Baseball Team Caps Historic Season with Championship Game
June 20, 2023
By Office of Marketing
For the 2023 season, Rollins’ baseball team scores a runner-up finish at the NCAA Division II National Championship.
Rollins’ baseball team ends the 2023 season with a historic accomplishment, reaching the final round of the NCAA Division II National Championship for the first time since 1954.
The fourth-seeded Tars advanced to the championship round at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, after a 10-8 win against fifth-seeded Cal State San Bernardino on June 9. In the national-title game on Saturday, June 10, the Tars faced off with third-seeded Angelo State, needing to win two games per double-elimination tournament rules to claim the title.
Per the script of the season, Rollins refused to go down without a fight. Rollins tied the game in the fourth but trailed 6-2 at the top of the ninth. The Tars mounted a fierce late rally in the ninth inning, shortening their deficit but ultimately falling after a bases-loaded strikeout to the Rams 6-5.
The runner-up finish is the farthest the team has ever gotten at the Division II level and is the culmination of several years of hard work and dedication.
“During the pandemic, there was a feeling of loss as well as a true appreciation for playing the game we love,” says head coach Joe Sjogren, who has helmed Rollins’ baseball program for nearly 20 years. “This period of time helped us realize that the gift we have is so fragile, and it gave us time to wipe the slate clean. We were able to take our program down to the foundation and rebuild. Our 2022 season took us to the semi-finals, and that same steady, positive approach allowed us to have the success we attained this year. The lasting influence these two classes of student-athletes will have on our program is enormous.”
Overall, it was a record-setting year for Tars baseball as they set new benchmarks as a team and as individuals across the board. They finished the season 42-19 and now also rank second in wins and runs. As a team, they scored 687 hits, beating their previous record of 655 in 2010, and earned 449 RBIs, toppling the 1994 record of 434. Additionally, the Tars tied two team records with 127 doubles and 84 home runs, both set in the 1998 season.
“Competing in the national championship final was special and extremely important for us regionally and nationally,” says Sjogren, “but the way our players and coaches have reconstructed the foundation of our program and developed a process of how to develop both as people and players will be the lasting achievement for years to come.”
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