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College  | Story  | 6/3/2022

NCAA Regional-By-Regional Preview

Craig Cozart      Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Perfect Game

Knoxville Regional

1. Tennessee (1)
2. Georgia Tech
3. Campbell
4. Alabama State

Regional Overview: The Tennessee Volunteers have dominated the landscape of college baseball like few teams have in recent history. Once they ascended to the top of the rankings, in every poll mind you, they never relinquished that position. With 53 wins on the year and winning both the SEC regular season and conference tournament, they have showed virtually no weakness in their game. Plus, they have arguably the most ridiculous stat in the history of college baseball in that they have hit the same number of home runs as earned runs they have surrendered at 141 this year. Trey Lipscomb leads this high-octane offense with 21 home runs and 77 RBIs while Chase Dollander is a perfect 9-0 as their ace. Georgia Tech finished 4th in the ACC Coastal division and has honestly had an up and down season. The offense drives this engine hitting .324 as a team and they have outscored their opponents by over 100 runs on the season. Kevin Parada has been a one-man wrecking crew with his .356 average, 26 home runs and 85 RBIs. The Camels have continued their dominance of the Big South Conference, winning the regular season and conference tournament championships. They play a similar in your face, brash style of offense as the Vols and have an impressive 125 stolen bases so far. Zach Neto is the spark plug for this team with his .398 average, 15 home runs, 49 RBIs and 3 saves on the mound, too. Thomas Harrington is a legitimate ace, the RHP is 11-2 on the year with a 2.21 ERA and an amazing 109:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Alabama State dominated the SWAC this season with a 21-8 record and it is the fourth time in Head Coach Jose’ Vazquez’s five years at the helm that they have won at least 18 games in conference play. Corey King has had a monster year with his .367 average, 14 homers and 64 RBIs. Breon Pooler has been special on the mound and has gone 10-2 while punching out 85 batters.

Don’t Sleep On: Virtually nobody goes into Knoxville right now and comes out a winner. However, Campbell plays with a chip on their shoulder, and they have a veteran club that is more than willing to give back any trash talk that may come their way. The thing to know is that, of any mid-major out there, the Camels can match up fairly well when it comes to power arms on the mound. Harrington is a mid-90’s arm and Cade Kuehler, who hit 99 mph last week in the conference tournament, is the next man in the rotation. Plus, their bullpen is outstanding with five different arms that have secured saves this year.

Prospect Watch: The Regional is all about power, with a plethora of mid- to upper-90s arms and three of the four teams have at least 100 home runs or more on the year. So, with such a stock of elite skill sets you can expect several players names to go off the board very early in this years MLB Draft. Kevin Parada, with his offensive prowess, high end arm strength and ability behind the plate makes him a virtual lock for the 1st round. Thomas Harrington is a rare blend of power and finesse on the mound and scouts are intrigued with his four-pitch mix which should see him go off the board in the first couple rounds as well.

Statesboro Regional

1. Georgia Southern (16)
2. Notre Dame
3. Texas Tech
4. UNC Greensboro

Regional Overview: Georgia Southern, despite finishing 2nd in the Sun Belt regular season, was awarded the opportunity to host for the first time in program history. The committee placed significant value on their RPI (11), strength of schedule (34) and non-conference strength of schedule (3) to land them the 16th seed. They play very well at home with a 24-6 record and field a pristine .982 as a team on the year. Noah Ledford is a hulking presence in the middle of their order at 6-foot-1, 252 pounds and the switch-hitter is batting .333 with 16 home runs and 69 RBIs. Jay Thompson is one of the best bullpen pieces in this regional, taking the ball 35 times for his club and going 7-3 with 6 saves. The Fighting Irish finished 2nd in the ACC Atlantic and were not expected to be on the road for the first round of the NCAA Tournament with their 13th ranked RPI. This one of the most fundamentally sound, blue collar teams in the country and they play a very diverse version of team offense. Carter Putz has been right in the middle of it all batting .350 and adding in 6 home runs and 42 RBIs. Veteran LHP John M Bertrand is a bona fide ace at 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA and over a strikeout per inning with 94 on the season. Texas Tech came into 2022 with a significant amount of preseason hype and they have backed it up at times but at others, not so much. They were a consensus top-10 team and finished the season 2nd in the Big 12 but most people expected them to be hosting this time of year. Brandon Birdwell has been tremendous as the anchor of their pitching staff, going 8-3 with a 3.00 ERA and an impressive 102:27 K/BB ratio. Jace Jung is one of the most feared bats in the country, batting .340 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs. The Spartans have been on a magical run as long-time college skipper, Billy Godwin, guided his club to the SOCON title. They showed an amazing amount of toughness and resolve as they had to play 6 games in 3 days after losing game two of the tournament. Hogan Windish in the thump in the middle of a tremendous lineup and finished the regular season at .380 with 16 home runs and 60 RBIs. He has dense muscular strength and can literally hit the ball out from foul line to foul line. Alex Hoppe has been a workhorse out of the pen making 25 appearances with a 2.91 ERA while going 8-2 with 3 saves.

Don’t Sleep On: If any team has a reason to play with an edge about them, it would be Notre Dame. A season after being denied a well-deserved National Seed in 2021, the Selection Committee decided not to award them the host opportunity most thought they would get in 2022. They have one of the best defensive groups in the nation, have a pitching rotation full of veterans that know how to get outs and back that up with a stock of bullpen arms that are mid- to upper-90s with swing-and-miss breaking stuff. Not to mention, Link Jarrett runs one of the most complex offensive systems in college baseball making it very difficult for opposing teams to prepare for them. They have a knack for figuring out how to win games.

Prospect Watch: There are talented left-handed bats aplenty in this Region and ones that should garner plenty of professional interest. Pres Cavanaugh, for UNCG, had a big summer in the Cape last year and backed it up with a .342 average, 8 home runs and 56 RBIs while stealing 15 bags so far this year. Jace Jung, much like his brother, is one of the more polished, sure things with his, physicality, power and bat head feel. Noah Ledford has loud tools and could be a value pick for some organizations.

Austin Regional

1. Texas (9)
2. Louisiana Tech
3. Dallas Baptist
4. Air Force

Regional Overview: The Texas Longhorns are playing some of their best baseball at the right time of year and just made a deep run, playing in the championship game of the Big 12 Conference Tournament. While a 16 RPI and finishing 5th in league play had them as a bubble host, their talented roster has had them as a consensus top-5 preseason ranked team. They have scored almost twice as many runs as their opponents this year and are batting .315 as a team. Ivan Melendez, despite all the anticipation and focus he has received, has put together a Golden Spikes worthy season with his .406 average, 29 home runs and 87 RBIs. By the way, he has only committed one error in the field as well. On the mound, Pete Hansen is the real deal going 10-1 with a 3.01 ERA and 107 strikeouts with just 16 free passes. Louisiana Tech is club that we have had in and out of our Top 25 this year, but they won 42 games and made it to the Championship Game in the CUSA Tournament. Freshman Steele Netterville has been tremendous batting .311 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs, while Kyle Crigger may be one of the most durable and quality arms out there having made 35 appearances, going 6-1 on a 1.79 ERA and locking down 9 saves. It’s hard to know exactly what to think about Dallas Baptist. They finished 3rd in the Missouri Valley Conference, the 9th ranked conference in the nation and were only 2 games over .500 in league play. They have a quality RPI at 23 and had the No. 1 non-conference strength of schedule and were a top-10 team early in the season. Cole Moore has been a consistent performer and is batting .356 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs and Jace Grady has 10 round trippers to go with 25 stolen bases. Chandler Arnold has been a jack of all trades on the mound with 19 appearances, 7 of them starts and securing 8 saves. Air Force kind of came out of nowhere to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament after finishing 4th in the regular season at 15-15 in league play. They did have some nice wins this year, collecting victories against Texas and Kansas State for instance. No team wants to see Paul Skenes in the first round of play with his 2.42 ERA, 10-2 record and impressive 92 Ks in 81.2 IP. Jay Thompson does it all with the stick batting .344 and adding in 16 home runs, 52 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

Don’t Sleep On: The Patriots can literally beat anyone in the country on any given day. Consider this, they have series wins against NCAA Tournament teams San Diego, Maryland, who is hosting, and they also swept Southern Mississippi, who is hosting as well. Beyond that, they have mid-week victories against Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and beat TCU twice. So, how did they finish in 3rd place in what looked like a one-bid league? We all know baseball is unpredictable, Dallas Baptist has been that but when they are clicking, they dangerous too.

Prospect Watch: Ivan Melendez casts a big shadow, literally, at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and hits balls out of sight. There is probably not a more complete hitter in the nation as he hits for average, power and continues to drive in runs at an amazing rate. He defends at a high level and should move quickly through the ranks once he puts on a professional uniform. Pete Hansen has the prototypical Big League pitchers’ body and the four-pitch mix to go with it. His low-90s fastball plays up with its elite spin profile and he tunnels a curveball, slider and changeup with it. Paul Skenes is a sophomore and physically imposing at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds and has the fastball to back it up as he reaches the upper-90s. He has been a significant riser up the draft boards and should be a premium draft.

Greenville Regional

1. East Carolina (8)
2. Virginia
3. Coastal Carolina
4. Coppin State

Regional Overview: When we saw ECU in February, they surely did not look like a team that would roll into postseason on an 18-game winning streak. But that is exactly what Cliff Godwin and crew has done as they won the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles. They finished the season with the 8th best RPI and rode their hot streak and 5th ranked non-conference strength of schedule to a National Seed. They are one of the best defensive units in the nation and their pitching staff has really come into its own. Carter Spivey has been stellar out of the bullpen, with his high-80s cutter leading him to a 2.42 ERA, a 7-0 record, with 5 saves on 31 appearances. Freshman Jacob Jenkins-Cowart has been right in the heart of their uptick offensively collecting clutch hits on his way to a .327 average, 12 home runs and 52 RBIs. The Cavaliers are a team that no one wants to see wake up because they have national title caliber talent. They started the season 23-2 and were in the top-5 in every poll but since the calendar turned to April, they are only 15-15 since and were no-shows in the ACC Tournament. Jake Gelof leads an offense that hits .311 as a team and he has put together an All-American type of season at .373 with 19 homers and 74 RBIs. Brian Gursky is the anchor of the staff going 7-2 with a 4.04 ERA, accumulating 82 Ks in just 64.2 IP. Coastal Carolina honestly wasn’t on many people’s radars until the second half of the season when they really turned things on. They closed the regular season winning 16-of-20 and ended the season with the 2nd best non-conference strength of schedule. They finally made their way into our Top 25 in the last two weeks and finished 3rd in the ultra competitive Sun Belt Conference. Two seniors, Tyler Johnson and Reid VanScoter, really set the tone. Johnson is batting .366 with 17 home runs and 56 RBI while VanScoter went 9-2 with a 3.06 ERA. Coppin State won its first MEAC title since 1995 in route to their NCAA Tournament berth. While their RPI is 284, they play an exciting version of offense and pressure opponents with their foot speed having stolen 117 bases in 2022. They also have one of the most talented two-way players in the nation in Jordan Hamberg. The 6-1/190 LHP went 6-2 with a 4.04 ERA as the ace of the staff, punching out 86 hitters in his 62.1 IP. He also paced the team with a .355 average, hitting 8 home runs, driving in 34 runs and swiping 11 bags.

Don’t Sleep On: UVA is very familiar with the surroundings of Clark-Leclair Stadium and with the powerful lineup they put on the field, the friendly outfield dimensions could really get their offense going. Brian O’Connor is notorious for getting his clubs to play their best ball when it matters the most. So, with their quality and depth on the mound and stellar team defense, don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers make another trip to Omaha. They are that good, now they just need to play like it.

Prospect Watch: Josh Grosz has had mixed results for the Pirates this year but as a sophomore has time to refine his delivery and production. He has started 9 games and made a total of 21 appearances, striking out 54 in 52.0 IP. He has a Big-League physique, a FB that reaches the mid-90’s and a wipeout low-80’s slider. Nate Savino is a well-known commodity to the scouting community and as a LHP that stands 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he remains intriguing. While his overall stuff has not trended upward, with a fastball in the low-90s and a breaking ball with good depth, he has gone down the pitchability path with his career. He adds and subtracts and fills up the zone being completely content with soft contact but generates swing and miss when needed. He is 6-3 on the year with a 4.02 ERA, collecting 75 Ks in 71.2 IP.

College Station Regional

1. Texas A&M (5)
2. TCU
3. Louisiana
4. Oral Roberts

Regional Overview: Texas A&M has been one of the best stories in college baseball this year, as Jim Schlossnagle and staff have molded their team into the second-best team in the SEC. They won the SEC West and went 2-1 in the SEC Conference Tournament. Even with a 22 RPI and a non-conference strength of schedule of 136, they were awarded a host due to their prominence in league play. Two graduates were instrumental in the turnaround, Dylan Rock and Jacob Palisch. Rock batted .326 with 17 homers, 54 RBIs and swiped 16 bags. Palisch has handled most of the high leverage situations out of the bullpen and is 4-3 with 4 saves in 24 appearances, carrying a 2.93 ERA and an impressive 54:8 K/BB ratio. The Horned Frogs won the Big 12 Regular Season Championship and most thought they would be hosting a regional but their 36 RPI and 125 non-conference strength of schedule was too much to overcome. They are a dangerous club, play with high energy and pressure opposing defenses with 91 stolen bases on the year. Tommy Sacco is a tremendous offensive player as seen from his .350 BA, 12 home runs, 51 RBIs and 17 bags. Marcelo Perez is a premium arm and leads the team with a 6-3 record and holds opponents to a .212 OBA. The Ragin’ Cajuns were not an NCAA Tournament team without making the run through the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and winning the automatic bid. However, they are an outstanding club that has gotten better over the course of the year and challenged themselves with the 17th best non-conference schedule in the nation. This team has a nice blend of power and speed as they have stolen 134 bases as a team. On top of that, they have quality arms and length in the bullpen where 5 different arms have secured saves. Bo Bonds has been one of those reliable arms out of the pen going 4-3 with 3.04 in 22 appearances punching out 76 batters in 50.1 IP. Carson Roccaforte is one of the more exciting LHH talents in the game batting .379 with 16 homers, 68 RBIs and an impressive 23 stolen bases. Oral Roberts had a nice regular season that ended with them winning the Summit League Conference Tournament after finishing 2nd in the regular season. They are built on pitching and defense only allowing a .243 OBA, with a 3:1 K/BB ratio as a staff and have only surrendered 28 stolen bases all year. Legend Smith has anchored the rotation with a 7-4 record, 2.41 ERA and 92 Ks in 78.1 IP, with a first name like that you have to be good. Jackson Loftin has put together a gigantic regular season batting .348 with 10 strikeouts, 54 RBIs and has stolen 25 bags.

Don’t Sleep On: The potential for the Texas A&M versus TCU matchup. As most people know, Jim Schlossnagle was the head coach at TCU for 17 years before taking on the challenge in College Station. The Aggies have returned to national prominence well ahead of schedule, a direct reflection on Schlossnagle and his staff. However, TCU can play with anyone, and this matchup should be electric.

Prospect Watch: Marcelo Perez has an electric arm for TCU, capable of producing mid-90s velocity. He also possesses a wipeout slider that is a real swing-and-miss pitch. Walks have been a bit of a concern but when he puts it all together, he can be as good as anyone around the country. Carson Roccaforte is a premium athlete with the type of left-handed swing and foot speed that scouts covet. His present physicality and blend of power and speed should drive him up the draft boards next season.

Louisville Regional

1. Louisville (12)
2. Oregon
3. Michigan
4. Southeast Missouri State

Regional Overview: It has almost become a foregone conclusion that the Louisville Cardinals will annually host at least the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They won the Atlantic Division of the ACC and navigated the 21st toughest schedule in the nation to secure home field advantage. One of the most explosive offensive clubs around, they put up runs in bunches and slug .513 as a team. They also pressure opponents with good foot speed throughout and have swiped almost 100 bags. Dalton Rushing does much of the heavy lifting for the Cardinals with his .310 average, 21 home runs and 58 RBIs. The pitching has been a concern this year but Michael Prosecky, with his 10 saves and 2.84 ERA, gives them some much-needed security at the end of the game. The Ducks have been one of the steadier teams in 2022 as they have navigated the 6th toughest schedule in the nation. The offense has led the way to their 4th place regular season finish in the Pac 12, with a .306 team average. Anthony Hall is batting .321 adding in 14 home runs and 50 RBIs this year. They are a well-rounded club with quality and depth on the mound and are one of the better defensive units too. Kolby Somers is their go to guy on the bump, he is 5-3 with 9 saves in 25 appearances with a solid 2.90 ERA. The Wolverines caught fire at the right time, as they started the season 14-14 through the middle of April but ran the gauntlet in the Big 10 Conference Tournament. They had to beat Maryland, Iowa and Rutgers to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament since they finished 5th in the regular season. They seemed to have figured out their pitching issues that plagued them much of the year by using their best guys in a variety of roles. Chase Allen is a good example, going 7-2 with 3 saves in his 24 appearances. The offense was solid with a .294 BA and Clark Elliott led the way with a .344 BA, 14 homers, 66 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. Southeast Missouri finished the regular season in 2nd place in the Ohio Valley Conference and had to win three straight elimination games to secure the OVC Conference Tournament crown. The middle of their lineup is difficult to deal with as it is loaded with hitters that can hit the long ball, leg out a single or steal a bag. Andrew Keck is a physical middle of the order stick batting .330 with 17 homers, 67 RBI and 11 bags. Kyle Miller is one of the best bullpen arms in the nation, going 8-4 with 6 saves and an ERA of 2.91 on the year.

Don’t Sleep On: The Ducks are just grinders and don’t necessarily have any one area statistically that jumps off the page. However, you can’t underestimate the quality of their schedule this season and how they have methodically won 35 games. They won’t beat themselves and just stay in position to capitalize on opportunities created by their opponents.

Prospect Watch: This regional is loaded with talented offensive players that potentially bring a 5-tool skill set to the field. Clark Elliott has a chance to go off the board on day 1 in this years MLB Draft with his quick hands, excellent power and defensive prowess. His plate discipline, bat to ball skills and foot speed make him a complete player. Likewise, Andrew Keck is a physical 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with tremendous agility and surprising foot speed for a primary position catcher. Offensive backstops are a rare breed and could be Keck’s ticket to the next level.

Gainesville Regional

1. Florida (13)
2. Oklahoma
3. Liberty
4. Central Michigan

Regional Overview: The Florida Gators have come a long way since February and are playing some of the best baseball of any club in the field. Finishing the regular season in a tie for 2nd in the SEC East, they ended up going 4-2 in Hoover and lost in the SEC Conference Tournament championship game. This along with their 8th ranked strength of schedule warranted them being the 13 seed as a host. They have been good offensively down the stretch, have hit 110 homers and have fielded an excellent .980 as a unit. Brandon Sproat has emerged as the staff ace going 8-4 with a 3.59 ERA, giving his team 82.2 IP so far. Wyatt Langford came on like wildfire in the second half and is hitting .363 with 23 home runs and an almost 1:1 K/BB ration with the stick. The Sooners are arguably the hottest team in the nation having just gone 4-0 to win the Big 12 Conference Tournament crown. We must wonder if the Selection Committee had waited another hour before awarding host sights whether Oklahoma would have been playing at home this weekend. On the strength of an offense that hit .297 as a team and stole 135 bases, they finished in a tie for 2nd in the Big 12 regular season. Trevin Michael is a major piece out of the bullpen going 4-1 with 9 saves on a 3.46 ERA in 24 appearances and carrying a 76:17 K/BB ratio. Peyton Graham is an example of this team's blend offensively as he is hitting .339 with 16 home runs, 60 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. Central Michigan won 42 games this spring and won the MAAC Conference Tournament to secure their postseason bid. They have a deep, quality pitching staff that has accumulated more than 500 Ks and have 6 different arms that have locked down a save this year. Andrew Taylor leads the charge, going 8-3 with a 3.19 ERA and an amazing 117:26 K/BB ratio. Meanwhile, Jakob Marsee sets the tone with the stick, batting .344 with 65 RBIs and 18 stolen bags.

Don’t Sleep On: The Oklahoma Sooners in reality should be hosting. Every other Power 5 team that finished the regular season in the top-two, won the conference tournament, and had an RPI inside 20 is doing so. The Selection Committee didn’t do the Gators any favors by sending this team to Gainesville. They are talented, explosive and playing as well as any club around right now.

Prospect Watch: Wyatt Langford has given the Gators new life at the top of the lineup. At 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, the sophomore is densely muscular and built more like a catcher, but he moves well and covers significant ground in the outfield. His diversity with the glove and power/speed combination is going to make him a close follow in the 2023 MLB Draft. Also, a sophomore, Peyton Graham is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound infielder that is playing well at SS this year and it remains to be seen if he can stick there at the next level. He is wiry strong with long levers and creates a tremendous amount of leverage with the stick. Clubs will have to decide where he fits with the glove but there is no doubting the offensive skill set.

Blacksburg Regional

1. Virginia Tech (4)
2. Gonzaga
3. Columbia
4. Wright State

Regional Overview: The Hokies have had the best season in program history as they won the ACC Regular Season outright and secured the No. 4 National Seed. Their offense is one of the best in the nation as they bat .308 as a team with 130 doubles, 110 home runs and they average 8 runs per game. The pitching has been much better than expected with a quality rotation and good length in the bullpen. Kiernan Higgins is the cornerstone of the bullpen with his 1.93 ERA, 3-0 record and 5 saves. Jack Hurley is the perfect example of what this offense has to offer with his slash line of .379/13/49 and 10 bags. Gonzaga is a team we had playing deep into the postseason when we did our preseason outlook. They have not disappointed and looked like they would be a first round host, but their RPI just didn’t hold up, finishing at 27. Make no mistake, this is a quality and dangerous club built on one of the best pitching staffs in the nation. They have a 3.95 team ERA, have thrown 6 shutouts on the year and have an elite closer. Michael Spellacy has secured over one-third of their wins this year, going 3-1 with 12 saves with a 2.19 ERA. Savier Pinales is a talented switch-hitter who is hitting .300 with 4 home runs and swiping 15 bags. Columbia will be making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance but its first since 2018. They finished 17-4 in the Ivy League, tied with Penn for 1st place and beat them 2-of-3 in the championship series to punch their ticket. They have done an excellent job of building their RPI to 54 despite the challenges they face in the northeast. They can really hit, batting .303 as a team with an impressive .499 slugging percentage. Hayden Schott led the way with the bat, hitting .331 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs. Saajan May is a weapon out of the 'pen, going 5-0 with a save in 14 relief appearances. Wright State continues their dominance of the Horizon League as they won the regular season and tournament championships. This is the second consecutive year they have won the league and have done it on the strength of their sticks. Gehrig Anglin is a physical bat hitting .289 with 16 round trippers, 48 RBIs and 11 bags. While Jay Luikart is one of the most talented two-way athletes in the nation. He is batting .297 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs while going 4-1 with 7 saves and a 1.93 ERA.

Don’t Sleep On: The matchup in this region is going to come down to VT’s bats against Gonzaga’s arms. The Bulldogs can really pitch, they can matchup with their bullpen but there are few offenses like the Hokies. If there is a team capable of going into Blacksburg and upsetting the home crowd, Gonzaga would be one of the few.

Prospect Watch: Jack Hurley is a premium talent with slashing, fast twitch actions. He is a plus defender, has excellent barrel awareness, hits for power already and there is still projection left to him. He is a well-known prospect already and with a touch more physicality could find his way into the top of the 2023 draft. Michael Spellacy isn’t your prototypical RHP at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, but there is deception to his low-90s fastball and his three-pitch mix allows him to navigate high leverage situations with great proficiency. He is durable and could be a value pick for an organization that values experienced back end of the bullpen guys.

-Craig Cozart

Stanford Regional

1. Stanford (2)
2. Texas State
3. UC Santa Barbara
4. Binghamton

Regional Overview: Stanford finished the season on fire, winning the Pac 12 outright during the regular season and downing Oregon State last weekend to capture the tournament title and the automatic qualifier in the process. Texas State is a formidable two seed but they’ll have to travel all the way to Stanford for this weekend. We had Santa Barbara as a top fifteen team in the country but their RPI suffered due to the weakness of the Big West, which the Gauchos dominated to the tune of a 27-3 mark in conference play. Binghamton was one of the weaker four seeds in the tournament, going just 22-28 during the regular season but capturing the America East tournament to end the season.

Don’t Sleep On: The Gauchos. As mentioned earlier, UC Santa Barbara was really dominant during conference play and we believe they’re good enough to host. They’ll have to take on Texas State in the first game, admittedly a tough opponent. All three weekend starters have an ERA at 3.35 or below and it’ll likely be Friday night ace Cory Lewis who gets the ball first against the Bobcats. They’re a team that’s similarly built to Stanford but they’ll first have to get past Texas State to get their shot at the No. 2 overall seed.

Prospect Watch: Brock Jones came in as a potential first round pick but strikeout issues have likely dropped him to the second or third round range as of now. Stanford left-hander Quinn Matthews has really solid stuff from the left side while Cory Lewis and Jordan Sprinkle of UC Santa Barbara are likely top five rounds prospects at this point. Texas State right-hander Levi Wells highlights the 2023 crop here while Stanford freshman Braden Montgomery looks like a top ten pick for 2024.

College Park Regional

1. Maryland (15)
2. Wake Forest
3. UConn
4. LIU

Regional Overview: Many thought Maryland would have a top eight seed after cruising through the Big Ten and winning the regular season title but their slip up in the conference tournament dropped them to the No. 15 overall seed. The Terps are extremely deep, featuring a good blend of pitching depth along with boppers in the lineup. Expect to see some fireworks this weekend as both Maryland and two-seed Wake Forest rank in the top ten in both scoring and home runs. Chris Alleyne leads the Terps in terms of offense with over twenty home runs and steals on the year while Brendan Tinsman leads the way for Wake with 23 bombs of his own. UConn scuffled a bit to end the season, getting swept by Georgetown before winning the conference tournament while LIU won the automatic qualifier from the Northeast Conference.

Don’t Sleep On: Rake Forest. Tinsman has been noted but really it’s been the entire starting nine that’s produced for the Demon Deacons this season, from veterans like Michael Turconi and Adam Cecere to new faces like Nick Kurtz and Tommy Hawke. Rhett Lowder is a true Friday night ace as he came away with ACC Pitcher of the Year honors and Brock Wilken can be one of the most dangerous hitters in the country if he’s hot.

Prospect Watch: Ryan Ramsey and Nick Dean are day two candidates on the mound for Maryland while pick any junior in both their and Wake’s lineup and you’ll likely have a late draft prospect. UConn has some intriguing veterans like Erik Stock and Friday starter Austin Peterson, while the injured Reggie Crawford is probably the highest drafted prospect out of this Regional. Wake has a ton for 2023 with Brock Wilken and Rhett Lowder leading the way while Maryland starter Jason Savacool is also a high follow for 2023.

Chapel Hill Regional

1. North Carolina (10)
2. Georgia
3. VCU
4. Hofstra

Regional Overview: North Carolina’s run over the last month of the regular season is reminiscent of North Carolina State’s run last season that ended with them in the final four of the College World Series. They’ve got a very balanced ball club with a good blend of veterans and youth. Danny Serretti led the team in hitting while Angel Zarate was mister consistent but the star power here is with Vance Honeycutt. The true freshman has electric tools as he hit 21 home runs and stole 28 bags this year. Max Carlson has blossomed into a Friday night ace while Brandon Schaeffer and Davis Palermo have been extremely reliable. Georgia scuffled late and will be the two seed here while VCU won the A-10 tournament and will have one of the best players on their roster in Tyler Locklear. Hofstra won the Colonial tournament and this will be their first ever appearance in the Field of 64.

Don’t Sleep On: VCU. The Rams didn’t win the conference outright, Davidson won the regular season title, but VCU ran through the conference tournament to take the automatic qualifier. Tyler Locklear is likely the best draft prospect in the Regional and also one of the best hitters in the country as he’s got a batting average over .400 with nearly three times as many free passes, hit by pitches and walks, as strikeouts. They’ve got relievers with strikeout stuff like Nolan Wilson and others who can get the pitching staff out of jams but this offense is going to be fun to watch all weekend.

Prospect Watch: We’ve talked about Locklear at length but Jonathan Cannon of Georgia also figures to be a high draft pick as he’s been one of the best pitchers in the SEC this season. Georgia also has some veteran bats like the Tate brothers while UNC’s bats should also garner some attention. Jaden Woods of Georgia and Max Carlson of North Carolina highlight some high 2023 names while the aforementioned Vance Honeycutt looks like a premier pick in 2024.

Stillwater Regional

1. Oklahoma State (7)
2. Arkansas
3. Grand Canyon
4. Missouri State

Regional Overview: Oklahoma State is the highest-seeded Big 12 team despite not winning the regular season title nor the conference tournament. The Cowboys have been in the top ten all season long, however, and have a scary roster. Justin Campbell is one of the best pitchers in the country and it will be interesting to see if Oklahoma State holds him for the second game or if they throw their ace against Missouri State. Their pitching has strikeout stuff and they’ve got enormous raw power between Nolan McLean and Griffin Doersching. Arkansas faltered in the SEC tournament and they’ll head on the road to Stillwater. The Razorbacks have a Friday night ace in Connor Noland though they only have one hitter above .300 heading into the postseason, transfer Chris Lanzilli. Grand Canyon was one of the last teams in but they were around the top 25 all season and feature star shortstop Jacob Wilson. Missouri State won the automatic qualifier from the Missouri Valley after a very competitive regular season.

Don’t Sleep On: The Lopes. Grand Canyon was in the backend of the top 25 for a good chunk of the season and have some impressive non-conference wins and finished with a top 10 non-conference strength of schedule. Jacob Wilson has struck out just 7 (!!) times all season and looks like a potential first-rounder next year while Juan Colato, Elijah Buries, and Tayler Aguilar all had good seasons. Daniel Avitia was both the WAC freshman and pitcher of the year and his first start will be a chance to get right into the winner’s bracket for a GCU team that is extremely dangerous.

Prospect Watch: There is a lot of high end talent here starting with Oklahoma State and Justin Campbell. Victor Mederos, Bryce Osmond, and Trevor Martin are all solid prospects while Arkansas’ Cayden Wallace, Jalen Battles, and Robert Moore are all potential top five rounds prospects. GCU closer Vince Reilly is a name as is Missouri State’s Dakota Kotowski. Wilson highlights the 2023 crop along with Arkansas right-hander Jaxon Wiggins while the 2024 class features Avitia and the Arkansas trio of Hagen Smith, Peyton Stovall, and Brady Tygart.

Coral Gables Regional

1. Miami (6)
2. Arizona
3. Ole Miss
4. Canisius

Regional Overview: This has the potential to be a high offensive Regional starting with the host Miami, who’s been one of the most consistent teams in the ACC this season. Miami’s middle of the lineup has 38 home runs between Jacob Burke, Yohandy Morales, and Max Romero and they’ve got home run power all throughout the lineup. Carson Palmquist is a legitimate ace and whoever sees him first will be in trouble from an offensive standpoint while they have a couple of dynamic relievers in Alex MacFarlane and Andrew Walters. Arizona has one of the top draft prospects in the country in Daniel Susac and their best starter is Garrett Irvin who led the team in innings pitched with 89.1. Ole Miss was one of the last teams in but they were a top five team at one point and feature star shortstop Jacob Gonzalez. Canisius won the MAAC tournament and they have MAAC Player of the Year Max Grant who hit over .400 and ace Matt Duffy.

Don’t Sleep On: Ole Miss. The Rebels have been, frankly, aggravating to watch at points this season but that’s just because of the amount of talent on the roster. Gonzalez is a left-handed hitting shortstop with juice while captain Tim Elko had nineteen home runs this season and Kemp Alderman has been an absolute spark since starting every day. TJ McCants and Peyton Chatagnier have struggled this season but Dylan DeLucia has emerged as Friday night ace. Their matchup against Arizona will be one to watch for sure but they’ve got the talent to run the table.

Prospect Watch: Susac is likely the best draft prospect in the Regional but Palmquist is a likely day one pick as well. Andrew Walters will likely be one of the first relievers off the board due to his insane numbers and fastball quality while Alex MacFarlane won’t be far behind him. Hayden Dunhurst of Ole Miss has only been okay offensively but he’s a very good defender behind the plate and offers a high floor. 2023 potential day one names to watch include Arizona’s Chase Davis, Miami’s Yohandy Morales, and Ole Miss’ Jacob Gonzalez.

Hattiesburg Regional

1. Southern Miss (11)
2. LSU
3. Kennesaw State
4. Army

Regional Overview: Southern Miss didn’t win the Conference USA tournament title but they were one of the best teams in the country throughout the regular season. The Golden Eagles can really pitch, finishing second in the country in terms of staff ERA with a mark of 3.16. Tanner Hall is a true Friday night ace and walked away with CUSA Pitcher of the Year. All three weekend starters had ERAs under 3.00 on the season including Hurston Waldrep who has some of the best pure stuff in the country. Landon Harper racked up eleven saves while Dalton Rogers is one of the more unhittable pitchers in the country. LSU is the two seed here as they’ll make for a good potential matchup with Southern Miss as they’ve got an exciting offense. Jacob Berry and Dylan Crews are two of the best hitters in the country and they’ll be looking to do damage. Kennesaw State won the ASUN conference tournament and they’ll be led by senior transfer Josh Hatcher. Army won the Patriot league and Connelly Early was the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year.

Don’t Sleep On: LSU. The Tigers have the star power on the offensive side to potentially turn this into a long weekend for their opponents. Berry, who had been battling a hand injury, is hitting .380 with power while Crews looks like a potential 1:1 pick next year. The offense can be hot and cold at times, but there’s talent with hitters like Tre’ Morgan and Cade Doughty both look like high draft picks. There’s no question they’ll need the pitching to step up and if LSU wants to win the Regional look for a strong start from senior Ma’Khail Hilliard.

Prospect Watch: Berry and Doughty are both likely day one picks this year, with Berry almost being a lock for the first round at this point. Dalton Rogers looks like an early day two pick for Southern Miss while Slade Wilks and Dustin Dickerson are potential draftees. Kennesaw’s Josh Hatcher could be a priority senior sign. For 2023, Crews looks like a lock for the first round and LSU also has Tre’ Morgan and shortstop Jordan Thompson. Hurston Waldrep and Tanner Hall could also be high selections next year.

Auburn Regional

1. Auburn (14)
3. Florida State
4. Southeastern Louisiana

Regional Overview: Auburn was a bit of a surprise host and they’ve got a very competitive field for this weekend in Auburn. The Tigers were on the top half of the SEC for most of the season and they have the SEC Co-Player of the Year in Sonny DiChiara. Sonny D has been crushing the ball since he came over from Samford and was hitting around .400 for most of the season and finished with eighteen home runs. The Tigers finished in the top 50 in terms of team ERA and it’s been more of a committee approach outside of Joseph Gonzalez who definitely took a step forward with an ERA of just 2.74. UCLA travels east to Auburn as the two seed in this Regional and the Bruins have been plagued by inconsistency. There’s no doubting the talent here, particularly with their freshman class, but they’ll have to play consistently. The same is true with Florida State, one of the last four in, as their pitching can matchup with anyone in the country but the offense has been maddeningly inconsistent. Southeastern Louisiana won the Southland tournament and they’re led by Preston Faulkner who was the tournament MVP and has 17 home runs.

Don’t Sleep On: The Noles. Florida State is in the top 20 in terms of staff ERA and have two of the best starters in the country with Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart. Messick was the ACC Pitcher of the Year last year and is tied for third in the nation in strikeouts with 140 and Messick can absolutely go deep into games. Hubbart is a talented left-hander too while reliever Wyatt Crowell has been dominant in games at times. If they’re to win the Regional they’ll have to hit enough but they have the pitching depth and talent here to suffocate teams for four to five games.

Prospect Watch: DiChiara is likely to go somewhere in the top five rounds after his historic season while Messick and Hubbart are likely day one targets more toward the comp or second round in terms of the draft. Injured starter Jake Brooks and Michael Curialle should go well for UCLA and there’s some intriguing underclass talent here. Crowell, Ross Dunn, Jackson Baumeister, and Carson Montgomery are all strong follows for 2023 for the Noles, as is Joseph Gonzalez and Cole Foster for Auburn while UCLA’s 2024 class has the potential to be historic, led by the trio of Cody Schrier, Thatcher Hurd, and Gage Jump.

Corvallis Regional

1. Oregon State (3)
2. Vanderbilt
3. San Diego
4. New Mexico State

Regional Overview: In terms of the overall resume from circuit to circuit, the only team more consistent than the Beavers are the No. 1 overall seed Tennessee Volunteers. Oregon State has a ton of talent but the highlight here is Pac 12 Pitcher of the Year Cooper Hjerpe. The southpaw had 140 strikeouts in 89 innings with a WHIP well under 1.00 and has blossomed into a probable first round pick. The Beavers also lead the country in terms of fielding percentage and are a super disciplined team. They also have the Pac 12 Player of the Year in Jacob Melton who had 15 home runs and hit .375 during the regular season. The Beavers look like a national title team but they’ll have to get through Vanderbilt as the two seed. Vandy is dangerous as the Commodores have struggled at times this year but have the pitching talent to go on a run. San Diego won the WCC tournament and they have one of the best pitchers in the Regional in left-hander Brycen Mautz. New Mexico State won the WAC conference tournament but finished the season with a 24-32 record.

Don’t Sleep On: The Torreros. San Diego was a very good team all season long, appearing in the rankings early in the season and finishing with an RPI in the top 50. Mautz is the headliner here on the pitching side as he can strikeout a ton of hitters and only allowed 21 free passes in over 80 innings. Garrett Rennie was also strong for USD down the stretch and they also have WCC Player of the Year Caleb Ricketts who hit well over .350 with sixteen home runs on the season. It'll likely be Mautz against Vanderbilt but if they can win game one they’ll find themselves in a good spot heading into the weekend.

Prospect Watch: Hjerpe is the headliner here as potentially the first college arm off the board this year. Jacob Melton shouldn’t be far behind him as will be shortstop Justin Boyd. Vanderbilt has Chris McElvain and relievers Nick Maldonado and Thomas Schultz along with hitters Spencer Jones and Dominic Keegan. Mautz could go as high as day one while Ricketts will also be in a good spot. 2023 is loaded here between Enrique Bradfield Jr., Patrick Reilly, and Christian Little for Vanderbilt while Oregon State’s Travis Bazzana looks like a potential early round pick in 2024.

-Vinnie Cervino