The Drury University baseball team gained an at-large bid into the NCAA Division II postseason and will host the Midwest Regional starting Thursday at Meador Park in Springfield, Mo.
The Panthers (39-15) won the West Division of the Great Lakes Valley Conference but were defeated 2-1 in the GLVC championship game Sunday by Bellarmine (Ky.). Marshalltown High School graduate Nick Thimesch, a junior outfielder, went 2-for-5 with an RBI double to plate Drury's only run in the title contest.
Thimesch broke the program's single-season record for hits with Sunday's performance, upping his spring total to 79.
"Hats off to Nicky T for getting the single-season hit record," Drury first-year coach Scott Nasby said. "That's a tremendous accomplishment, and we hope he continues to add to his new mark."
Drury will face Lewis University (31-16) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Meador Park in the first round of the 48-team NCAA tournament.
On Wednesday, Thimesch received his second all-GLVC honor when he was named to the conference's first team. He takes a .383 batting average, 58 runs scored, 14 doubles, 37 RBIs and 17 stolen bases into Thursday's regional opener.
Thimesch was the Times-Republican's All-Area Player of the Year in 2010, his senior season at MHS. He was a third-team all-GLVC selection in his freshman campaign at Drury.