The 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament is sent to kick off on Thursday, May 11 in Chillicothe, Ohio. The opening game of the four-team, double elimination tournament will feature No. 24 Denison against 10th-ranked Wooster at 3 p.m. at VA Memorial Stadium. In the nightcap on Thursday, DePauw will face off against Oberlin at 8 p.m.
The Big Red qualified for the NCAC Tournament by securing the second place in the NCAC West Division with a 13-6 record. Denison brings a 29-10 overall record into the tournament.
DU head coach Mike Deegan will be making his fourth trip to Chillicothe in his fifth season at Denison. The Big Red will be seeking their first conference tournament championship this weekend.
As a team, Denison is hitting .321 on the season and is led by junior center fielder Tanner Johnson who boasts a .380 average with a team-best 37 RBIs. Junior shortstop Jack Blanchard checks in with a .366 average and a team-leading 47 runs scored while seniors Phil Papaioannou (.349) and Evan Flax (.333), and junior Noah Hahn (.324) are also hitting over .320 on the year.
The Big Red's five starting pitchers this season have posted a combined 19-7. Zack Huarte leads the staff with a 6-1 record to go along with a 2.76 earned run average and 51 strikeouts. Junior Cody Mauri is 4-1 in 12 appearances which include seven starts, while John Troll has posted a 2-0 record with a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings pitched.
Denison and Wooster met once this season on Wednesday, April 19 in Granville. The Scots won that meeting 19-3. Wooster earned the top seed in the east division with a 17-2 record. Last weekend, they swept their crossover series with Ohio Wesleyan.
The winner of the Denison-Wooster game will play on Friday at noon in Chillicothe against the winner of DePauw-Oberlin. The first elimination game is scheduled to be played on Friday at 4 p.m.