The Delta State University Statesmen will continue their baseball season as they were selected to be the third seed in the NCAA Division II South Region Baseball Tournament Sunday, which will be held in Lakeland, Fla. this week.
The Statesmen (40-9) will take on the sixth seeded Mississippi College Choctaws (33-15), this year’s Gulf South Conference Champions, Thursday at 10 a.m. CST. Florida Southern (39-9-1) is the No. 1 seed and will earn a first round bye and won’t play until Friday at 2 p.m. CST, Second seeded Tampa (39-9) will play seventh seeded Albany State (28-16) at 2 p.m., and fourth seeded Nova Southeastern (34-14) will play fifth seeded Montevallo (35-17) on Thursday in the double elimination tournament at 6 p.m. with the winner playing Florida Southern. The winner of the South Region will advance to the NCAA Division II World Series in Cary, N.C. on May 26-June 2.
DSU headed into selection weekend ranked No. 2 in the region with Florida Southern third and Tampa first. Florida Southern beat Tampa two out of three games, which gave DSU the best record among teams in the South Region when it came time to determine the regional field.
“I was surprised,” Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison said. “To be honest with you, I thought we had a great chance to host after the events of the weekend with Florida Southern’s two wins over Tampa. I did the math. I felt like we had a great shot of being the two seed if we didn’t host, but that’s not what materialized.
“You move on and I’m just going to take an approach and encourage our team to take an approach that we’re one of the teams with a chance to play in the World Series. Right now, I don’t really care who we play. We have to go through the whole field down there to win it.”
In last week’s National Poll, DSU was ranked first in the Collegiate Baseball DII Poll and seventh in the NCBWA Poll, Florida Southern was tied for sixth in the Collegiate Baseball DII Poll and 17th in the NCBWA Poll and Tampa was first in the NCBWA Poll and fourth in the Collegiate Baseball DII Poll.
The tournament is scheduled to last through Monday with the championship game set for 11 a.m.