Ole Miss was expected to take a step back this season, but has done the opposite of that, taking a big step forward by winning the SEC West Division and competing for a top-eight national seed last week. The Rebels have one of the nation’s more balanced offensive lineups, entering the weekend with a .303 batting average. Will Allen leads the offense with a .352 batting average, seven homers and 58 RBIs, while athletic outfielder Auston Bousfield took a massive step forward this season, hitting .349 with five homers and 46 RBIs, and just 21 strikeouts. Young J.B. Woodman (.328) and Errol Robinson (.315) are electric, while first baseman Sikes Orvis is a big-time power producer with 12 homers and 44 RBIs … On the mound, righthanded pitcher Chris Ellis (2.17) has been terrific, sitting 91-94 with his fastball and also possessing a quality upper-70s curveball. Meanwhile, lefthander Christian Trent (2.44) is a consistent arm with good overall stuff, including a fastball in the upper-80s, low-90s, while Sam Smith (3.58) is a tough and experienced arm to finish out the rotation. In the bullpen, hard-throwing Josh Laxer has evolved into an elite reliever, while Aaron Greenwood (1.96), Scott Weathersby (2.51) and Wyatt Short (2.92) are stable options out of the bullpen.
Washington is one of the great stories in college baseball this season. The Huskies were picked to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings this spring, but reversed the trend with an exceptional campaign, finishing mere games out of first place behind Oregon State, the top national seed in the postseason field. UW possesses a solid three-man rotation with RHP Tyler Davis and RHP Jeff Brigham leading the way. Davis is the ultimate strike thrower, walking just 15 batters and tallying a 1.75 ERA in 97 2/3 innings, while Brigham is a talented righty who can get up to 95 on the radar gun, and who has a 2.93 ERA in 83 innings. Jared Fisher (4.17) is another quality starter for the Huskies, while the bullpen is guided by Troy Rallings (2.18), who has a wipeout slider, Will Ballowe (2.39), Brandon Choate (2.60) and Trevor Dunlap (3.62) … Offensively, the Huskies have enjoyed an outstanding rebound campaign from Brian Wolfe, who leads the team with a .361 batting average, five homers and 35 RBIs, while imposing Trevor Mitsui is hitting .335 with five homers and 32 RBIs. Austin Rei is a terrific defender behind the plate, and also is hitting .329 with two homers and 27 RBIs, while outfielder Braden Bishop is versatile. Bishop is hitting .296 and is 19-for-21 in stolen bases.
Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall has done one of his best coaching jobs this season. Even with some talented pitchers out this season because of injuries, the Yellow Jackets still experienced success and won the ACC tournament last week. The Jackets typically are known for their explosive offensive lineups. And though this year’s lineup certainly isn’t bad, it’s also not very flashy. Junior outfielder Daniel Spingola leads the offense with a .328 batting average, three homers and 36 RBIs, while he also possesses good speed. Meanwhile, the same can be said for Mott Hyde, who has good speed to go with a .289 average, four homers and 35 RBIs. Matt Gonzalez (.314) and Thomas Smith (.304) also are key contributors, while young Connor Justus is more productive than his .265 batting average indicates … From a pitching standpoint, Josh Heddinger has developed into a steady starting pitcher with a 3.64 ERA in 76 2/3 innings, while lefthanded pitcher Devin Stanton (2.27) and Ben Parr (2.74) are consistent arms. Dusty Isaacs (1.81) and Sam Clay (1.33) headline a very good one-two punch out of the bullpen.
Jacksonville State put together an impressive regular season campaign, and hopes to throw a wrench into some team’s plans in the Oxford Regional. JSU ace righthanded pitcher Zach Fowler will get the starting nod in the opener, and in addition to a 3.58 ERA in 88 innings, he also sits in the low-90s with his fastball. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks have a quality bullpen with Travis Stout leading the way. Stout has appeared in 26 contests, recorded 15 saves and has a 1.17 ERA in 38 1/3 innings of work … Offensively, the Gamecocks have one of the best in the business in leading hitter Griff Gordon. Everything about him is impressive. Besides leading the team with a .376 batting average, Gordon has seven homers and 49 RBIs and a .446 OBP, along with excellent plate discipline. Meanwhile, Paschal Petrongolo is a power threat with five homers and 53 RBIs, while Gavin Golsan isn’t a great hitter, but provides some unique attributes, including being 32-for-36 in stolen bases.