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Aaron Fitt | D1Baseball.com | June 3, 2021

2021 NCAA baseball tournament preview: Fort Worth Regional

The college baseball freshmen who've made the biggest impact in 2021

The Field

Fresh off the Big 12 tournament title, TCU faces a strong test in the Fort Worth Regional, welcoming perennial power Oregon State, regional mainstay Dallas Baptist, and resilient McNeese.

1. TCU: Regular Season Results | Team Stats and Leaders
2. Oregon State: Regular Season Results | Team Stats and Leaders
3. Dallas Baptist: Regular Season Results | Team Stats and Leaders
4. McNeese: Regular Season Results | Team Stats and Leaders

Fort Worth Regional Superlatives

Most Exciting Player: Jackson Glenn, 2B, Dallas Baptist.

The Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year does it all for DBU, hitting .364/.438/.738 with 10 homers, 16 doubles and 13 stolen bases. He can change the game with his power, speed or hit tool.

Best Hitter: Glenn.

But honorable mention goes to TCU outfielder Phillip Sikes (.337/.438/.639) and McNeese veteran Clayton Rasbeary (.350/.408/.608).

Best Defensive Player: Tommy Sacco, SS, TCU.

An instinctive, sure-handed playmaker with an accurate arm, Sacco is a fixture in the TCU lineup for his glove work.

TOURNAMENT FAQ: Conference champ tracker | Regional sites | How the CWS works

Best Pitcher: Will Dion, RHP, McNeese.

The Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, Dion (9-4, 2.81 with a 106-16 K-BB mark in 89.2 IP) is an elite strike-thrower who doesn’t overpower hitters with velocity but keeps them off balance with his advanced command of a four-pitch repertoire.

X-Factor: Kevin Abel, RHP, Oregon State.

We’ve all seen what Abel is capable of when he’s at his very best, and he secured his OSU legend with his College World Series heroics two years ago. He hasn’t had his best velocity or control over the course of this spring, but he’s still gutted out a strong campaign, and he’s coming off eight innings of one-run ball at Stanford. If he can pitch OSU into the winners’ bracket in a tough matchup against DBU’s Dominic Hamel, it will change the complexion of this regional.

Best Starting Rotation: Oregon State.

The trio of Abel, deceptive lefthander Cooper Hjerpe and power-armed righty Jake Pfennigs stands as the best in this field. All three are capable of dominating when they’re on, and they’ve been consistent performers over the course of the spring, all of them sporting ERAs in the 3s.

Best Bullpen: Oregon State.

You can take your pick of the top three seeds for this category, as all three bullpens are strengths. But the Jake Mulholland/Will Frisch/Bryant Salgao-led Beaver bullpen gets the slight nod.

MORE: Complete coverage of the DI baseball championship | Bracket 

Best Offensive Team: TCU.

Both the Horned Frogs and Patriots rank among the nation’s top dozen scoring offenses, but the Frogs have done it against better pitching. Few lineups in the country can compare with TCU’s veteran maturity and balance. Easy outs are not easy to come by against the Frogs.

Best Defensive Team: Oregon State.

Elite defense is a hallmark of Oregon State’s elite program, and this bunch of Beavers is no exception. OSU ranks fifth nationally with a .983 fielding percentage. It isn’t as flashy as the 2018 OSU defense, but it is exceptionally reliable.

No. 1 Seed Win Probability (1-10): 5.

TCU is clearly the favorite after putting together a top-eight-seed resumé against a grueling schedule, both in and out of conference. But the Frogs look a little vulnerable on the mound, and Oregon State can really pitch and defend, though its offense has struggled a bit down the stretch. Dallas Baptist looks like a serious threat to make a run in this regional, as the Patriots are loaded with talent and playing very well at the right time. And McNeese is playing with house money after grinding its way through an exceptionally trying 10 months.

This article first appeared on D1Baseball.com and continues there with a team-by-team breakdown of every regional.

For more stories like this one, you can use coupon code NCAA2021 to get a 20 percent discount for an annual subscription to DIBaseball.com or D1Softball.com.

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Division I
Baseball Championship
June 17 - 26/27, 2022
TD Ameritrade Park | Omaha, NE

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