BALTIMORE — Over the past five years the Coppin State University baseball team has been the winningest program in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. When it came to winning the MEAC and punching their automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament they always knew they could.
This year they finally did.
"To win it, it’s just surreal," said Eagles pitcher/outfielder Jordan Hamberg.
"We actually did it, did something so special for this school, for the team. Something we worked so hard for," added Eagles third baseman Brian Nicolas.
Coppin is on its way to the NCAA Tournament after a thrilling 18-12 win over top-seeded Delaware State last Saturday in the deciding game of the conference tournament in Norfolk, Virginia. A season-high eight-run ninth inning got it done.
"We all came together and just started going," said Hamberg. "Once one person went everyone followed and it was a successful ninth inning."
Hamberg was named to the all-tournament team. He set the program record for strikeouts this season, throwing 86.
Coppin earned its first conference title since 1995 and its first NCAA tourney regional berth ever. They also matched a school record with 24 wins on the year. Sherman Reed, in his twelfth season as Coppin head coach, said he saw this end result from the start.
"It goes all the way back to September 19, the first practice of the fall. This team truly believed that, first of all, they were talented enough to compete at the highest level. But this team knew that they were an NCAA bound group from the very beginning."
"It’s just huge, not just for ourselves, but for this school, for the community," added Nicolas, the MEAC Tournament's Most Outstanding Performer. "I think it’s huge that we get to go and represent Coppin State for the MEAC and hopefully we can do something special."
The Eagles now await their NCAA Tournament fate. They will find out where they will go and who they will play on Monday at noon during the NCAA Baseball selection show. They will host a watch party on campus that is free and open to the public.