NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament Regionals Preview Part 4by Alex Kielar June 2, 2022 1 comment
Selection Monday went down Monday at noon Eastern Daylight Time, with the field of 64 being announced for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. The regionals will get underway on Friday and go through Monday in a double-elimination tournament. The 16 teams to win their portion of the regionals will advance to best-of-3 super regionals, taking place June 10 to June 13. The eight winners from there will advance to the College World Series beginning on June 17. The top 16 seeds and the regional hosts are Tennessee, Stanford, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Miami, Oklahoma State, East Carolina, Texas, North Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Louisville, Florida, Auburn, Maryland, and Georgia Southern.
For this preview, we will be splitting it up into four parts. Make sure to check out the first, second, and third parts of the preview. For the fourth and final part of this preview, let’s look at the Coral Gables, Hattiesburg, Auburn, and Corvallis Regionals. The winner of the Coral Gables Regional will face the winner of the Hattiesburg Regional and the winner of the Auburn Regional will face the winner of the Corvallis Regional.
Coral Gables Regional
Miami was awarded the sixth national seed but has stumbled down the stretch, losing six of their last nine games. That included both of their ACC Tournament games, with a 16-3 loss to Wake Forest, after they had won their last conference series against Notre Dame. It is the Hurricanes’ third straight NCAA Tournament under head coach Gino DiMare. They will look to make the College World Series for the first time since 2016 and win their first championship since 2001. With severe thunderstorms in the forecast at Coral Gable, Miami’s first game on Friday was moved ahead two hours to 10 a.m. EDT. Sophomore pitchers Carson Palmquist and Andrew Walters made All-ACC First Team while starter Karson Ligon made the All-Freshman Team.
Led by catcher and top 20 MLB Draft prospect Daniel Susac, Arizona made it to the Pac-12 semifinals. While they lost to eventual champion Stanford, they finished with a 16-13 conference record and are a second seed in the regionals. Susac has been extremely consistent for the Wildcats after winnings Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors last year. He has great power and drives the ball to all fields, mashing 12 homers in both of his seasons along with sluggling .598 this season. Arizona went 13-12 against teams in the 64-team field including wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Outfielder Tanner O’Tremba joins Susac on the All-Conference team and has a 36-game on-base streak in which he is hitting .315. The weather will be a factor with Miami’s first game already being moved.
Ole Miss Rebels
Despite falling to Vanderbilt in the opening round of the SEC tournament and finishing 14-16 in the SEC, Ole Miss got an at-large bid. The Rebels started out 13-1 on the season before losing 16 out of their next 25 games, then winning eight of their final 10 regular-season games. They were the last team in after being projected as one of the first four teams out. Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez made First Team All-ACC and starter Hunter Elliott made Freshman All-ACC Team.
Canisius Golden Griffins
A very unheard-of team, Canisius won the MAAC Tournament Championship over Rider and are on a six-game winning streak. They are the 169th ranked RPI team and no one should expect a cinderella run for them in the regionals. Infielder Max Grant was named the 2022 MAAC Baseball Player of the Year after slashing .400/.494/.630, eight home runs, 46 RBI, and 49 runs scored. Grant made All-MAAC Baseball First Team along with pitcher Matt Duffy, and DH Mike Steffan. Peyton Consigli and Aaron Duffy made the All-Rookie Team.
#1 Miami (FL) (39 – 18) vs. #4 Canisius (29 – 23), 10 a.m., ESPN+
#3 Ole Miss (32 – 22) vs. #2 Arizona (37 – 23), 7 p.m., ESPNU
Regional prediction: Miami
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
After failing to take the Conference USA tournament title, Southern Mississippi still gets to be a regional host. They finished with a 23-7 conference record and it is the third time in their history to host a regional. The Golden Eagles set a school record with 15 consecutive wins in March and April this season. They hold the second-best team ERA in the country (3.06) and the top strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.52). Ace right-hander Tanner Hall has an ERA of 2.69, which ranks 51st in the country and his 11.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio is second-best in the nation. He earned All-American First-Team honors.
Led by SEC Co-Player of the Year Dylan Crews and fellow All-America selection Jacob Berry, LSU is a second seed in the regionals. They did lose to Tennessee and Kentucky in the SEC Tournament but finished 17-13 in the conference. Crews is hitting .345 this season with nine doubles, four triples, 21 home runs, 68 RBI, and 68 runs scored. His 21 homers are the most by an LSU player since outfielder Ryan Schimpf hit 22 home runs in 2009. Berry ranked second in the SEC in batting average (.381), fourth in on-base percentage (.473), and eighth in slugging percentage (.661). The Tigers look to make their 19th College World Series appearance and add another title to their six national championships.
Kennesaw State Owls
ASUN Freshman of the Year Donavan Cash and the Owls upset second-seeded Lipscomb and first-seeded Liberty in the conference tournament to take the ASUN title. First baseman Cash ranks first on KSU in multi-hit performances (29) and ranks second in batting average at .356. Center fielder Josh Hatcher is tied for the national lead in hits at 103 and ranks second in doubles with 25. Kennesaw State lost the conference tournament opener to Liberty before taking three straight games including the championship against Liberty in a rematch.
Army Black Knights
Army won the Patriot League title game to make their 10th NCAA postseason appearance in program history and second in a row. The Black Knights slugged their way to a 12-2 victory to take down Bucknell in the championship series. Sophomore Connelly Early claimed 2022 Patriot League Baseball Pitcher of the Year honors after going 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA in seven League starts and head coach Jim Foster picked up his second Gene Depew Coach of the Year award.
#1 Southern Mississippi (43-16) vs. #4 Army West Point (31-23), 2 p.m., ESPN+
#2 LSU (38-20) vs. #3 Kennesaw St. (35-26), 7 p.m., ESPN+
Regional prediction: LSU
The Tigers are hosting a regional for the first time since 2010 and the 23rd time overall, despite losing the SEC Tournament opener to Kentucky. Sonny DiChiara was named SEC Co-Player of the Year with Crews as he leads the conference in slugging (.782) and on-base percentage (.561) along with a league-high 62 walks. Third baseman Blake Rambusch made the SEC All-Defensive Team. The Tigers are looking to reach their sixth College World Series in history.
UCLA has now made the regionals in five straight seasons including 13 of the last 17 tournaments. They lost to Oregon State in the Pac-12 semifinals after taking them down in a slugfest, 25-22, earlier the same day. The Bruins beat the Beavers three times this season and also won the Shriner’s Children’s College Classic by beating Oklahoma and Texas.
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles have tied an NCAA record by making their 44th straight NCAA Tournament, evening them with Miami. Florida State was one of the last teams to make it into the field of 64 and ranked 28th in non-conference games. Sophomore starter Parker Messivk was the lone Seminole to be selected to All-ACC First Team after recording a 3.36 ERA, 0.961 WHIP, and 140 strikeouts to just 16 walks in 93 2/3 innings.
Southeastern Louisiana Lions
The Lions were crowned the Southland champions after defeating McNeese and also took Ole Miss in late March. Southeastern Louisiana started the season 8-18 but finished with a 30-29 overall record. The Lions have hit 69 home runs and have stolen 113 bases, good for the 13th most in the country. But don’t expect them to make much noise against Auburn and the rest of this regional.
#2 UCLA (38-22) vs. #3 Florida State (33-23), 12 p.m., ESPN2
#1 Auburn (37-19) vs. #4 Southeastern Lousiana (30-29), 7 p.m., ESPN+
Regional prediction: UCLA
#3 San Diego (36 – 18) vs. #2 Vanderbilt (36 – 21), 4 p.m., ESPNU
#1 Oregon State (44 – 15) vs. #4 New Mexico State (24 – 32), 10 p.m., ESPNU
Regional prediction: Oregon State
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Main Image Credit: From The Student Printz