Quakers and Cavaliers get ready to rumble in NCAA Regional

The baseball team is making back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 34 years.

Members of the baseball team celebrate at home plate after a big play.
Image: Penn Athletics

The Ivy League champion baseball team will tangle with the University of Virginia of the ACC in the NCAA Regional on Friday at noon in Charlottesville.

Penn earned a trip to the Regional by going on an improbable run and winning the Ivy League Tournament for the second year in a row. Virginia (41-15) is the No. 1 seed in the four-team region and the Quakers (24-23) are the No. 4 seed. Mississippi State (38-21) and St. John’s (37-16-1) are the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively.

The Red & Blue are making their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional. Key contributors include fourth-year third baseman Wyatt Henseler, second-year shortstop Davis Baker, fourth-year pitcher/designated hitter Carson Ozmer, second-year center fielder Ryan Taylor, and fourth-year pitcher Cole Zaffiro.

Henseler, the unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year, is batting .372 with 71 hits, 63 runs, 55 RBIs, 22 home runs, and a .785 slugging percentage. His home run total is a new conference record. Baker is batting .309 with 39 runs, 63 hits, 41 RBIs, and seven home runs. Zaffiro is 5-4 with a 4.98 ERA. He has 86 strikeouts and 31 walks.

Wyatt Henseler looks at a pitch in the batter's box after a swing.
Fourth-year third baseman Wyatt Henseler has 22 home runs so far this season, a new Ivy League record. (Image: Penn Athletics)

Virginia is making its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament but earned an at-large bid. The Cavaliers are led by third-year designated hitter Ethan Anderson, third-year shortstop Griff O’Ferrall, second-year left fielder Harrison Didawick, and third-year right fielder Casey Saucke. 

Anderson is batting .332 with 74 hits, 62 runs, 39 RBIs, and eight home runs. O’Ferrall is batting .336 with 86 hits, 58 runs, 49 RBIs, and five home runs. Didawick is batting .301 and has a team-high 23 home runs.

The NCAA Regional is a double-elimination contest. The winner of the Charlottesville Regional will battle the winner of the Fayetteville Regional—which consists of Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Kansas State, and Southeast Missouri State—in the Super Regional. The winner of the Super Regional, a best-of-three competition, advances to the College World Series.