Top-ranked LaGrange faces Otterbein in its opening South Regional game Thursday at Danville, Virginia's Legion Field starting at 2:30 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Otterbein (31-12) won the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament to get to the regional. The Cardinals were third in the regular season and went 3-0 in the conference tournament, defeating regular season champion Mount Union twice. They have a seven-game winning streak entering Thursday's game.
Catcher Stephan Hernon is one of only four seniors on Otterbein's roster. Hernon was one of eight Cardinals selected to OAC All-Conference teams. He was a first team selection, leading the team with a .348 batting average, 8 home runs, and second with 42 RBIs. Junior designated hitter Bryan Stopar was also on the first team, batting .340 with 6 home runs and a team-leading 43 RBIs. Junior righthander Craig Prince was the third Cardinal on the first team. Prince is 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 81-1/3 innings this season.
The Panthers (38-4) are on an eight-game winning streak themselves. They have not played since sweeping a doubleheader from Greensboro on April 22 to close out the regular season.
LC had eight players on the USA South All-Conference teams. Senior designated hitter Casey Bell is the USA South Player of the Year. Bell batted .365 with 3 home runs, and 46 RBIs. Senior lefthander Ryan Broaderick was named the USA South Pitcher of the Year, after posting an 8-0 record with a 2.03 ERA. Freshman Richie Post is 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA and the USA South Rookie Pitcher of the Year.
The LaGrange-Otterbein winner plays the Rowan-Emory winner Friday at 6 p.m. The loser plays the Roanoke-Salisbury loser Friday at 11 a.m.