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Denison University to play in first NCAA tournament

From Denison University:

GRANVILLE, Ohio–  The years of close calls, near misses and second-guessing are over. Denison University baseball will play in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in program history.

After setting a school record for wins (32) while playing the most difficult schedule in school history, the NCAA selection committee granted Denison one of 16 Pool C bids.

The Big Red will travel to Holly Springs, North Carolina, to compete in one of eight regional tournaments on May 17-20 (May 21 if needed) at Ting Park.  Denison’s opening game will be against fourth-seeded Christopher Newport (32-10) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17.  Denison is the No. 3 seed in the South Region and is joined by top-seed Randolph-Macon (31-7-1), No. 2 the College of New Jersey (28-9), No. 5 Alvernia (28-13) and No. 6 LaGrange (28-16).

Denison is one of 58 teams selected to this year’s tournament.  Forty automatic bids were extended to conference tournament winners. There were two Pool B (independent) selections and 16 Pool C (at-large) berths.  The winner of each regional advances to the NCAA Division III Championship on May 25-29 in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The Big Red brings a sparkling 32-10 record into the NCAA Regional Tournament.  The 32 victories broke the program record for wins (31) that was equaled in 2003 and 2004.  Denison went 11-6 against regionally ranked teams and was 7-0 against the upper echelon of the Ohio Athletic Conference (Otterbein, Marietta, Baldwin Wallace and Heidelberg).

Denison’s top three starting pitchers — Perley Provost (10-1, 2.49 ERA), Danny Brackman (6-1, 2.77 ERA) and Taylor Perrett (8-3, 3.58 ERA) — have helped the Big Red post a 3.77 team ERA with a conference-best five shutouts.

Tanner Johnson is a five-tool player who is batting .390 with 10 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases.  Senior shortstop Jack Blanchard is batting .338 and is sixth in Division III with 20 doubles.

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