The Buena Vista baseball team is set to make its fifth-straight Iowa Conference Tournament appearance this Thursday afternoon, as the third-seeded Beavers will open against sixth-seed Loras College at 1:00pm inside of Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
It's the third time in the last four years that the Beavers will enter the tournament as a top-three seed, but the first time in school history that it will be the third seed.
The team (23-17, 15-13 IIAC) will also be playing the Duhawks in the postseason tournament for the first time as well. The two will meet for the fifth time in four days, as the Beavers took three-of-four from Loras to wrap up the regular season this past Sunday and Monday. Overall, the Beavers will enter the tournament having won 12 of their last 17 games.
BVU is making its ninth appearance in the league tournament during head coach Steve Eddie's 13 seasons at the helm. It is looking to win its second IIAC Tournament title with the last coming in 2010. A championship here in 2013 would also give the team its third Central Regional Tournament berth in four years.
During conference play this season, 12 of the team's 13 losses were decided by four runs or less, including five that were by just one run. The team ranked third in batting average (.286), but was tops over the 28-game league schedule in ERA at 3.09 and was second in fielding percentage (.967).
Freshman Brandon Wessels (3rd) and junior Joe Paletta (8th) each ranked in the top-10 in overall average, with Wessels leading the way in hits (43) and sitting fourth in total bases (53). Paletta finished in a three-way tie for the league lead with nine doubles.
Junior righthander Jon Ringblom went 4-1 in six conference starts and posted a 2.21 ERA. His 36 strikeouts in 36.1 innings of work also ranked fourth.
The winner of Thursday's opening game will move on to play second-seed Coe College that same afternoon at 4:00pm. The loser will play Friday morning at 10:00am against the loser of the other first round match-up between #4 Central/#5 Simpson.
The Beavers advanced into the championship game of last year's IIAC Tournament before falling to Coe College.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.