erstad was one of the top players in the country while at Nebraska in the mid-1990s and a punter for the Cornhuskers’ national championship football team in 1994. He spent 14 seasons as a major league outfielder, a two-time All-Star who won a World Series ring with the Angels in 2002.

Erstad, in his sixth season as coach, has led the Cornhuskers to NCAA tournament appearances three times in four years. Nebraska was the Big 10 Conference regular season champion, but went 1-2 in the league tournament.

Stuper, in his 25th season at Yale, pitched for the Cardinals in the 1982 World Series.

Yale’s last appearance in the NCAA tournament came in 1994, when it lost a three-game play-in series at Rider. The Bulldogs lost two games in 1993, Stuper’s first season, against Texas A&M and North Carolina in College Station, Texas.

Scott Politz (10-2), a sophomore and the Bulldogs ace, is expected to get the start against Nebraska.

“We’re ready,” Yale captain Richard Slenker said. “I think Nebraska is a good matchup for us. … We had a great year and we’re excited to go to Oregon State and play the best team in the country.”


Central Connecticut State, on the heels of its Northeast Conference championship, is the fourth seed at the Fort Worth Regional and plays Texas Christian on Friday night at 9.

Dallas Baptist meets Virginia in the same regional on Friday at 4 p.m.

The Blue Devils (36-20) are making their fifth NCAA tournament appearance and first since 2010. There are 22 Connecticut natives on the roster, including New Haven’s Dean Lockery, the Blue Devils’ leading hitter at .336. He also leads the team in runs scored (50), hits (72) and set a school record with 52 walks.

Orange’s Mike Appel and Hamden’s Ron Grant are in the starting pitching rotation. Appel, a sophomore, is 4-3 with a 4.21 ERA. Grant, a freshman, is 4-2 with a 5.69 ERA.


UConn seemed to have all the credentials for an at-large bid to the field of 64, yet was left out altogether. The Huskies (33-25) were ranked 38th in the RPI and reached the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Most college baseball publications projected them as an at-large based on their standing in the RPI last week, though several upsets during championship weekend left them on the wrong side of the fence.