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Trinity Tigers have eyes on NCAA tournament return

Tigers haven't been to the postseason since title-winning season in 2016

SAN ANTONIO – Take one look at Trinity University's baseball field and the not so subtle reminders show just what the expectations are. 

From years commemorating regional-qualifying teams proudly displayed on the outfield fence, to a giant billboard proclaiming "2016 National Champions," the expectation at Trinity are to win. 

"The university cares enough about winning where we are able to recruit California, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Arizona. They want us to win," said head coach Tim Scannell, now in his 21st season with the Tigers. "They want us to bring in great athletes and do things the right way, so I think that really helps create a winning atmosphere."

The only problem? Since winning the Division III national championship in 2016, the Tigers have been snuffed out of the postseason. The 2018 season was particularly frustrating as Trinity went 33-9 overall and spent several weeks ranked No. 1, only to not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. It's a feeling junior outfielder Rafe Chaumette hasn't forgotten. 

"Rankings don't mean anything. We saw that last year where we were ranked No. 1 for much of the year and it really didn't even amount to anything," Chaumette said. "I think the big thing this year is to stay steady and not get too excited and ahead of ourselves. We've got to just take it game by game and that's what we've been doing so far."

So far, the plan has worked. Trinity comes in ranked No. 3 in the country and fresh off a sweep of the University of Dallas. At 15-3, the Tigers are well on their way to redeeming themselves after last season's slide. 

"We just keep concentrating on developing and getting better, because if we continue to do that, then we're a tournament team," Scannell said. 

The Tigers step out of SCAC play Tuesday night for a midweek tilt against San Antonio rival Our Lady of the Lake before a big-time series with TLU this weekend.