Short, Sacred Heart open NCAA regional play

Zack Short’s second season at Sacred Heart began with a sophomore slump.

Short, 2013 Kingston graduate, had just five hits in 35 at-bats over his first 10 games.

The shortstop started finding his freshman all-American form in April with back-to-back, three-hit games against Richmond.

Short heated up in May with a 6-for-6 game against Wagner on May 10.

Last week, Short helped Sacred Heart to the Northeast Conference championship and the school’s first NCAA Division I tournament berth, hitting .375 with two home runs and seven RBI.

Short and Sacred Heart (23-30-1) play host and seventh-ranked TCU (43-11) in an opening-round game of the Fort Worth (Texas) Regional at 8 p.m. tonight.

“I’m just expecting to have fun,” Short said on the Sacred Heart athletics website. “It’s a national stage, a lot of fans. Going down to Texas and TCU, it’s going to be awesome. You just got to live in the moment, don’t get caught up in anything, have fun and play the game.”

North Carolina State (34-21), the second seed, and Stony Brook (34-14-1), the third seed, meet in the other opening-round game in the double-elimination regional.

Delaware Valley (Pa.) graduate Tim Knesnik is a junior pitcher for Stony Brook.

Short leads Sacred Heart, the fourth seed in the region, in home runs (9), RBI (38), doubles (14) and runs scored (38). A first-team Northeast Conference pick, Short is the only Pioneer to play in all 54 games this season. He became the 15th player in conference history to hit two home runs in a tournament game against Fairleigh Dickinson on May 22.

Sacred Heart is making its fourth trip to the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers are 0-6 in their previous three appearances (2006, 2011, 2012).

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