NEW BRITAIN - The Central Connecticut State baseball team cheered loudly in unison in front of the TV early Monday afternoon.
It was a familiar sight and a familiar feeling for the Blue Devils, who for the second time in three seasons learned where they were heading to play in the NCAA Tournament.
CCSU, the Northeast Conference champion, is going to Arkansas as the No. 4 seed in the Fayetteville Regional and will play the host Razorbacks, the No. 1 seed in the Regional and No. 5 seed in the overall tournament, on Friday at 2 p.m.
The other two teams in the region are TCU (32-26) and Cal-Berkley (32-18). The regionals are a double-elimination format. All games are on ESPN3.
If the Blue Devils pull off the upset, they will play Saturday at 1 p.m. Should CCSU lose, its next game will be at 7 p.m. instead. Games on Sunday and Monday, if necessary, will follow.
The Blue Devils (30-21) won the NEC’s automatic berth with a dramatic 3-2 win over Bryant on Sunday after coming out of the loser’s bracket to win the conference crown.
This will be the sixth tournament appearance for CCSU, which also won conference titles under head coach Charlie Hickey in 2002, ’03, ’04, ’10 and ’17. CCSU went to Fort Worth, Texas for the 2017 regionals where they took on the Horned Frogs. In 2010, the Blue Devils played in their home state in Norwich and had previous trips to the University of Texas (2002), Arizona State (2003) and Oklahoma City (2004).
This is the eighth time under Hickey CCSU has also won at least 30 games. This season, the Blue Devils are led by sophomore TT Bowens, who hit .386 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 29 games. Bowens also has an OBP of .474. There is also junior Dave Matthews, who in 50 games, hit a team-high six home runs and drove in 38 runs. As a team, CCSU is hitting .260/.354/.411 with 26 home runs, 245 RBI and 260 runs scored.
Arkansas (41-17), however, has plenty of offense. The Razorbacks have a .299 average, 78 homers, 427 runs scored in 58 games and a .398 on-base percentage as a team.
The schedule for the weekend is as follows (all times Eastern):
Game 1 - (No.5 Arkansas vs. CCSU), 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 2 - (TCU vs. California), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 3 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 4 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 5 - Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 3 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 6 - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
Monday, June 3:
Game 7 - Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com