Preview: STAC Faces Thursday Rematch with UCSD; Spartans Two Wins from National Title *NOTE* Now a 6:10pm Start

Preview: STAC Faces Thursday Rematch with UCSD; Spartans Two Wins from National Title *NOTE* Now a 6:10pm Start

The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team continues its quest for the Division II National Championship against Cal San Diego on Thursday, at 6:10 pm in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Log onto Thursday for extensive coverage of the Spartans, including Live Stats, Live Broadcast Video & Audio. Also join the "Voice of the Spartans", Brad Sarno on Twitter for Spartans Game Day Live, as he covers all the action via social media, LIVE from Grand Prairie, Texas.

Click Here for NCAA Division II Championship Bracket

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What's Next? - So, you made it this far? Congratulations! For those unacquainted with its intricacies, the double-elimination format can be confusing. In an eight-team tournament, the latter rounds can be especially vexing, but since it's a good problem for Spartan Nation to have, we're going to try to break down all the possibilities for the last two days of the 2017 Division II baseball season.

As per the list below, four teams have been eliminated and only four remain; all in action on Thursday. At 6:10 pm Eastern, Tournament Game 11 features STAC (no losses) vs. Cal San Diego (one loss); the 8:00 tilt is Game 12, with West Chester (no losses) vs. Colorado Mesa (one loss).

With us so far? Good!

There are four possible outcomes of Thursday's games, as follows:

Scenario 1 - STAC beats UCSD; West Chester beats Colorado Mesa

This is the most straightforward. Cal San Diego and Colorado Mesa would be eliminated. Unbeaten STAC and WCU would play essentially a best-2-of-3 for the championship.

Game 13 - Friday, 4:00 STAC vs West Chester (game one)

Game 14 - Saturday 4:00 STAC vs West Chester (game two)

Game 15 - Saturday, 8:00 STAC vs West Chester (game three, if necessary)

Scenario 2 - STAC beats UCSD; Colorado Mesa beats West Chester

UCSD would be eliminated, Colorado Mesa and West Chester would have one loss each, with STAC undefeated. The Spartans would advance to play at 4:00 Saturday, needing one win for the title. CMU and WCU would play an elimination game at 4:00 pm Friday, with the winner needing two victories on Saturday.

Game 13 - Friday, 4:00 West Chester vs Colorado Mesa (loser eliminated)

Game 14 - Saturday 4:00 STAC vs Winner of Game 13

Game 15 - Saturday 8:00 STAC vs Winner of Game 13 (if necessary)

Scenario 3 - UCSD beats STAC; West Chester beats Colorado Mesa

Essentially the mirror image of Scenario 2, with one team (WCU) remaining undefeated and advancing directly to Saturday while the others face an elimination game.

Game 13 - Friday, 4:00 STAC vs UCSD (loser eliminated)

Game 14 - Saturday 4:00 West Chester vs Winner of Game 13

Game 15 - Saturday 8:00 West Chester vs Winner of Game 13 (if necessary)

Scenario 4 - UCSD beats STAC; Colorado Mesa beats West Chester

This is the chaos scenario, as all four teams would remain alive with one loss, forcing a Friday rematch of Thursday's games, with all squads facing elimination. The two winners from Friday would square off on Saturday in a one-game "winner take all" final.

Game 13 - Friday 4:00 STAC vs UCSD (loser eliminated)

Game 14 - Friday 8:00 West Chester vs Colorado Mesa (loser eliminated)

Game 15 - Winner Game 13 vs Winner Game 14 (for National Championship)

Got all that? Here's the short version - in three of the four scenarios, STAC plays Friday at 4:00. If STAC wins and Colorado Mesa beats West Chester, the Spartans play for the title at 4:00 on Saturday, needing one win in two games to be National Champs. Spartan fans will surely agree - having to sort all this out is a good problem to have.

St. Thomas Aquinas - The Spartans have been the Cardiac Kids of the 2017 Championships, playing arguably the two most exciting games of the week; both decided by one run and in extra innings. Juan Adorno and Anthony Maisano embraced the role of super-subs with RBI hits in the 10th after entering the game late, as Coach Scott Muscat and staff continue to press the right buttons in the 3-2 thriller over Colorado Mesa. Nationally-ranked only in the final regular-season poll (at #21) and dropping back out after the ECC Tournament, the Spartans have emerged as the surprise team in this year's field, as they were still only ranked at #16 in last week's tally.

Cal San Diego - While the Spartans have found ways to win, the Tritons may hold the distinction of being the team showing the most determination. After a crushing opening-game loss to STAC - punctuated by a 12th inning where they allowed five walks and an error - UCSD trailed it's second game by a 7-1 margin before rallying for a 10-8 win over Quincy, then outslugging Lindenwood, 11-6, in another elimination contest. The Tritons are putting up a lot of runs and have momentum entering Thursday's rematch.

2017 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship
hosted by Angelo State University
  Airhogs Stadium - Grand Prairie, Texas
May 27- June 3, 2017

= Regional Champions =

East - St. Thomas Aquinas (44-15)

Atlantic - West Chester (PA) (42-11)

South Central - Colorado Mesa (50-11) (1 Loss)

West - Cal San Diego (42-18) (1 Loss)

South - Delta State (MS) (45-13)

Central - Lindenwood (MO) (40-20)

Southeast - North Georgia (46-12)

Midwest - Quincy (IL) (37-23)

Saturday, May 27

Game 1 - West Chester 9, North Georgia, 4

Game 2 - Lindenwood 4, Delta State, 0

Sunday, May 28

Game 3 - St. Thomas Aquinas 6, UC San Diego 5 (12 innings)

Game 4 - Colorado Mesa 10, Quincy 3

Monday, May 29

Game 5 - Delta State 4, North Georgia 0  (N. Georgia eliminated)

Game 6 - West Chester 5, Lindenwood 2

Tuesday, May 30

Game 7 - UC San Diego 10, Quincy 8 (Quincy eliminated)

Game 8St. Thomas Aquinas 3, Colorado Mesa 2 (10 innings)

Wednesday, May 31 (crossover)

Game 9 - UC San Diego 11, Lindenwood 6 (Lindenwood eliminated)

Game 10 - Colorado Mesa 6, Delta State 2 (Delta State eliminated)

Thursday, June 1

Game 11 - St. Thomas Aquinas vs. UC San Diego (1L), 6:10

Game 12 - West Chester vs. Colorado Mesa (1L), 8:00

Additional schedule to be determined by results of these games, with the National Championship contest scheduled for June 3.