UPLAND, Ind. – The Taylor University baseball team will begin its quest for a ninth Crossroads League Championship when it hosts half of the 2015 CL Tournament from May 2 through May 6 at Winterholter Field.
The double-elimination, eight-team tournament will begin with four single games on Saturday, March 2. The opening round games will be played at the sites of the top-four seeded teams in the tournament. The action will resume on Monday and Tuesday, with Taylor and Huntington each hosting four-team brackets. The winners of each pod will face off at TU's Winterholter Field on Wednesday at 6:00 pm to determine the 2015 Crossroads League Tournament Champion and the league's second automatic bid into the NAIA National Tournament.
The No. 4 seeded Trojans (29-19, 16-12 CL) will be joined on their half of the tournament by top-seeded Mount Vernon Nazarene (34-8, 23-3 CL), No 5 seeded Marian (16-17, 15-13 CL) and No. 8 seeded Saint Francis (16-35, 10-18 CL). The rest of the field will compete on May 4 and 5 at HU's Forest Glen Park, with No. 2 seeded Huntington (24-13, 19-7 CL), No. 3 seeded Spring Arbor (26-15, 18-10 CL), No. 6 seeded Indiana Wesleyan (23-27, 13-15 CL) and No. 7 seeded Bethel (17-25, 11-17 CL) filling out the bracket.
Taylor's quest to repeat its recent tournament championship runs of 2013, 2009 and 2006 will start with a clash against Marian at Winterholter Field on Saturday at 3:00 pm. The Trojans split their season series against MU in four games dominated by pitching.
The two teams combined for 23 runs over the four games, with Nick Saldutti hitting .455 and Brian Moore batting .364 against the Knight hurlers. Josh DeGraaf tossed a five-hit shutout and fanned six MU batters in the series opener. Brett Jackson collected a hit in half of his 12 at bats to pace the Knights offense and Derek Higgins blanked the Trojans with a four-hit, 10-strikeout performance in the second game of the season matchup.
The winner of Saturday's single game will play the winner of MVNU and Saint Francis on Monday at 3:00 pm, with the two losing teams opening play on Monday with an elimination game starting at noon.
All games in the tournament will be scheduled for nine-inning affairs, with Taylor providing free online stat broadcasts for each game played at Winterholter Field. TU's Trojan Sports Network will also provide a free online audio broadcast of all Taylor games throughout the four-day tournament and will cover the championship game on Wednesday evening regardless of the two teams involved.
The full tournament schedule with links to the available online coverage, along with a printable bracket, tournament stats, a tournament program and much more can be accessed by visiting Taylor's Crossroads League Tournament Central at http://athletics.taylor.edu/baseball/cltourney15.
Fans can also track the action on Twitter by following @TaylorTrojans, or by using #CLScores.
Single-day tickets for the tournament are $5 for adults and $2 for students with proper identification. Children ages six and under will be admitted at no cost.