D’Youville baseball on rise in first year eligible for NCAA D2 postseason

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — From worst (and winless) to first in three seasons, D’Youville University’s baseball team has risen to the top of its league.

Just in time for its first year eligible for postseason play in NCAA Division II.

“This was our expectation, for this group to be here,” said coach Kyle McClain, after the Saints claimed a share of the East Coast Conference regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the ECC tournament starting Thursday in Unionville, N.Y.

In its first season making the transition from the D-III level, D’Youville went 2-25 with an 0-21 record in the conference. D’Youville went 14-22 (7-11) in 2022, and 21-26 (10-12) a year ago, placing fourth in the ECC standings but ineligible for the postseason tournament before its fourth year in D-II.

“We told our guys that in our first year eligible to play in the postseason, we were going to compete for the championship,” McClain said. “When we recruited two, three, four years ago, we talked about being in this position. The players have been motivated and worked hard to be in the position we are in now.”

The Saints set a school record for wins in finishing 29-18 this regular season, going 18-4 since the start of April and achieving an 18-6 record in conference play. They became the first D’Youville team to claim a regular season conference title since the school joined D-II.

“It’s been really cool to see as a coach,” said McClain, an All-Western New York player for Canisius High who played in two NCAA tournaments with Washington and Jefferson, and was the pitching coach at Medaille before taking over at D’Youville in 2018.

“We try to be a program that is run by our players,” McClain said. “They go about their business in top fashion every day.”

Many of the team leaders were All-WNY players themselves.

Hunter Nowak (St. Francis) leads the Saints in batting .337, while Jeremy Glinski (Timon) has the highest OPS (1.107). Alex Dzimian (St. Francis) tops the squad with 55 hits and Jon Simpson (Grand Island) has the most home runs (11). On the mound, Billy Morris (Lancaster) has a 4.66 earned-run average with 53 strikeouts.

“We’ve done a really good job recruiting in our own backyard,” McClain said. “There is a lot of talent in Western New York, and going D-II has opened up a bigger prospect pool for us.”


Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.

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