Daniels, Flynn, Maldonado, Nicol all headed to NCAA baseball regionals

The UConn, Boston College, Northeastern and Central Connecticut State baseball teams all found out where they will be headed for this year’s NCAA baseball tournament.

The end goal for each is to be a part of the eight-team College World Series in Omaha, Neb., but it will be a tough road to get there for each team. There is at least one local standout on each of the four aforementioned teams. Here’s more on the team, the player and the regional bracket they are a part of:

UConn (43-15)

Seed: No. 2

Region: Gainesville (University of Florida)

The deal: The Huskies are in a region with the second-ranked team in the country, not exactly a non-controversial posting given the former team had been ranked as high as ninth and played for their conference championship. Oh well, UConn will be in the same region as the University of Florida, and former St. Paul star Ryan Daniels will get his first taste of NCAA play this coming weekend.

Daniels has played in 39 games, including 23 starts, for the Huskies. Here are more Daniels’ stats: .287 batting average; .417 on-base percentage, 29 hits (8 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run), 25 runs scored, 19 RBIs, 24 strikeouts, 20 walks, 4 hit by pitches; 15-16 stolen bases; and .990 fielding percentage.

Dominic Freeberger hit .349 with 60 RBIs. Ben Huber led the team in homers (16) and RBIs (63) with Luke Broadhurst not far off his home run pace (14). Jake Studley drove in 56 runs, and Zach Fogell was a perfect 8-0 on the mound. Devin Kirby (6-1) and Garrett Coe (6-2) were also among the leaders on the hill.

The other foes: No. 1 Florida; No. 3 Texas Tech; No. 4 Florida A&M

The Gators are 44-14 and are led offensively by Jac Caglianone, who put up video game-like numbers of .349 (batting average), 28 home runs and 76 RBIs. Wyatt Langford (17), Cade Kurland (16), Josh Rivera (15), BT Riopelle (13) and Luke Heyman (11) also reached double figures in homers for Florida, which clubbed 119 dingers to just 60 for its opponents.

The Red Raiders are 39-21 and are paced by the explosive Gavin Kash, who put up 24 RBIs and 81 RBIs to go along with his .333 average.

The Rattlers are 29-28 and had to win the SWAC Tournament to earn the automatic bid. Hunter Viets went 8-2 with a 3.12 ERA, and Sebastian Grieco paced the offense with 17 homers and 68 RBIs.

Boston College (35-18)

Seed: No. 2

Region: Tuscaloosa Region (University of Alabama)

The deal: The Eagles earned a No. 2 seed but will be in the heart of SEC country. Former Holy Cross High standout and Roger Williams (Division III) transfer Chris Flynn leads B.C. pitchers in wins (7-3) and strikeouts (82) in his 15 appearances, all starts. Flynn has pitched 72.2 innings in his first season of Division I baseball. His story is a terrific one.

Here are more Flynn stats: 4.21 ERA; 1.44 WHIP; 7-3 record; 15 appearances, 15 starts; 72.2 innings; 71 hits; 38 runs; 34 earned runs; 34 walks, 82 strikeouts; 14 doubles; 6 home runs; .252 batting average against; 8 wild pitches; and 4 hit batsmen.

Joe Vetrano led B.C. offensively with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs.

The other foes: No. 1 Alabama (40-19); No. 3 Troy (39-20); No. 4 Nicholls (34-22)

Colby Shelton hit 22 home runs for the top-seeded Crimson Tide. Drew Williamson has driven in a team-high 58 RBIs to go with his 15 homers while Andrew Pinckney has tallied 16 dingers and 54 RBIs to go along with his .350 average. Luke Holman (7-3) and Jacob McNairy (6-2) lead the Bama pitching staff.

Shane Lewis has bashed his way to 27 homers and 76 RBIs, both team-highs, for Troy. William Sullivan (16 homers, 50 RBIs) and Caleb Bartolero (15 homers, 57 RBIs) have also sparked the Trojan offense. Grayson Stewart is 9-2 and Zach Fruit is 6-1 on the mound.

Nicholls’ highest home run total is seven, but Zane Washington has batted .379 and is 16 of 19 on stolen base attempts. Jacob Mayers is 9-1 with a strong 1.93 ERA while Nico Saltaformaggio is 5-1.

Northeastern (44-14)

Seed: No. 3

Region: Winston-Salem Region (Wake Forest University)

The deal: The Huskies earned an at-large bid, but it happens to be in the region with the top seed in the entire tournament. Ouch. Wolcott native and former Hamden Hall standout Cam Maldonado has batted .357 with a Northeastern freshman record 13 home runs and 45 RBIs. Maldonado has a .440 on-base percentage, .657 slugging percentage and has only been cut once in 32 stolen base attempts.

Here are more Maldonado stats: .357 batting; 1.097 on-base + slugging; 54 games, 53 starts; 207 at bats; 74 hits (13 doubles, 5 triples, 13 home runs); 45 runs scored; 45 RBIs; .657 slugging; 30 walks; 2 hit batters; 52 strikeouts; 3 double plays grounded into; .440 on-base; 2 sacrifice flies; and 31-32 stolen bases.

Mike Sirota is hitting .359 with 18 homers and 54 RBIs while Tyler MacGregor is at .339 with 18 dingers and 53 RBIs. Alex Lane (15, team-high 57 RBIs) and Danny Crossen (10) also hit double digits in home runs. Aiven Cabral (9-3, 2.26 ERA); Jake Gigliotti (8-0); Wyatt Scotti (6-3); Eric Yost (6-1); and Patrick Harrington (6-0) all have pitched well this season.

The other foes: No. 1 Wake Forest; No. 2 Maryland; No. 4 George Mason

The Demon Deacons have lost just 10 times all season (47-10) and have been among the country’s best teams. Brock Wilken (.351 batting average, plus team-highs in home runs with 27, RBIs with 74) and Nick Kurtz (team-best .379 average, plus 23 homers, 63 RBIs) have powered the offense, but Justin Johnson (.330, 13 homers, 61 RBIs) is also a strong run producer. Rhett Lowder is a terrific 13-0 with a 1.69 ERA and has struck out 114 and walked just 19 in 95.2 innings. Lowder has yielded just 72 hits and 22 runs, 18 of which have been earned. Josh Hartle is 9-2 while Seth Keener has compiled a 6-1 record.

Nick Lorusso, a Monroe native who starred for a summer with the former Brass City Bombers of the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League during their 2020 championship season, has driven in a ridiculous 99 RBIs for the Terps (41-19) to go with his 23 home runs and .369 average. Matt Shaw has a .347 average, 23 homers and 67 RBIs. Luke Shliger (.336, 11 HRs, 52 RBIs), a Danbury native who also played for the Bombers during that magical 2020 summer, is another big offensive contributor. Jason Savacool (8-5) and Kenny Lippman (8-1) are the leaders on the mound.

The Patriots (34-25) don’t have any double-digit home run hitters, but they have stolen 158 stolen bases in 196 attempts (80.6%). On the mound, Ben Shields (7-3), Chad Gartland (6-2), Christian Mrcana (4-1), Logan Rumberg (4-1) and Nolan Lamere (3-0) have solid records.

Central Connecticut State University (36-12)

Seed: No. 4

Region: Columbia, S.C. (University of South Carolina)

The deal: The Blue Devils won their eighth Northeast Conference championship, and they have received a great contribution from former Wolcott standout and junior catcher Jeff Nicol. In 35 games, Nicol is hitting .311 with five home runs and 27 RBIs. Here are his complete stats: offense – 35 games; 106 at bats; 33 hits (5 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers); 22 runs scored; 27 RBIs; 21 walks; 24 strikeouts; .311 batting; .436 on-base; .519 slugging; defense – 204 total chances; 184 putouts; 14 assists; 6 errors; .971 fielding; 1 double play; 27 stolen base attempts; 8 runners caught; .229 runners caught stealing percentage; and 5 passed balls.

Ramon Jimenez leads CCSU with a .347 average, 11 homers and 57 RBIs. On the mound, Dominic Niman is a terrific 12-2 with a 2.76 ERA, two complete games, 97.2 innings pitched, 90 strikeouts and 24 walks. Jake Neuman is 6-2 while Luke Garofalo is 4-0 with 11 saves.

The other foes: No. 1 South Carolina; No. 2 Campbell; No. 3 N.C. State

The Gamecocks (39-19) are the No. 15 national seed. Ethan Petry leads them with 22 homers and 72 RBIs. Gavin Casas (19 HRs, 49 RBIs) and Cole Messina (17 HRs, 63 RBIs) are also run producers with pop for South Carolina.

The Camels (44-13) have three hitters who have totaled 16 or more homers and 60 or more RBIs – Lawson Harrill (22, 68); Jarrod Belbin (19, 62); and Bryce Arnold (16, 60). All three of those batters have 16 or more doubles, and Belbin is a perfect 25-for-25 in stolen base attempts. Chance Daquila (8-1) and Cade Kuehler (8-0) have the best records. Kuehler has a 2.82 ERA and has struck out 87 batters in 67 innings. Ty Cummings and Aaron Rund are each 5-2.

The Wolfpack (35-19) are led by Cannon Peebles, a catcher with a .346 average, 12 homers and 48 RBIs. LuJames Groover III also has 48 RBIs along with 11 homers and a .332 average. Payton Green has driven in 45 runs this season.