Hatters Make History, Will Host NCAA Regional at Melching Field


DeLand Fla. - In the late 1990s, when the City of DeLand and Stetson University first began talks of building a new baseball facility on the site of old Conrad Park, Stetson Director of Athletics Jeff Altier made a promise to city officials that if they agreed to the project, the Hatters would one day bring an NCAA Regional Tournament to DeLand.
More than two decades after that promise was made, and 20 years since Melching Field at Conrad Park opened as the home field for Hatters Baseball, that promise becomes reality next weekend.
On Sunday evening, Stetson University and the City of DeLand were selected by the NCAA as one of 16 host sites for Regional Tournaments to open the "Road to Omaha" in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Since the facility first opened in 1999, which corresponded with the expansion of the tournament from eight to 16 regional sites, 68 cities have been awarded Regional Tournaments. DeLand becomes the 69th community to join that exclusive club.
The other Regional Tournament sites for 2018 include Gainesville and Tallahassee, Palo Alto, Calif., Fayetteville, Ark., Oxford, Miss., Corvallis, Ore., Clemson and Conway, SC, Athens, Ga., Chapel Hill, Greenville and Raleigh, NC, Minneapolis, MN, Lubbock and Austin, Texas.
In the now 20 seasons with 16 host sites, Tallahassee leads the way with a total of 18 regionals. The only years Florida State didn't host were 2006 and 2010.
Baton Rouge stands second with 15 NCAA Regionals, tied with Houston (11 for Rice and four for UH) with Coral Gables (12), Fullerton, Calif. (12), Columbia, SC, and Gainesville tied with 11 and Tempe, Ariz., with 10.
It is the first time an NCAA Regional will be played in the state of Florida other than in Tallahassee, Gainesville or Coral Gables.
Stetson fans now need to wait just a few more hours to find out who the Hatters will host next weekend and what seeding the team will get. The Hatters (45-11) will enter NCAA Tournament play with the longest active win streak in the nation at 15 games and with a No. 4 ranking in the most recent RPI standings.
On Monday, the field of 64 teams for the NCAA Championship will be announced at noon. The Hatters will hold a watch party in downtown DeLand at Persimmon Hollow at 111 W. Georgia Avenue. The street will be closed off to allow for as many fans as possible to join in on the celebration of the Hatters' outstanding season.
Doors will open at 11 a.m.
The NCAA Tournament announcement show will air on ESPNU beginning at noon. Stetson will be one of the schools featured live during the broadcast.
The NCAA Tournament will begin at the 16 Regional sites on Friday, June 1, with four teams competing in a double-elimination bracket. The winners of those Regional tournament will advance to Super Regional play the following weekend, with two teams playing a best two-out-of-three series for the right to advance to Omaha for the College World Series.
Play in the College World Series will open on June 15 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
Fans interested in being a part of the Hatters' NCAA Regional Tournament at Melching Field can reserve tickets for the event, which will include six or seven games. The Athletics Ticket Office is accepting orders for tickets now with tournament passes costing $65 for reserved seats and $55 for general admission. Single game tickets will be available later in the week, while supplies last, for $18 and $12.
Fans who want to attend the tournament should reserve their seats now, before the visiting teams are announced. Once those teams are selected, their fans will have the opportunity to buy the tickets, and the tournament is expected to sell out very quickly.
To make sure to have your seats reserved, call the Athletics Ticket Office at 386-738-HATS, go online to www.GoHatters.com/tix or visit the ticket office in person during regular business hours. You can also submit an interest form to reserve your seats. Click here: NCAA Regional Tickets.


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