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JAMIE SHEVCHIK

The Keystone College baseball team will hit the diamond for the first time in 2018 for a three-game affair at the Diamond/Armstrong Invitational starting Friday afternoon in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The Giants open the invite against Christopher Newport University at noon, then face Methodist University on Saturday at 4 p.m. before closing out the weekend against DeSales University at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Keystone put together another outstanding season in 2017, finishing with a 33-15 overall record and a third place finish in the NCAA Mideast Regional championship despite returning just two players who started during the Giants’ run to the national championship series the previous season.

The Giants won their ninth straight Colonial States Athletic Conference championship and 13th straight overall conference title before advancing to the final four of the regional tournament for the fourth time in the last seven years.

Keystone finished the regular season with a 28-12 overall record and clinched the top seed in the CSAC playoffs with a 17-4 mark in conference play

Despite having a remarkable 26-game CSAC playoff winning streak snapped, the Giants claimed the conference title by rallying from a four-run, seventh inning deficit to defeat Immaculata University, 6-5, in a winner-take-all championship game to punch their 10th straight ticket to the NCAA Regionals in the process.

Head coach Jamie Shevchik will be entering his 17th year with Keystone, which has included two appearances in the NCAA Division III Collegiate World Series and a runner-up finish in 2016.

During his career at Keystone, Shevchik has compiled an impressive 540-174 overall record for a /756 winning percentage.

As for Keystone’s first three opponents of 2018, CNU finished last season with a 25-15 overall record and a 15-3 stint in the Capital Athletic Conference.

Methodist University finished 17-21 overall and 7-11 in USA South Athletic Conference.

DeSales posted a 26-16 overall record and 17-4 mark in MAC Freedom to earn the top spot in the postseason tournament before falling to Misericordia University in the title game, 8-0.