Regionals Preview Part II
Breaking down the 64 teams in the 2011 Division I tournament
Gainesville Regional (McKethan Stadium)
No. 1 Florida (45-16)
Southeastern Conference AQ (27th appearance, last 2010)
The Gators are fresh off winning the SEC Tournament title for the second consecutive season as they claimed the No. 2 national seed in the 64-team NCAA tournament. Florida advanced to the postseason for the fourth consecutive year. The Gators have won five of their last six contests entering regionals. Florida is batting .306 led by Mike Zunino, who is hitting .367 with 15 home runs and 59 RBI. Florida’s pitching staff owns 2.99 ERA with the Gators’ three starters – Hudson Randall, Karsten Whitson and Brian Johnson – compiling a 24-6 record.
No. 2 Miami (36-21)
Atlantic Coast Conference At-large (40th appearance, last 2010)
The Hurricanes have advanced to the postseason for a NCAA-record 39th consecutive season. Miami will travel to Gainesville during the postseason. Last year, the Hurricanes and Gators met in the Super Regional, while Miami participated in the 2009 Gainesville Regional as well. The Hurricanes rank fourth in the ACC with a 3.28 ERA. Zeke DeVoss paces the squad offensively with a .338 batting average, 13 doubles and 32 stolen bases.
No. 3 Jacksonville (36-22)
Atlantic Sun Conference At-large (13th appearance, last 2009)
The Dolphins finished second in the A-Sun regular season race, earning their fourth NCAA appearance in the last six years. Jacksonville also traveled to the Gainesville Regional in its last postseason trip in 2009. JU leads the A-Sun with a .313 batting average highlighted by Adam Brett Walker, who is hitting a league-leading .416 along with 22 doubles, 13 home runs and 71 RBI.
No. 4 Manhattan (34-17)
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference AQ (3rd appearance, last 2006)
After cruising through the MAAC regular season with a 22-2 mark, the Jaspers rode a 13-strikeout performance by Tournament MVP Mike Giordano in a 5-1 win against Siena for their first league title since 2006. In their last NCAA Regional appearance, the Jaspers defeated No. 6 national seed Nebraska to reach the regional final. The Jaspers have five starters batting over .300, and Mark Onorati is one of the toughest in the nation to strikeout, doing it only five times in 193 at bats.
Atlanta Regional (Russ Chandler Stadium)
No. 1 Georgia Tech (40-19)
Atlantic Coast Conference At-large (27th appearance, last 2010)
The Yellow Jackets are making their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and 25th in the last 27 years. Georgia Tech is hosting a regional for the ninth time in the last 12 years, and third consecutive season. The Yellow Jackets rank second in the ACC in both batting (.304) and ERA (2.84). Kyle Wren tops the team with a .352 batting average and paces the ACC with 88 hits, while staff ace Mark Pope has compiled an 11-4 mark and ranks third in the league with a 1.77 ERA.
No. 2 Southern Miss (39-17)
Conference USA At-large (12th appearance, last 2010)
The Golden Eagles advanced to the NCAA postseason for the ninth consecutive season after sharing the C-USA regular season title with Rice. USM won its last regional trip to Atlanta in 2009 en route to the program’s first-ever College World Series appearance. The status of leading hitter Tyler Koelling (.367) remains uncertain after he suffered a hamstring injury on May 21, while two of the team’s top pitchers – Geoffrey Thomas and Jonathon Thompson – are currently serving a team suspension.
No. 3 Mississippi State (34-23)
Southeastern Conference At-large (29th appearance, last 2007)
The Bulldogs are back in the NCAA postseason for the first time since appearing in the 2007 CWS as they earned an at-large berth by winning two of their last three SEC weekend series on the road. After dropping two in the SEC Tournament, and four of its last five, the Bulldogs will be looking forward to a rematch against Southern Miss, which they defeated 5-4 earlier this season. Jarrod Parks paces the Bulldogs offensively with a .383 batting average while reliever Caleb Reed has compiled an 1.48 ERA with 11 saves.
No. 4 Austin Peay (33-22)
Ohio Valley Conference AQ (4th appearance, last 2007)
The Governors will be making their third NCAA postseason trip in the last seven seasons after sweeping through the league tournament with three victories. Junior pitcher Jeremy Dobbs garnered OVC Pitcher of the Year honors after compiling a 9-2 mark, 3.43 ERA and striking out a league-leading 85 batters. Sophomore first baseman John Hogan has driven in a team-leading 62 runs and belted 13 homers, while batting .317 on the season.
Tempe Regional (Packard Stadium)
No. 1 Arizona State (39-16)
Pac-10 Conference At-large (35th appearance, last 2010)
The Sun Devils advanced to the postseason for the 12th consecutive year after finishing in a tie for second place with Oregon State. It is the fifth consecutive year, and 21st time overall the Sun Devils are hosting a regional. ASU ranks second in the league with a .303 batting average, and is behind Arizona in most offensive categories. Joey DeMichele leads the league with a .371 batting average and a .647 slugging percentage.
No. 2 Arkansas (38-20)
Southeastern Conference At-large (24th appearance, last 2010)
Arkansas finished the regular season as the SEC Western Division champion as the Razorbacks claimed a NCAA tournament berth for the 10th consecutive year. The Razorbacks lost to ASU in last year’s Tempe Super Regional. Freshman Dominic Ficociello paces the team with a .351 batting average and 49 RBI. Sophomore right-hander DJ Baxendale heads up the pitching staff and is 9-2 with a 1.75 ERA entering the tournament.
No. 3 Charlotte (42-14)
Atlantic 10 Conference AQ (5th appearance, last 2008)
The 49ers are making their third postseason appearance in the last five years after sweeping through the A-10 Tournament for the league crown. Charlotte’s pitching staff is the heart of the squad as they rank fourth in the nation with a 2.43 ERA and fifth in Division I with a .221 opponent batting average. The 49ers have collected 11 shutouts this season, and are winning contests by 3.6 runs per game. Andrew Smith (9-4, 1.85 ERA) and Tyler Barnette (9-1, 1.96 ERA) lead the 49ers on the mound, while senior Cory Tilton tops the squad with 46 runs scored and 45 RBI.
No. 4 New Mexico (20-39)
Mountain West Conference AQ (3rd appearance, last 2010)
Despite winning just 16 regular season contests, the Lobos swept through the MWC Tournament and earned their first league title. The Lobos received an at-large berth last season as they are making back-to-back appearances for the first time in program history. New Mexico opened the season in Tempe, losing three times to Arizona State, and eventually going winless in its first eight contests. Freshman third baseman D.J. Peterson is the squad’s leading hitter with a .324 batting average and 48 RBI.
No. 1 Texas (43-15)
Big 12 Conference At-large (55th appearance, last 2010)
After sharing the Big 12 regular season title with Texas A&M, the Longhorns earned their 13th consecutive NCAA postseason berth along with the No. 7 national seed. Texas has earned a national seed six times, including the No. 1 ranking in 2004 and 2009. Texas will host a regional for the 37th time. The Longhorns pace the nation with a 2.25 ERA, headlined by ace Tyler Jungman, who is 13-0 with a Division I-leading 0.95 ERA this year.
No. 2 Texas State (40-21)
Southland Conference AQ (5th appearance, last 2009)
One of seven teams from the Lone Star State to qualify for postseason play, Texas State has advanced to NCAA Regionals for the second time in the last three years after winning the Southland Conference regular season and tournament titles. Bobcat ace Carson Smith is the league’s top pitcher, and boasts a 9-3 record and 1.98 ERA along with 124 strikeouts in 104.1 innings pitched. Offensively, junior first baseman Casey Kalenkosky gives the Bobcats a spark with a league-leading 69 RBI and 21 home runs.
No. 3 Kent State (43-15)
Mid-American Conference AQ (11th appearance, last 2010)
The Golden Flashes captured the MAC Tournament title for an unprecedented third consecutive season to earn the league’s automatic bid. It is third consecutive NCAA Regional bid and seventh in the last 11 years. Kent State boasts a conference-leading 2.56 ERA, and a starting rotation of three left-handers – Andrew Chafin (1.90 ERA), Kyle Hallock (1.91 ERA) and David Starn (1.95 ERA) – who have compiled a 26-7 record this season.
No. 4 Princeton (23-22)
Ivy League AQ (11th appearance, last 2006)
The Tigers were the first team to qualify for this year’s tournament after taking two of three games from Dartmouth in the League’s championship series. Freshman pitcher/first baseman Mike Ford was named the League’s Rookie of the Year after going 5-3 with a 4.12 ERA in 10 starts, and batting .299 as the Tigers’ third-best hitter. Princeton is 3-19 in 10 previous NCAA appearances with the Tigers’ last tournament win coming against Virginia (4-2) in the 2004 Austin Regional.
No. 1 Vanderbilt (47-10)
Southeastern Conference At-large (10th appearance, last 2010)
The Commodores are making their sixth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance after finishing the regular season as SEC tri-champions and making a run in the league tournament before falling to Florida in the championship game. Vanderbilt leads the SEC in batting (.318), ERA (2.49) and fielding percentage (.974). Jason Esposito paces the squad with 21 doubles and 51 RBI, while junior right-hander Sonny Gray ranks third in the SEC with a 2.12 ERA. Gray has compiled a 10-3 record and struck out 112 batters in 101.2 innings pitched. The Commodores are seeking their first trip to the CWS.
No. 2 Oklahoma State (35-23)
Big 12 Conference At-large (38th appearance, last 2009)
The Cowboys are making their sixth NCAA Regional appearance in the last six years after a fourth-place finish in the Big 12 race. OSU began the year 26-8, but struggled towards the end of the season, winning just four of its last 14 contests. The Cowboys rank second in the Big 12 with a .295 batting average led by the league’s Newcomer of the Year Zach Johnson, who is batting .358 with 21 doubles, 13 homers and 62 RBI. Left-hander Mike Strong is the pitching staff’s ace, and heads into tournament play with a 5-1 record and 3.61 ERA.
No. 3 Troy (42-17)
Sun Belt Conference At-Large (5th appearance, last 2007)
The Trojans won the SBC regular season title, and took two of three games in the league’s pool play tournament to earn a postseason bid for the third time in the last six years. Adam Bryant and Tyler Ray swept the SBC Player and Pitcher of the Year awards, respectively. Bryant paces the league with 84 hits, 56 runs and 63 RBI, while Ray is 11-0 with a 2.39 ERA. Troy’s pitching staff ranks second in the league with a 3.74 ERA, and the offense leads the nation with 146 doubles.
No. 4 Belmont (36-24)
Atlantic Sun Conference AQ (1st appearance)
One of three new faces in the NCAA tournament this season, the Bruins won four consecutive games in the A-Sun Tournament to claim their first-ever league title and NCAA Regional berth. The Bruins enter the tournament on a six-game winning streak as they head across town to nearby Vanderbilt to play in their first NCAA ournament. Nate Woods is Belmont’s leading hitter with a .347 batting average, 12 homers and 61 RBI, while Matt Hamann (9-1, 2.22 ERA) is the team’s top pitcher.
No. 1 Oregon State (38-17)
Pac-10 Conference At-large (12th appearance, last 2010)
The Beavers finished in a tie for second place in the Pac-10 race as they advanced to the NCAA postseason for the sixth time in the last seven years. OSU is hosting a regional for the first time since 2006 as the Beavers look to rebound after losing the last five games. The Beavers pitching staff boasts a 3.00 ERA, headlined by All-Pac-10 first-teamer Sam Gaviglo’s 11-2 record, 1.95 ERA and 102 strikeouts. Freshman Kevin Keyes also earned All-Pac-10 first team honors after batting .315 with 29 RBI.
No. 2 Creighton (44-14)
Missouri Valley Conference AQ (9th appearance, last 2007)
The Bluejays finished at the top of the MVC standings in the regular season, and captured their first MVC tournament title since 2007 to earn an automatic bid. Senior outfielder Trever Adams paces the squad offensively with a .392 batting average, 14 homers and 57 RBI, while right-hander Jonas Dufek (11-1, 2.17, 118K) claimed tournament MVP honors for posting a 2-0 record and 0.84 ERA in 10.2 innings. Creighton hosted the MVC Tournament at TD Ameritrade Park, the newly-built stadium that will be home to the College World Series.
No. 3 Georgia (31-30)
Southeastern Conference At-large (10th appearance, last 2009)
The Bulldogs return to the NCAA postseason for the first time since 2009 on the strength of a tough schedule, fourth-place finish in the ultra-competitive SEC Eastern Division, and third-place showing in the SEC Tournament. Junior right-hander Michael Palazzone is the Bulldogs top pitcher with a 10-4 record and 3.20 ERA, while sophomore reliever Tyler Maloof is among the NCAA leaders with 18 saves. The Bulldogs are also on pace to set a school record with a .974 fielding percentage.
No. 4 UALR (24-32)
Sun Belt Conference AQ (1st appearance)
The Trojans became the first No. 8 in SBC Tournament history to advance to the championship game, and win the league title after going undefeated in four games of tournament action. UALR had lost five of its last six contests leading up to the SBC Tournament. Senior Garret Graziano went 2-0 with a save and 1.59 ERA in three relief appearances, earning Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
No. 1 Cal State Fullerton (40-15)
Big West Conference AQ (33rd appearance, last 2010)
The Titans earned their league’s automatic bid by finishing three games ahead of second-place UC Irvine in the conference standings. Fullerton, which is making its 20th consecutive NCAA postseason appearance, will be hosting a regional for the 10th time since 2000. The Titans have won 10 of their last 12 games. Fullerton leads the Big West with a 2.85 ERA, and is led by brothers Noe Ramirez (8-3, 1.74 ERA) and Nick Ramirez (1.12 ERA, 16 saves) on the mound.
No. 2 Stanford (32-20)
Pac-10 Conference At-large (30th appearance, last 2010)
A fifth-place finish in the league standings, and 11 wins in their last 15 games, helped the Cardinal advance to the NCAA postseason for the second consecutive season. It is also the second year in a row Stanford will compete at the Fullerton Regional. First baseman Brian Ragira garnered Pac-10 Freshman of the Year after batting .321 with a team-leading 41 RBI. Sophomore right-hander Mark Appel (5-6, 3.02 ERA) paces a pitching staff that has posted a 3.50 ERA.
No. 3 Kansas State (36-23)
Big 12 Conference At-large (3rd appearance, last 2010)
The Wildcats collected the second-most wins in school history and finished sixth in the competitive Big 12 to earn an at-large big for the third consecutive season. Junior third baseman Jason King provides an offensive spark for Kansas State, batting .333 with 19 doubles, 10 homers and 57 RBI. Relief pitcher James Allen has contributed 17 saves while compiling a stellar 1.35 ERA in 29 appearances.
No. 4 Illinois (28-25)
Big Ten Conference AQ (9th appearance, last 2000)
The Illini won the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in the same season for the first time in school history, advancing to the NCAA postseason for the first time since 2000. Illinois has won 11 of its last 13 games and 16 of its last 20 contests. Brothers Justin and Josh Parr are two of the club’s offensive leaders, batting .333 and .306, respectively, and combining for 66 RBI.
No. 1 North Carolina (45-14)
Atlantic Coast Conference At-large (26th appearance, last 2010)
After a third-place finish in the ultra-competitive ACC Coastal Division, the Tar Heels’ strong schedule earned them a No. 3 national seed – their fourth national seed in the last five years. The Tar Heels are making their 10th consecutive trip to NCAA Regionals, and will host a regional for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Third baseman Colin Moran earned ACC Freshman of the Year after leading the league with 68 RBI while topping the team with a .343 batting average and nine home runs. Senior right-hander Patrick Johnson is 11-1 and paces the Tar Heels with a 2.56 ERA.
No. 2 Florida International (40-18-1)
Sun Belt Conference At-large (10th appearance, last 2010)
The Panthers’ runner-up finish in the SBC Tournament and first 40-win season since 2002 earned them their second consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason. It is their first back-to-back appearances since 2002. FIU led the league in both batting (.319) and ERA (3.58), and compiled a 21-3-1 record in their last 25 games. Outfielder Pablo Bermudez was selected SBC Player of the Year after leading the league with a .373 batting average, while contributing 35 RBI and 17 stolen bases.
No. 3 James Madison (40-17)
Colonial Athletic Association AQ (8th appearance, last 2008)
The Dukes are on a roll entering NCAA Regionals with a nine-game winning streak. JMU is the top scoring team in the nation with 9.2 runs per game, and are power-packed with a nation-leading .527 slugging percentage. Shortstop Jake Lowery leads the nation with 76 runs and 83 RBI, and ranks second in Division I with 22 home runs. While the Dukes’ offense reigns supreme, JMU’s pitching staff has improved, posting a 3.22 ERA and .248 opponent batting average over the last 15 games.
No. 4 Maine (32-22)
America East Conference AQ (16th appearance, last 2006)
Seeded second in the America East Tournament, the Black Bears swept through the championship to claim their first title and NCAA Regional berth since 2006. Offensively, first baseman Justin Leisenheimer plays a key role for the Black Bears with a .327 batting average, 33 runs scored, 25 RBI and a team-leading eight home runs. Junior right-hander Keith Bilodeau is the Black Bears’ ace with a 10-2 record, 2.87 ERA, 77 strikeouts and five complete games.