“A dream come true:” UNCW baseball prepares for first NCAA tournament appearance since 2019
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The UNC Wilmington baseball team will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2019. The Seahawks earned an automatic bid to this year’s tournament after defeating Northeastern in the CAA tournament championship game Sunday.
The Seahawks gathered at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux in Wilmington Monday to watch the selection show for the national tournament. UNCW will play in the Conway regional in Conway, SC. The other teams in the regional are Coastal Carolina, Duke, and Rider.
“It’s a dream come true for us, you know, as a team,” said UNCW Infielder Jac Croom. “It’s what we’ve been working at for three, four years now and we hadn’t seen our name up there. It’s just a very surreal moment, we’ve all worked really hard. Now, I’m just glad for the older guys that are not going to be here next year that they get to experience that.”
Croom, a New Hanover High School alum, will play in his first NCAA tournament as a Seahawk. He says there is something special about representing his hometown on the national stage.
“I think that recruiting around here is just really beneficial for us. You find guys that really want to be here, that know the area, that know the people, and have a lot of fan support,” Croom said. “I think it’s just a really great way for us to put together a good team.”
UNCW Head Coach Randy Hood has been on the team’s coaching staff for each of its NCAA tournament appearances. This will be UNCW’s 11th trip to the 64-team field. Hood says there is something different about this year’s team.
“Most of the teams that you’re around are close, but this team’s got a little special-ness, what I call, to them,” said Hood. “It’s just been fun to come out everyday, work hard, and just enjoy watching them having fun.”
Hood says the team’s new goal is to do what no UNCW baseball team has done before.
“Our next step as a program is to bust through and finally win a regional,” said Hood. “So, everybody in our program kind of knows that. It’s not pressure, it’s just, are we going to be that one team that’s ready to do it and get it done?”
UNCW will open the Conway regional against Duke on Friday at 1 p.m. at Springs Brooks Stadium. Click here to view the full 64-team NCAA tournament field.
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