Austin Regional Capsule

No.
1 Texas (40-19)
50th
appearance, at-large, won Big 12 regular season

No.
2 North Carolina State (38-21)
20th
appearance, at-large, Atlantic Coast

No.
3 Stanford (30-25)
27th
appearance, at-large, Pacific-10

No.
4 UT Arlington (29-34)
Fourth
appearance, automatic, won Southland tournament

Preseason
No. 1 Texas started slowly, opening the year by getting swept
at San Diego and dropping two of its next three series. The team’s
.967 fielding percentage echoed a youthful roster, and Adrian Alaniz
and Kenn Kasparek struggled to follow up their freshman success as
the team posted a 3.76 ERA. Plenty of things still went as planned:
junior righthander Kyle McCulloch (8-4, 2.98) won the Big 12 pitcher
of the year award, junior center fielder Drew Stubbs (.356-12-55,
with 24 steals) shared conference player of the year honors, the
Longhorns beat Rice all three times the teams played and won the
conference title. Surprises included junior left fielder Carson
Kainer, who banged out 23 doubles and drove in 61 runs, while
freshman lefty Austin Wood saved seven games.

Just
Troy and Georgia Tech rank ahead of North Carolina State in
scoring among NCAA teams (8.8 runs per game). The Wolfpack offensive
attack can eat through pitching staffs, a major danger in tournament
play. Junior first baseman Aaron Bates (.338/.472/.542 with a team-best nine homers) and senior leadoff man Matt Camp (.387) lead
that attack. N.C. State has received less reliable performances out
of its pitching staff. Would-be ace Andrew Brackman is out for the
year with a hip injury, leaving control specialists Gib Hobson (9-1,
4.60) and Eryk McConnell (7-6, 4.20) atop the rotation. Both threw
well in the ACC tournament, but after them, coach Elliott Avent will
need to mix and match the rest of the staff.

Stanford
has experienced as many highs and lows as any team in the field. It
owns series victories against Cal State Fullerton, Texas and Arizona
State, but also lost series to Washington State, UC Davis and two
series to a sub-.500 Southern California team. At its best,
Stanford’s pitching staff can match the talent of anyone in the
country. This showed through a year ago, when a Cardinal team with a
similar resume got seeded third at Baylor and pushed the Bears into
extra innings before falling in the bracket final. Righthander Greg
Reynolds (6-5, 3.47, 92 strikeouts) threw that game, going 11
innings, and could deliver a similar performance here. Offensively,
it’s been a struggle for the Cardinal, who ranked next-to-last in the
Pac-10 in batting (.279) and runs (5.3 per game). But in one of those
highs two weeks ago, Stanford touched up Washington ace Tim Lincecum
for 10 hits and four runs.

UT
Arlington
won its first 10 Southland Conference games before
finishing 6-12 and dropping into fifth place. UTA is 15-50 all-time
against Texas, including 0-2 in NCAA play, but it did beat Texas 6-3
during a midweek game in April. Nebraska transfer Adam Moore earned
all-SLC honors as a catcher by hitting .358-10-50 with 20 doubles,
while the pitching staff will need more heroic efforts like the one
put forth by freshman righthander Brandon Endsley in the SLC
championship game. Endsley held Northwestern State to one earned run
over six innings in his first college start, which he entered with an
0-3, 7.64 record.

College | #2006 #Postseason #Regional

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