1. Missouri (40-16)
2. Miami (Fla.) (36-22)
3. Louisville (40-20)
4. Kent State (33-24)
|The Favorite: Missouri
When looking at Missouri from a statistical standpoint, it’s easy to come away unimpressed. But a closer look at the Tigers reveals a team that always finds a way to win games. While sophomore right-hander Aaron Crow leads the charge on the mound, the Tigers are led at the plate by junior outfielder Evan Frey. He’s hitting a team-leading .346 with four home runs and 33 RBIs. Jacob Priday is a power producer for the Tigers, while Brock Bond has shown consistency with his .319 batting average. The Tigers have a tough field with Miami and Louisville. But as they’ve shown, they’re not a team that likes to be doubted.
|Dark horse candidate: Miami, Fla.
If you want to see consistency, look no further than the Miami baseball program. With a bid to the Columbia Regional, the Hurricanes are attending their 35th straight NCAA Regional. Color me impressed. While hometown Missouri is the favorite over the Hurricanes, that won’t get this team down. The Hurricanes have an impressive offense with Yonder Alonso and freshman third baseman Mark Sobolewski leading the charge. Second baseman Jemile Weeks is another versatile player to watch, while Roger Tomas routinely makes opposing pitchers pay for their mistakes. The Canes can win this Regional.
|Best hitter: Miami 1B Yonder Alonso
In his second season with the Hurricanes, Alonso has blossomed into one of the top hitters in college baseball. The sophomore enters the Columbia Regional hitting a team-leading .378 with 18 home runs and 74 RBIs. He’s also slugging .724 and has a .519 on-base percentage. In addition, Alonso has stolen 13 bases and has 12 doubles in 196 at bats.
|Best pitcher: Missouri RHP Aaron Crow
There are several talented pitchers in this Regional, but the guy that stands out to me the most is Missouri right-hander Aaron Crow. After losing Max Scherzer and Nathan Culp last season, many critics thought the Mizzou pitching staff would take a giant step back. That assumption was wrong. Crow enters the weekend with an 8-3 record and a 3.17 ERA in 108 innings. He has also struck out 81 batters.
Missouri has a tough opening round matchup with four-seed Kent State, but if they can hold off the Golden Flashes, it will likely shake off any potential postseason jitters. The Tigers have a good one-two punch in the weekend rotation, while Evan Frey and Jacob Priday lead the way at the plate. As the host team, it’s important for the Tigers to keep the fans involved in the action … Miami might have a better chance of winning this Regional than some might think. The Hurricanes have the most talented team in the field of four and have the postseason experience necessary to make it to the College World Series. For Miami, the key to the weekend is consistency across the board … Louisville is another team that could surprise this weekend. Roger Williams has done a phenomenal job with the Cards pitching staff, while Logan Johnson, Isaiah Howes and Boomer Whiting provide the offensive fireworks … Kent State enters the tournament just 6-13 against teams in the top 100.Rivals.com
The Oxford Regional will be held at the University of Mississippi’s Swayze Field, It is the fourth straight year Ole Miss has hosted an NCAA Regional. The field includes the host Rebels, out of the Southeastern Conference; the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, out of Conference USA; the Troy Trojans, out of the Sun Belt Conference; and the Sam Houston State Bearkats, out of the Southland Conference.
No. 1 seed Ole Miss enters the 2007 NCAA Tournament after advancing to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, losing two games to Vanderbilt. The Rebels
finished third in the SEC Western Division during the regular season, finishing behind Arkansas and Mississippi State.
The Rebels are hitting .304 with 98 doubles, 17 triples and 48 home runs. The pitching staff has a 3.51 ERA in 543 innings pitched with 522 strikeouts, 216 walks and opponents are hitting .237 against them.
Ole Miss is led by All-SEC pitchers Will Kline and Lance Lynn, two of the best in conference as well as in the nation. Kline is 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 110 innings pitched, while Lynn is 7-4 with a 2.77 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 107.1 innings pitched.
The Rebels are led offensively by junior infielder Justin Henry, who is hitting .378 with 14 doubles, eight triples, 21 stolen bases and 35 RBIs. Redshirt freshman infielder Zach Miller is hitting .370 with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and 26 RBIs. Freshman outfielder Jordan Henry is hitting .365. with four doubles, two triples, one home run, 12 stolen bases and 14 RBIs. Redshirt freshman Cody Overbeck hit 15 doubles, a team-leading 13 home runs and 52 RBIs.
No. 2 seed Southern Miss enters the tournament after defeating UAB, 9-5, in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament, before dropping a 2-1 game in 10 innings to East Carolina and then a 6-2 loss to Tulane to end its tournament run. The Golden Eagles finished 14-10 in Conference USA, won 10-straight to end the regular season and has won 11-of-13, 13-of-15 and 21 of their last 30 games.
Junior first baseman Trey Sutton leads the Golden Eagles, hitting .368 with 18 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 35 walks, 35 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. He hurt his left knee against UAB in the first game of the tournament and is doubtful for the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore shortstop Brian Dozier is hitting .335 with 14 doubles, three home runs, 19 walks and 25 RBIs. Senior outfielder Jody Blount is hitting .326 with eight doubles, two triples, six home runs, 26 walks and 33 RBIs. Redshirt junior designated hitter Trey Cuevas leads the team in home runs with 10, and sophomore outfielder Michael Ewing leads the team in walks (42) and RBIs (46).
Senior right-hander Ryan Belanger has a 7-4 record with a 2.63 ERA in 99.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 82, walked 18 and opponents are hitting .232 against him. Junior right-hander Barry Bowden is 7-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 92.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 83, walked 26 and opponents are hitting .242 against him. Junior David Clark is 8-5 with a 4.69 ERA in 88.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 69, walked 33 and opponents are hitting .239 against him.
No. 3 seed Troy enters the NCAA Tournament after posting a 1-2 record in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Trojans defeated Louisiana-Monroe, 7-0, in game one, before dropping two straight to Louisiana-Lafayette, 9-7, and South Alabama, 4-1. Troy has won five of its last 10 games, seven of 15 and 11 of its last 20 games. The Trojans posted a 16-14 record in Sun Belt Conference games and finished in a tie for second place with Middle Tennessee State and New Orleans.
Sophomore infielder Trevor Trye is hitting .381 with six doubles, four home runs, 17 walks and 22 RBIs to lead the Trojans. Senior outfielder Kevin Weidlich is hitting .362 with 13 doubles, 11 home runs, 19 walks and 55 RBIs. Senior infielder Clint Robinson is hitting .359 with 18 doubles, 17 home runs, 30 walks and 69 RBIs. Senior infielder Edgar Ramirez is hitting .338 with 16 doubles, 11 home runs and 44 RBIs.
Senior right-hander Clegg Snipes is 6-5 with a 5.18 ERA in 97.1 innings pitched, striking out 84, walking 22 and opponents are hitting .277 against him. Senior left-hander Joe Hallahan is 5-6 with a 5.66 ERA in 89.0 innings pitched, striking out 60, walking 25 and opponents are hitting .297 against him. Senior relief pitcher Josh Dew is 7-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 63.1 innings, striking out 96, walking 25 and opponents are hitting .214 against him.
SAM HOUSTON STATE
No. 4 seed Sam Houston State won the Southland Conference Tournament last weekend and have won four in a row, five of six and 11 of 14 games. The Bearkats registered an 18-12 mark in the Southland Conference, finishing in third place in the west division.
Junior outfielder Keith Stein leads the team with a .386 batting average, with six doubles, four triples and 36 RBIs. Junior outfielder Bobby Verbick is hitting .373 with a team-leading 22 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 75 RBIs. Senior infielder Karl Krailo is hitting .357 with 15 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 46 RBIs.
Sophomore right-hander Jacob Howard has posted an 11-5 record this season in 105 innings pitched. He has struck out 74 batters, walked 28 and opponents are hitting .279 against him. Senior left-hander Jesse Marshall is 8-3 with a 3.58 ERA in 98 innings pitched. He has struck out 51, walked 34 and opponents are hitting .273 against him.
Coastal Carolina comes in as a number 1 seed and hosting the Regional for the first time after going 48-11 this spring. They are led by David Sappelt who is hitting .366 with 49 RBI. Coastal Carolina’s top starting pitcher is Bobby Gagg who went 11-2 with a 2.75 ERA. They open up against Virginia Commonwealth at 4 pm on Friday.
Coastal Carolina Tourney Notes
The Tigers (38-21) enter the weekend after winning two out of three games in the ACC Tournament but did not advance as they lost the tiebreaker to Wake Forest. They are led by Brad Chaulk who has a .385 average in forty games this season. He is also getting on base at a .514 clip. The Tigers are led by All-American closer Daniel Moskos who was moved to the starting rotation halfway through the year. He has a 3-5 record with a 3.12 ERA. Clemson opens the tournament against St. John’s at noon on Friday.
Clemson Tourney Notes
The Red Storm (40-17) recieved an at-large berth out of the Big East. Gil Zayas is leading the team in hitting with a .363 batting average. Bryan Kemp also has a .361 batting average to give the Red Storm two solid hitters. George Brown has made 13 starts this season accumulating a 6-2 record and a 2.93 ERA.
The Rams (37-21) are led by Jared Bolden who has a .393 average with 49 RBI. He has also stolen 17 bases throughout the season. Phillip Deane leads the starters in ERA at 4.02. He only has a 3-5 record on the season. Luke Pisker leads the team in ERA at 1.87 and has a 9-1 overall record including 11 saves.
VCU Tourney Notes
The CBB predicts that Clemson will come through the regional with superior talent.
Long Beach State
The Dirtbags (37-18) are heading into the weekend after finishing up the regular season knocking off Cal-State Fullerton in two out of three games last weekend. LBSU is led by Omar Arif who is 5-5 with a 3.11 ERA. Bryan Shaw leads the team with 10 saves with a 2.53 ERA.
The UCLA Bruins (30-26) finished in third place in the Pac 10 conference with a 14-10 mark. They are led by Gabe Cohen who is leading the team in hitting with a .357 average including ten homers. Tyson Brummett leads the starters with a 9-5 mark with an ERA of 3.69. He also has 103 strikeouts in 125 innings.
UCLA Tourney Notes
The Pepperdine Waves (35-20) are led by one of the top pitchers in the country in Barry Enright who leads the team in wins with 12 and has an ERA of 1.73. Jason Dominguez leads the team with 12 saves in 28 appearances. The offense is led by Adrian Ortiz (.355 BA), Danny Worth (.346 BA), and Donald Brown (.342 BA).
The University of Illinois-Chicago heads out to Long Beach CA to take part in the regional that Long Beach State is hosting. UIC got into the NCAA Tournament after winning the Horizon League Tournament. UIC is led by Larry Gempe Jr. who is hitting .397 for the season. Steve Crnkovich who leads the starting pitchers in ERA at 2.27 and has only a 4-3 overall record. They have one of the best closers in the country with David Cales who has twelve saves on the season and an ERA of 0.84.
The CBB predicts Pepperdine to shock everyone and win the regional behind Barry Enright’s arm.
Ranked as the number four national seed coming into regional play, the Texas Longhorns will host their weekend regional in neighboring Round Rock. Traveling to take on the ‘Horns will be second-seeded UC Irvine and third-seeded Wake Forest, as well as Ivy League champ Brown. The winner of that bracket will take on the winner from Wichita next week. The Shockers, like all other hosts this spring, are the top seed at home, and they welcome in a tough number two seed in Arizona, as well as both Oral Roberts and New Orleans.
(1) Texas [#5]
The Longhorns are again right where they’ve been for much of this decade, sitting at home for regional play with a national seed in their back pocket following a stellar regular season. The 2007 campaign saw UT claim first place in the Big XII after putting together a 21-6 league mark and 44-15 overall record.You may not know much about the Big West Conference, but the Anteaters will attest that it’s no easy task with the likes of Cal State-Fullerton, Long Beach State, and UC Riverside on the schedule from week to week. Irvine survived quite nicely though, going 15-6 in conference play and 40-15 overall to earn the at-large berth.Though the Demon Deacons finished a pair of games below .500 in ACC play and actually just six games above the break-even mark overall, they were awarded one of the final at-large berths to this year’s NCAA tournament after losing to UNC in the ACC Tournamnet title game.
The Arkansas Razorbacks were announced as the Regional host at Baum Stadium this weekend. They will be joined by the Creighton Blue Jays, Oklahoma State, and Albany Great Danes. All games will be broadcasted on CSTV.
The Razorbacks enter with an overall record of 41-19 after making the SEC Championship game over the weekend and losing to the Vanderbilt Commodores. They are led by a strong pitching staff of Jess Todd (9-2, 2.49 ERA, 124 K’s), Nick Schmidt (10-3, 2.85 ERA), and Duke Welker (6-5, 3.83 ERA). The offensive leader for the Razorbacks is Logan Forsythe who hit .352 for the season. Danny Hamblin leads the team with 22 homers on the year. They open the tournament with the Albany Great Danes at 7:30 pm.
The Blue Jays (44-14) enter as the champions of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament after knocking off Wichita State in 12 innings 10-9. Ben Mancuso leads the starters with an ERA of 2.28 and a record of 10-2 in twelve starts. Andy Masten is a finalist for Stopper of the Year with his 16 saves in 33 appearances. His ERA is 1.74 for the season. Darin Ruf leads the hitters with a .377 average. They will take on Oklahoma State at 3:30 pm on Friday to open up their run to Omaha for the CWS.
Creighton Tourney Notes
The Cowboys (38-19) are entering the NCAA Tournament on a six game losing streak after getting swept by Missouri in the final series of the year and going 0-3 in the Big 12 tournament.
They are led by a very shaky pitching staff which has a staff ERA of 4.09 but make up for it with a very good hitting team as opponents have an ERA of 7.52. The top starting pitcher for the Cowboys is Joe Kent who is 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in ten starts. Justin Friend has seven saves on the season with an ERA of 2.54. They will open the tournament against Creighton at 3:30 pm on Friday.
Oklahoma State Tourney Notes
The Great Danes (29-27) enter the NCAA Tournament as the America East Champion after sweeping through the conference tournament. They are led by Steve Wyland who is hitting .379 for the season in 54 games. The Great Danes pitching staff is weak for a northern squad with John Naples leading the rotation with an 8-2 record and an ERA of 3.29. They will open the tournament at 7:30 against Arkansas.
Albany Tourney Notes
The CBB predicts Arkansas to win the regional but watch out for the Blue Jays to be the sleeper squad in the Regional. I would be shocked if Albany won a game before heading home.
The Gamecocks are coming off the SEC Tournament in which they went 1-2 with a victory over Florida which was bookended by losses to Arkansas. They are led by one of the top sophomores in the country in Justin Smoak. He is considered one of the top two players in the country with Pedro Alvarez of Vanderbilt. He is hitting at .304 for the season with 18 homers. James Darnell leads the team in hitting with a .338 average and also has 18 homers on the season. Arik Hempy leads the starting pitchers with a 5-3 record and an ERA of 2.87. They open the tournament on Friday at 7 pm when they take on Wofford.
South Carolina Game Notes
NC State heads down the road to South Carolina to take part in the NCAA Regional. The Wolfpack went 1-2 in the ACC Tournament with a victory over Georgia Tech and picked up a losses to Virginia and North Carolina. The Wolfpack are led by catcher Caleb Mangum who is hitting .286 but is solid behind the plate. Ryan Pond leads the team in hitting with a .330 average and six homers. Eric Surkamp leads the starting pitchers with an ERA of 3.18 and a 4-4 overall record. They also have one of the top draft picks in their rotation with Andrew Brackman but he struggled throughout the year with his control as his record stands at 6-4 with a 3.81 ERA. The CBB saw the Wolfpack twice this season in which Brackman pitched in Game 2 and Jimmy Gillheeney pitched Game 3 of the series with Boston College. NC State will play Charlotte at 2 pm on Friday.
BREAKING NEWS: NC STATE HAS LEFT ANDREW BRACKMAN OFF THE ROSTER THIS WEEKEND. FULL STORY AVAILABLE HERE.
The Charlotte 49ers (47-10) will take part in the NCAA tournament after winning the Atlantic 10 conference tournament and receiving the automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. Charlotte is led by All-American pitcher Adam Mills who leads the team with an 1.07 ERA in 17 games. He has a record of 13-2 with four shutouts and an opponents batting average of .186. Brad McElroy leads the offense with a .412 batting average. They open up the tournament at 2 pm on Friday when they take on in-state rival NC State at 2 pm.
Charlotte Tourney Notes
Wofford (30-31) enter this weekend as the Southern Conference Tournament Champion as they won the tournament as the number 9 seed. They are led by Brandon Waring who is hitting .405 on the season with 27 home runs. (That is not an error.) Ben Austin is 11-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 17 starts. They will open the tournament by taking on South Carolina at 7 pm on Friday.
Wofford Tourney Notes
The CBB predicts that South Carolina will win the regional but Charlotte will give them a run for the money as the 49ers pitchers are some of the best in the country.
The University of North Carolina is hosting the NCAA Regional this weekend at Boshamer Stadium. The three other schools who will be playing in the regional are Western Carolina, East Carolina, and Jacksonville.
The North Carolina Tar Heels (48-12) went undefeated at the ACC Tournament on their way to the ACC Tournament Championship. They are led by Freshman All-American Dustin Ackley who has a .437 average. Josh Horton also provides strong defense and a potent bat in the lineup as he has a .329 average in 60 games. Robert Woodard with a 9-2 record and a 3.29 average. The CBB did check out the Tar Heels this season which can be read by clicking here. They open the tournament on Friday when they play Jacksonville at 6:00 pm.
UNC Tourney Notes
The East Carolina Pirates (39-21) head up the road to Chapel Hill to open up their NCAA Tournament against Western Carolina on Friday at 2 pm. ECU went to the Conference USA championship game but lost to Rice 16-8. They are led by Dale Mollenhauer who leads the team with a .329 average. Josh Dowdy is the top starting pitcher with a 5-1 record in twelve starts.
The Western Carolina Catamounts (40-18) enter this weekend coming off the Southern Conference Tournament in which they were eliminated after two games after losing to Georgia Southern and The Citadel. Western Carolina’s top hitter is Kenny Smith who is hitting .396 on the season in 58 games. Drew Saberhagen leads the team with an 8-1 record and a 3.10 ERA. He is the son of former MLB pitcher Brett Saberhagen. They open the tournament against East Carolina on Friday at 2 pm.
Western Carolina Tourney Notes
The Jacksonville Dolphins enter this weekend with a 34-26 overall record after winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament to get into the NCAA Regional. The Dolphins are led by Pete Clifford who leads the team with a .359 average and in homers with 14. Justin Young has the lowest ERA of the starters at 3.33 but only has a record of 5-5. They will open up against North Carolina at 6 pm on Friday.
Jacksonville Tourney Notes
The CBB predicts UNC to win the regional with East Carolina being the sleeper team from Conference USA.
The Owls were the preseason #1, but didn’t live up to those expectations early on. But Wayne Graham’s club has won 30 of their last 32, including a recent 20-game win streak. They�ve hit their stride at just the right time, and that means trouble. Rice is known for their pitching, but the bats that have made headlines lately. The Owls scored 60 runs in winning the Conference USA tournament, including 36 in the last two games against Memphis and East Carolina.
The Horned Frogs swept both Mountain West titles for the second year in a row, going 20-3 in league play, then sweeping through the MWC tournament in Las Vegas. TCU is solid at the plate (.316), in their rotation (top three starters are 27-6), and in the bullpen (starter-turned-closer Sam Demel has 13 saves).
The Bears made a late-season move to get into the regionals, sweeping their last conference series vs. Kansas State, then knocking off Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Oklahoma in the Big 12 tourney before falling to Texas A&M in the final. This is the second straight year Steve Smith�s team will be at Rice.
The Panthers, like Baylor, return to Rice for the second straight year. They won the SWAC West Division title, and swept through the SWAC tournament, defeating Southern 8-7 for the title. The 2004 season is no doubt still fresh in many minds, when Texas Southern upset defending champ Rice in their opening game. And last year, the Panthers held a 5-3 lead going into the 8th inning, but the Owls came back to win 6-5. Southerncollegesports.com
The Aggies were probably the nation�s best turnaround story this season. In Rob Childress� first season last year, A&M went 25-30-1. This season, they had 25 wins on April 1st. They were in the running for a national seed for most of the season, but a .500 finish in conference hurt. But the Aggies rebounded from a season-ending sweep vs. Texas by winning the Big 12 tourney, including knocking off the ‘Horns in pool play, and a 14-6 win over Baylor in the title game. They�re hosting for the first time since 2003.The Ragin� Cajuns were in the running for a #1 seed until the end, but the Sun Belt�s regular-season champions fell short in the tournament title game, and that may have cost them their shot at a #1 and a regional at home. If there�s any consolation, they�re the highest #2 seed in the field.The Buckeyes were SCS.com�s preseason pick to win the Big Ten title. Turns out they did end up doing it, but not in the fashion they were expected to. They finished .500 in the Big Ten, and got into the conference tournament on the final day, but ended up sweeping through it, knocking off the top three seeds to win the title.