13 Canadians set for field of 64
By Matt Betts
Canadian Baseball Network
With NCAA Division 1 conference tournaments in the books 13 Canadians are on teams that are regional bound.
That’s two more than a year ago when 11 Canucks were on teams that qualified for the College World Series in Omaha.
The year before that there were 28, led by the Canisius Golden Griffins.
A look at this year’s Canucks who are still alive and headed into the NCAA tournament.
Kentucky, 3 Canadians host regional
Despite a disappointing showing in the Southeastern Conference tournament the University of Kentucky’s strong regular season was enough for them to earn the right host one of sixteen regionals. The Lexington Regional features six Canadians and at least one of each team. Kentucky will rely heavily on three Canadians to help get them to the Super Regionals.
Tristan Pompey (Brampton, Ont.)
Tristan Pompey had a stellar season and was named First Team All-SEC. He is hitting .369 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs.
Zack Pop (Brampton, Ont.)
Pop owns a 1-1 record with a 3.48 ERA in 2017 over 21 appearances, all in relief. The hard throwing right hander has struck out 20 in 20 2/3 innings. He did not appear in the SEC Tournament
Kole Cottam (Knoxville, TN)
Catcher Kole Cottam was born south of the border in the Volunteer State but his father is from Burlington Ont., so he makes the list. He has appeared in 49 games, making 45 starts and is hitting .315. Cottam owns a .993 fielding percentage behind the dish for the Wildcats.
Lloyd looks to lead Indiana
Matt Lloyd (Okotoks, Alta.)
The Indiana Hoosiers enter the Lexington Regional as the No. 2 seed and have one of the most versatile players in the tournament in Matt Lloyd. Lloyd can impact a game in the field, in the box and on the mound as a two-way player. He leads the team with a .317 average and has recorded nine saves with a 2.51 ERA. The sophomore earned Second Team All-Big Ten honours following the regular season. Indiana went 1-2 in the Big Ten Tournament but that didn’t stop Lloyd from being selected to the All-Tournament team for recording five hits, including a solo home run and six RBIs, while tossing 2 1/3 innings and allowing an earned run.
NC State enter as No. 3 seed in Lexington Regional
Mathieu Deneault-Gauthier (Candiac, Que.)
Mathieu Deneault-Gauthier and North Carolina State will look to rebound after beating Boston College but being bounced by in-state foe North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. The freshman has appeared in 10 games and made two starts for the Wolfpack in 2017. He is 1-1 with a 5.89 ERA over 18 1/3 innings pitched. His first collegiate win came February 25th in a game against Austin Peay. NC State takes on Indiana in their first game of the regional.
Botter, Ohio round out Lexington Regional
Christian Botter (Toronto, Ont.)
The University Ohio Bobcats earned their regional birth by running the table in the Mid-America Conference Tournament. The Bobcats boast a Canadian in senior right handed pitcher Christian Botter. Ohio also won the MAC Tournament championship in 2015 and went 0-2 in the regional, dropping a 10-3 decision to Illinois and losing 8-3 to Wright State. They will take on host Kentucky in Game 1.
Boyd’s back with unfinished business
Louis Boyd (North Vancouver, BC)
The Arizona Wildcats 2016 season ended in heartbreaking fashion losing 4-3 in the third and deciding game of the College World Series to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Louis Boyd and the Wildcats are back in the NCAA field of 64 to try and finish the job this time around. Boyd has played in 41 games in 2017 with 40 of them being starts and has posted a .246 average. Arizona takes on Sam Houston State to open the Lubbock Regional.
Yale off to Corvallis, Ore.
Thomas Espig (Vancouver, BC)
Yale University earned their way to the regionals with a sweep of the Ivy League Championship series over Pennsylvania University. The Bulldogs have one Canadian on the roster in Vancouver native Thomas Espig. The freshman southpaw has tossed 22 1/3 innings and is 1-0 with a 4.03 ERA. Six of his 11 appearances have been starts. Yale is in tough in Corvallis as Oregon State is the No. 1 seed and is 49-4 so far this season.
St. John’s readies for Clemson Regional
Gui Gingras (Levis, Que.)
Gui Gingras had six hits in the Big East Tournament but it wasn’t enough as St. John’s University went 2-2 and came up short of a conference title. Fortunately for the Red Storm they will ride a 42-11 record into the Clemson Regional. Gingras is hitting .336 with a .418 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage. St. John’s will be joined by Clemson, Vanderbilt and the University of North Carolina Greensboro in their regional.
Iowa takes home Big Ten title, set for regional
Austin Guzzo (Brooklin, Ont.)
The Iowa Hawkeyes claimed their first Big Ten Tournament title with a 13-4 win over Northwestern. Their reward? A regional that also features Houston (40-19), Baylor (34-21) and Texas A&M (36-21). Austin Guzzo was used as a pinch hitter in a 9-3 loss to Minnesota in Game 3 of the Big Ten Tournament and a pinch runner a game later, a 7-5 win over those same Golden Gophers. He has played in 32 games, made 22 starts and owns a .225 average this season.
Two Canadians help Knights to NCAA Tournament
Jordan Scheftz (North York, Ont.)
Jordan Scheftz was born in North York, Ont. but moved to Irvine, Calif. when he was two months old. Scheftz has flourished with the Knights in 2017. In 26 relief appearances he is 1-2 with a 1.76 ERA over 30 2/3 innings pitched. He threw a scoreless inning, allowing a hit and recording a strikeout in an 8-3 win over Tulane in the American Association Conference Tournament. He was called upon again in a 4-0 loss to East Carolina where he went two scoreless innings with two walks and two strikeouts. The loss ended Central Florida’s tournament but they advanced thanks to a strong regular season record. They will take on Auburn in their regional opener.
Max Wood (West Vancouve
The University of Central Florida carry a 40-20 record into the Tallahassee Regional after going 2-2 in the American Athletic Conference Championship. Max Wood has appeared in 23 games for the Knights and has a .130 average.
Mountaineers enter as No. 2 seed
Gibson Krzeminski (Tecumseh, Ont.)
Another freshman is on the roster of a team headed to the NCAA Division I tournament. Gibson Krzeminski and the West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Winston-Salem, NC to try and book a ticket to the Super Regionals. West Virginia enters as the No. 2 seed and shares a regional with host Wake Forest, Maryland and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It is the 12th tournament appearance all-time for WVU but first since 1996.
The regionals are set and Canadians are looking to help their teams take the next step towards the ultimate goal of a College World Series championship.