#1 Arkansas (40-18, 18-12 SEC)
Golden Spikes award semifinalist Zack Cox is one of the most heralded players in the country, leading Arkansas to the College World Series in 2009 as well as winning the Cape Cod League MVP while playing for the Cotuit Keetlers. Cox was held out of the SEC Tournament due to a lingering back injury, but has deemed himself ready for NCAA Tournament play. The same cannot be said for Brett Eibner’s hand injury, which before the tournament Head Coach Dave Van Horne said was “getting worse.” Both Cox (.432, 8 HR, 47 RBI) and Eibner (.332, 18 HR, 61 RBI) are projected to be first round picks in the 2010 MLB Draft. Also leading the high powered Razorback offense are Sophomore OF Colin Kuhn (.343, 12 HR, 45 RBI) and Junior IF Andy Wilkins (.274, 13 HR, 62 RBI)
On the mound, Drew Smyly (8-1, 2.54 ERA) led the way for the Razorbacks, where he is near eclipsing the century mark in K’s with 98 strikeouts on the season. What’s concerning for Arkansas is that they were shut out of the SEC Tournament with losses to Auburn and Florida.
#2 Washington State (34-20, 15-12 Pac-10)
The Cougars enter the NCAA postseason for the second consecutive season after not playing postseason ball since 1990. They enter the postseason on a high note after winning 12 of their last 15 games, and are led offensively by Sophomore RF Derek Jones, who crushed 11 HR on the season while hitting .300.
On the mound the Cougars are led by Junior RHP Chad Arnold (5-3, 3.37 ERA) , who was the only pitcher to start more than 10 games for the Cougars this season. The starting rotation was more of a platoon for Wazzou, with 5 different pitchers starting 6 or more games. The bullpen is the high note for the pitching staff, as they combined for 17 wins and 18 saves. Junior LHP Paris Shewey (7-2, 2.75 ERA, 26 APP) and Adam Conley (5-3, 3.13 ERA,11 Saves, 27 APP) were the relief anchors for the Cougs.
#3 Kansas State (36-20, 14-12 Big XII)
Junior SS Carter Jurica (.359, 11 HR, 65 RBI), and Big XII Co-Player of the Year Sophomore OF Nick Martini lead the Wildcat squad offensively. Martini leads the conference with a .412 batting average and a .507 on base percentage, while driving in 53 runs. Martini and Senior Adam Muenster each had hitting streaks over 20 games this season, while Muenster had the 5th best batting average in Big XII conference history with a .434 in league play. Jurica had a two homerun game against opponent Washington State back in 2008.
The pitching is centered around not giving up free passes. The Wildcat staff gave up 2 or less walks in 24 games this season, while averaging 3.07 walks per game, third lowest in the conference. The starting rotation is led by Sophomore LHP Kyle Hunter (9-2, 4.50 ERA), including big victories against #15 ranked Oklahoma, and followed that up by defeating then #1 ranked Texas at home, snapping the Longhorns 21-game winning streak. Sophomore reliever James Allen (5-0, 2.03 ERA) has been great in conference play as he held opponents to a conference leading .156 BAA.
#4 Grambling State (22-30, 11-14 SWAC)
Grambling State got to the postseason for the first time since 1985, defeating Alcorn State in the title game 15-2. Grambling steals bases like crazy with 138 swiped bags in 2010, led by Sophomore Chris Wolfe with 27. Wolfe also led the team at the plate with a .358 batting average. The duo of Steve Kletke and Mychal Roby each had 10 HR. On the mound, a pair of Junior LHP’s in Odingo Davila (7-4, 6.00 ERA) and AdrianTurner (5-5, 5.90 ERA) lead the Grambling rotation.
2. Kansas State
3. Washington State
4. Grambling State