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One Stat For Every 2022 NCAA Tournament Team



Regionals are upon us and if you’re the average college baseball fan, you’ve read countless previews, listened to podcasts, engaged with rivals on social media, and much more. Sixty-four teams and endless storylines are a lot to keep track of, though, so this is an attempt to reduce all of that noise.

Here’s one noteworthy stat for each NCAA Tournament team before the action gets going.

Knoxville Regional

  1. Tennessee (1)

19 — The number of categories on the NCAA statistics website that the Volunteers rank in the top-10 of.

It’s hard to do justice to Tennessee’s all-around dominance in 2022. It’s not unfathomable to suggest that the Volunteers just completed the best regular season in quite some time. J.J. Cooper outlined it well in his feature on the Vols, noting, “The No. 1-ranked team in the nation has everything you could want in a national championship contender.” There’s not some weakness other than the big one: The top overall seed has won the national title just one time out of 22 tries under the current format.

  1. Georgia Tech

121 — Difference between offensive and defensive rankings on Massey Ratings

The Yellow Jackets are one of the few teams that can match up with Tennessee offensively. Georgia Tech edged out the Volunteers in the final week to finish first in the regular season ratings offensively, but finished 133rd on the mound. That’s a massive gap, and one that isn’t new for the Yellow Jackets. Over the last four years, they’ve paired offenses ranked 11th, sixth, 47th, and 26th with pitching staffs ranked 99th, 43rd, 115th, and 123rd. That’s translated to two NCAA Tournament appearances and zero super regional appearances. There’s a historical precedent for a team with that big of a difference: Early exits. Over the past 10 years, three teams have finished first offensively and outside the top 100 on the mound: 2013 New Mexico (eliminated in regionals), 2017 New Mexico (missed tournament), and 2019 Arizona (missed tournament).

  1. Campbell

59.8 — Average Game Score by sophomore righthander Thomas Harrington, third-best among qualified tournament starters.

If there’s a pitcher that could contain Georgia Tech’s potent offense, it might just be Harrington, a sophomore out of Sanford, N.C. Harrington trails only Tennessee’s Chase Dollander and Gonzaga’s Cooper Hjerpe in average Game Score and has a 2.21 ERA across 85.2 IP with a gaudy 109:16 K/BB ratio. Harrington faced one tournament team this year, Maryland, and was a tough-luck loser despite allowing just one run on two hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts. The Camels are 12-2 in his 14 starts this season.

Player

School

GS

IP

ERA

Avg. Game Score

Dollander, Chase

Tennessee

12

64.2

2.37

61.5

Hjerpe, Cooper

Oregon St.

15

89.0

2.33

60.3

Harrington, Thomas

Campbell

14

85.2

2.21

59.8

Hughes, Gabriel

Gonzaga

14

92

2.84

58.3

Bertrand, John Michael

Notre Dame

14

90.1

2.39

56.9

  1. Alabama State

24 — Combined innings in two games against Southern this year, the second of which was a 14-inning thriller in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.

For the first time since 2016, the Hornets are in the NCAA Tournament. All it took was a bit of revenge that was several months in the making. Alabama State fell in its season opener, 7-6, in 10 innings at the hands of Southern. Fast forward three-and-a-half months, and the Hornets faced Southern again—this time for all the marbles. It took 14 innings and a game time of just under five hours, but Alabama State got revenge with a go-ahead double in the 14th from Corey King. The Hornets are in the toughest region, but keep an eye on King. He posted a 1.088 OPS with 14 home runs in 57 games. They’re no pushover, either—they dropped two games to Auburn this season, but by 13-7 and 6-5 (10 innings) scorelines.

Statesboro Regional

  1. Georgia Southern (16)

8 — Number of consecutive home victories for the Eagles

Hosting for the first time in program history, Georgia Southern welcomes three foes into J.I. Clements Stadium in Statesboro with eight straight home wins under its belt. The Eagles last lost at home on April 30 to fellow NCAA Tournament team Coastal Carolina, following that up with eight victories by a combined scoreline of 101-36. Numbers wise, Georgia Southern is interesting—the pitching staff ranks 251st in the country in K/9, pitching to weak contact and letting the seventh-best defense by fielding percentage do its job. Offensively, the Eagles are a high-average team for the most part outside of slugger Noah Ledford (16 home runs).

  1. Notre Dame

9 — Number of position players that have played at least 100 games for Notre Dame

Want to root for an experienced team? Look no further than Notre Dame. Center fielder Spencer Myers has played 190 games for the Irish. Catcher David LaManna is at 187. The infield of Carter Putz (159), Jared Miller (176), Zack Prajzner (152), and Jack Brannigan (108) are all at 100-plus games. You can’t forget corner outfielders Ryan Cole (172) and Brooks Coetzee (126), who have played in all 49 games for Notre Dame this year. That’s a lineup filled with experience and one that is likely eager to make a deeper run after being bounced by eventual national champion Mississippi State in the super regionals. Oh, and the Irish have veterans on the mound, too. The team’s three leaders in innings pitched have 14 years of collegiate baseball experience.

  1. Texas Tech

6.90 — Team ERA over the last 22 games, a stretch in which the Red Raiders have gone 10-12.

On April 11, the Red Raiders were ranked No. 4, their high-water mark this season, and had just finished sweeping Kansas State. Texas Tech was 27-8 and seemed well on its way to a hosting role. Instead, the Red Raiders finished the year on a 10-12 run. That stretch included a sweep of Oklahoma State, but also series losses to Texas Christian and Oklahoma. Inconsistency on the mound and an offense that cooled off after a red-hot start to the year paired to sink Texas Tech to the three-line. Here’s a comparison of the Red Raiders' first 35 games with their final 22.

Record

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ERA

BB%

K%

First 35 G

27-8

.306

.420

.519

.938

4.41

9%

26%

Last 22 G

10-12

.276

.382

.475

.857

6.90

11%

23%

  1. UNC Greensboro

7 — Number of games played in five days at last week’s Southern Conference tournament

Seven games. 50 innings. Five games facing elimination. The Spartans were put through the ringer in Greenville, S.C., at Fluor Field. UNC Greensboro beat The Citadel, fell to Wofford, then rallied to avoid elimination and topped Western Carolina, Mercer, Samford and Wofford twice to claim the SoCon crown. The Spartans navigated through the tournament with a nine-man staff, leaning on Hunter Shuey (10 IP, 1.80 ERA) and Price King (8 IP, 0.00 ERA). Offensively, UNC Greensboro hit .341 across the seven games with 11 home runs. It was paced by a herculean effort from Kennedy Jones, who hit a team-high .432 with five home runs.

Greenville Regional

  1. East Carolina (8)

18 — Length of winning streak entering the tournament. 

The Pirates have been white-hot, playing their way into a top-eight national seed as they haven’t lost since April 26 (a 12-3 setback at North Carolina State). Here’s a few stats from the winning streak:

  • Bryson Worrell is hitting .400 (24-for-60) across 17 games with seven home runs and 25 RBIs.
  • As a team, the Pirates are hitting .299 with 20 HR and averaging 7.28 runs per game. Before the streak, ECU was hitting .274 and averaging nearly two runs fewer at 5.69 per game.
  • The Pirates bullpen has a 2.37 ERA (102+ IP) and a 112:32 K/BB ratio over the winning streak. Carter Spivey has been a big part of that, turning in 10 sterling performances. He has an 18:9 K/BB ratio and a 2.05 ERA over 22 innings of work. Garrett Saylor (20.1 IP, 2.66 ERA) and Ben Terwilliger (15.1 IP, 1.76 ERA) have been similarly impressive out of the bullpen.
  1. Virginia

.288 — OPS points worse away from home in 2022.

The biggest question mark around the Cavaliers—who climbed as high as No. 2 in the Top 25—is what exactly they are away from home. Virginia went a sterling 29-5 in the friendly confines of Disharoon Park, slashing .344/.447/.560 with 57 home runs in 34 games. In 21 road or neutral site games, however, UVA went just 9-12 and saw its offensive numbers plummet. The Cavaliers hit .255/.348/.719 with just 15 home runs. A prime example is star third baseman Jake Gelof, who hit .421 with 15 home runs in 34 home games, but saw those numbers dip to .293 with just four home runs in 21 away games. What team is going to show up in Greenville?

Location

G

W-L

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

R/G

Home

34

29-5

57

.344

.447

.560

1.007

10.7

Away*

21

9-12

15

.255

.348

.371

.719

5.8

*Neutral included under away

  1. Coastal Carolina

6+ — Average innings per start for each member of Coastal Carolina’s weekend rotation over their last five outings.

The trio of Reid VanScoter, Michael Knorr and Nick Parker have been as reliable as it gets. When you look at a weekend rotation’s last five outings, no other tournament team has three averaging six-plus innings per start (Southern Miss is second, at ~5.8). Knorr has been excellent, posting a 2.64 ERA across 31 innings, while VanScoter (3.52 ERA, 30.2 IP) and Parker (5.1 IP, 30 IP) have eaten up innings. The Chanticleers have a 5.85 bullpen ERA, so getting these types of outings out of this trio will be pivotal in regional play.

  1. Coppin State

24 — Number of wins for the Eagles in 2022, a program record.

There’s no sugarcoating it—Coppin State is the lowest-ranked team in the field by pretty much any metric. Still, it’s quite the exciting time for the Eagles. They knocked off MEAC’s No. 1 seed, Delaware State, with an eight-run ninth inning to win their first title since 1995. Ultimately, it’s a program record 24 wins that they have a chance to only add to. They’ll need a big regional from Jordan Hamberg, who pulls double duty as Coppin State’s top pitcher and hitter. Hamberg hit .355 with eight home runs at the dish and turned in 12 starts with a 4.04 ERA across 62.1 innings.

Austin Regional

  1. Texas (9)

215.4 —  Ivan Melendez’s wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus), per Driveline, tops in NCAA Division I among qualified hitters.

We could talk about Texas’ pitching staff, which ranks seventh in Massey Ratings, and features a two-headed monster of Lucas Gordon and Pete Hansen—but the main attraction of the Longhorns is their 6-foot-3, 225-pound first baseman. Ivan Melendez has enjoyed a monster season, slugging an NCAA-best 29 home runs and leading the nation in wRC+ and wRAA (Weighted Runs Above Average) among other stats. With the likes of Clemson’s Max Wagner and NC State’s Tommy White missing the tournament, Melendez has a chance to further distance himself on the home run leaderboard and polish off what has been a phenomenal season.

  1. Louisiana Tech

29 — Number of years that had separated the Bulldogs’ previous two Regional appearances before going back-to-back in 2021 and 2022.

When Greg Goff took the Bulldogs to the NCAA Regionals back in 2016, it snapped a 29-year drought that dated back to 1987. Fast forward six years, and Louisiana Tech—under coach Lane Burroughs—has logged back-to-back 40-plus win seasons and is back in the NCAA Tournament. Louisiana Tech hasn’t gone to back-to-back NCAAs since 1986-87 and will be looking to make up for a quick exit in 2021. The Bulldogs beat Rider and Alabama, but NC State had their number and outscored them, 22-10, in a pair of victories. Louisiana Tech this season took two games against LSU—winning 7-6 in 12 innings and more comfortably 11-6—and took a game from Southern Miss. It also has history with Dallas Baptist, having dropped a narrow 7-4 decision on March 29.

  1. Dallas Baptist

1 — Non-conference strength of schedule for the Patriots, who played 26 games against top-50 non-conference teams

If you want a battle-tested team, look no further than Dallas Baptist. Last time we saw the Patriots in the NCAA Tournament, they were knocking off host TCU, upsetting Oregon State and just coming up short against Virginia in super regionals. That 2021 edition of the Patriots was also a three-seed, but didn’t enter the postseason having played quite as difficult of a schedule. Dallas Baptist took two of three from Maryland, split with Oklahoma State, swept Southern Miss, split with Oklahoma, took two from TCU and two of three from San Diego. That’s a lot of loud victories for a team that ended up on the three-seed line thanks to some questionable losses. One noteworthy difference between this year’s team and last year’s super regional one is in the lineup. The Patriots rank similarly in run prevention this year, but slipped from 24th in offense to 99th in Massey Rating.

Opponent

Result

Opponent

Result

Opponent

Result

Maryland (9)

W,L,W

Texas A&M (22)

L

Texas Tech (45)

L,L

Oklahoma St. (10)

L, W

Louisiana Tech (33)

W

San Diego (46)

L, W, W

Southern Miss (18)

W,W,W

Wofford (35)

L,L,W

Oklahoma (19)

W, L

TCU (36)

W,W

Total

13-9

RPI in parentheses.

  1. Air Force

1969 — Last regional appearance for Air Force, which is three victories shy of matching a program record (33) for wins in a single season, set back in 1979.

On the topic of regional droughts, it’s great to see Air Force make a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 53 years. The Falcons have now posted back-to-back winning seasons twice in the last seven years under Mike Kazlausky after last doing so back in the mid-1990s. Air Force is no pushover, either. The Falcons are 14th in the country in scoring (8.6 runs per game) and are hitting .313 as a team (ninth nationally). The name everyone knows is Paul Skenes, a two-way star who has a 2.42 ERA across 14 starts and a .326/.426/.652 slash line. Don’t lose sight of three other big names in the lineup: ​​Sam Kulasingam (.414, 40 extra-base hits), Gabriel Garcia (.353, 14 HR), and Jay Thomason (.344, 16 HR) all have OPS’ over 1.000.

College Station Regional

  1. Texas A&M (5)

+69 — Change in RPI from 2021 to 2022 under first-year coach Jim Schlossnagle

To say 2021 was a disappointment for Aggie faithful would be an understatement. Texas A&M went 29-27, 9-21 in the SEC, and failed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2006—the first year under Rob Childress. The Aggies dismissed Childress after the letdown in 2021 and turned the reins over to Jim Schlossnagle, who arrived after 17 years at TCU. All Schlossnagle did in his first year was take Texas A&M to an SEC West title and host a regional for the first time since 2016. What changed? The Aggies improved dramatically in the lineup, climbing from 87th in offensive power ratings to 12th, and rose 20 spots on the pitching side up to 43rd. They might not be balanced enough to make a deep run, but they took huge strides in 2022.

Stat

2021

2022

Change

Record

29-27 (.518)

37-18 (.673)

+.155

RPI

91st

22nd

+69

Off. Rating (Massey)

87th

12th

+56

Def. Rating (Massey)

61st

43rd

+18

  1. Texas Christian

14.3 — BB% for the Horned Frogs, tops among tournament teams

Fittingly, the Horned Frogs and new coach Kirk Saarloos—who was the Frogs’ pitching coach under Schlossnagle for nine years—find themselves in College Station. Saarloos will be suspended the first game after an ejection in the Big 12 tournament, but if the Horned Frogs knock off Louisiana, a rematch could be in store. TCU’s offense has fallen from 5th in Schlossnagle’s final year to 39th this season, but one thing the Horned Frogs do particularly well is draw walks. Of course, it may not be as big of an edge when TCU ranks last among the four pitching staffs in its regionals in BB% (10.7%, with Oral Roberts leading the way at 8.3%).

  1. Louisiana-Lafayette

2.33 — Stolen bases per game, seventh nationally and first among tournament teams

If there’s one thing that the Sun Belt champions do often, it’s run. The Ragin' Cajuns finished fifth in the country in stolen base attempts per game and that much was clear in the three games at the Sun Belt tournament. After being caught on the basepaths four times against South Alabama, Louisiana didn’t slow down, swiping two bases in a 3-2 win over Texas State and snagging five in the title game against Georgia Southern. Heath Hood—who is 17-for-20 on the year—stole home in the ninth inning on a double steal to tie the game at six apiece. Other prolific thieves are Carson Roccaforte (23 SBs), Tyler Robertson (21 SBs), and Max Marusak (21 SBs).

  1. Oral Roberts

7 — Regulars in the Oral Roberts lineup that are hitting at least .300

This is a fun group of hitters that coach Ryan Folmar has put together. There’s a little bit of everything on display. The Golden Eagles have two power bats in Jackson Loftin (.348, 10 HR) and Caleb Denny (.336, 11 HR). Loftin isn’t your average home run hitter, though, as he leads the team with 25 stolen bases. Holden Breeze (.335) is a doubles machine, totaling 17, while Joshua Cox (.333) is a threat to go when he gets on base as he’s got 10 stolen bases. Mac McCroskey (.319), Jake McMurray (.303), and Connor Beichler (.313) round out a lineup that has an impressive amount of depth.

Louisville Regional

  1. Louisville (12)

15th — Average pitching/defense rank in previous five College World Series trips

74th — Current pitching/defense rank

After some up-and-down results, Louisville settled in as a regional host and the 12th overall seed. It’s a team that looks a lot different than previous iterations under head coach Dan McDonnell, who previously leaned on strong pitching staffs to make runs deep into the tournament. Consider the 2019 Cardinals: They held opponents to 2.9 runs per game in the NCAA Tournament, ultimately falling to Vanderbilt twice by a combined three runs. This year’s version of Louisville has been far from consistent on the mound. There’s a strong relief core—the trio of Tate Kuehner, Michael Prosecky, and Ryan Hawks have impressed—but the rotation has been unsettled. In the month of May, five different players have made at least two starts, and the most regular starter—Carter Lohman—walked nearly 20% of the batters he faced across 14.1 innings. If the Cardinals are going to make a run, they’re going to need to find some of that historic pitching dominance to pair with the fifth-best offense in the country.

  1. Oregon

2.63 — Difference in ERA between the rotation (6.23) and the bullpen (3.60).

The biggest gap between two units of a pitching staff belongs to the Ducks, who have a Top 10 bullpen by ERA in the tournament field yet starting pitchers boast the third-highest ERA. Oregon still totaled 35 wins and finished with a top-30 pitching staff (25th in Massey Ratings), but the bullpen piled up almost 100 more innings. Teams that don’t get longer starts out of their weekend starters often end up in trouble in the double-elimination bracket, so it’s something to keep an eye on for the Ducks. Logan Mercado, Rio Britton, Caleb Sloan, and Kolby Somers form an impressive quartet of relievers with sub-3.00 ERAs and 25+ innings pitched this year, but fatigue and maxing out arms could come into play.

  1. Michigan

8.07 — Bullpen ERA for the Wolverines, worst in the tournament field.

On the topic of bullpens, Michigan dramatically loses the battle when measuring up to Oregon. It’s been a bumpy ride for the Wolverines, who won the Big 10 title after an inspired run that ended with a 10-4 win over Rutgers. Michigan has won seven of nine since being swept by Maryland, but it’s largely been thanks to the offense: The Wolverines are scoring 8.9 runs per game over that stretch. The most trusted arm in the bullpen is Noah Rennard (24 G, 40.1 IP, 23 K%, 10 BB%), but it’s slim pickings after that. Chase Allen (32.2 IP, 3.86 ERA) has been solid but he’s the only reliever in the top 10 by appearances with a sub-5 ERA and he also throws both ways. You can’t really slice the data in any way to get a positive outlook.

Games

Bullpen IP

ERA

BB%

K%

Last 7

38.2

7.58

12.0%

20.9%

Last 15

84.1

9.18

14.8%

20.6%

Last 30

133.1

9.52

12.6%

19.0%

The rotation has a 6.90 ERA over the last 15 games, too. It’ll be an uphill battle for the Wolverines as they throw some combination of Allen, Jacob Denner, Connor O’Halloran and Jack White out there.

  1. Southeast Missouri State

9-1 – Record in extra-inning this season, with nine total being the third-most in D-I

It was a marathon year for Southeast Missouri State, who played in a plethora of extra-inning games and somehow managed to win nine of the 10 nail biters. It’s easy to see how quickly a season could flip if you can’t find results in close games. Three of the Redhawks' first four games went extra innings, beating Dallas Baptist twice (in 11 and 10 innings, respectively) before winning an 11-inning game against Bellarmine. The end of April saw four more extra-inning games in a span of five games, beating Morehead State twice and Belmont in 10 innings while falling to Southern Illinois in 11 innings. Fittingly, the Redhawks punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament in a 10-inning victory over Belmont.

Blacksburg Regional

  1. Virginia Tech (4)

58 — More home runs hit in 2022 than 2021 by the Hokies

Leaps and bounds. That’s about all you can say about how different this year’s Virginia Tech offense has been to last year. The Hokies went from hitting 52 home runs in 52 games and scoring 5.9 runs per game to clubbing 110 this season, scoring nearly nine runs per game and posting a .974 OPS that is almost 200 points higher. As a group, Virginia Tech has been absolutely dialed in all season long. Not only did the Hokies raise their walk rate by two percentage points, they lowered their strikeout rate by half a point as well. After just one hitter—Gavin Cross—reached double-digit home runs last season, Virginia Tech now has seven. Cross has clubbed three more homeruns than last year, but that’s the sixth-largest jump. Tanner Schobel hit seven last season, he leads the team with 17 now. Cade Hunter jumped from three in 18 games to 12 across a full season. Jack Hurley went from six to 13. Plus, the additions of Carson DeMartini and Eduardo Malinowski certainly helped.

Year

GP

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

TB

2021

52

0.271

0.365

0.425

0.790

52

753

2022

53

0.308

0.405

0.570

0.975

110

1071

  1. Gonzaga

5.45 — Average innings pitched per start by Gonzaga’s starting pitchers across 53 games.

You want depth from your starters? The Bulldogs have it. They lead the field in innings pitched per start and are ninth in rotation ERA. Gonzaga is in a regional with some strong offensive teams—all three rank ahead of them and within the top 60—but the Bulldogs will lean on pitching to try and spring the upset. Gabriel Hughes is one of the top starters in the country, posting a 34.3 K% and 9.3 BB% with a 2.84 ERA across 14 starts and 92 innings pitched. Trystan Vrieling has been a bit more inconsistent, but still has a 4.44 ERA across 79 innings and 14 starts. Then, of course, there’s William Kempner—he’s only made seven starts after missing several weeks—who has a 0.81 ERA and 45 strikeouts across 33.1 innings of work. Gonzaga’s bullpen has been solid, but having that trio get deep into games could work wonders in the regional.

  1. Columbia

+.274 — Change in team’s OPS when comparing Feb.18-Apr. 1 and the rest of the year, the biggest jump among tournament teams. 

Columbia didn’t get off to a terrific start, finishing March six games under .500 thanks to setbacks against Baylor, Houston and Penn. The Lions were hitting .247/.320/.404 as a team and scoring just over five runs per game. The next 26 games were a different story, however. Columbia’s team OPS from April onward was fourth-best among tourney teams (.997) and the Lions went 23-3, a stretch that included a 19-game winning streak. Granted, this was largely against the rest of the Ivy League, who outside of Penn rank beyond the Top 130 in RPI, but it’s still impressive.

  1. Wright State

4 — Number of years in a row that the Raiders have had a top-70 offense and a sub-100 pitching staff/defense.

In 2018, they were 50th in offense and 103rd in pitching, and lost both regional games. In 2019, they were more unbalanced, ranking 34th and 137th, and they were bounced in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament despite winning the regular season by seven games. Then, in 2021, Wright State was third and 148th, and lost a dramatic game to Tennessee before falling to Stanford. Three years, three high-end offenses, and zero NCAA Tournament wins. This season has the makings of more of the same: Wright State has plenty of firepower, scoring 56 runs in their three games prior to the NCAA Tournament, but rank 179th in run prevention. Can the lineup overcome? It’ll be tough against some similarly strong offenses. One silver lining: Over his last five starts, Alex Theis has thrown 25 innings with a 1.44 ERA and 34 strikeouts. A 13.2 BB% is less than ideal, but if Theis can turn in a good outing, the Raiders could be in business.

Gainesville Regional

  1. Florida (13)

32.8 — Average RPI of the Gainesville Regional in 2022

47 — Average RPI of last year’s Gainesville Regional, where the Gators went 0-2

The Gators’ 2021 campaign ended in a humbling manner. The 15th overall seed, Florida fell to South Florida and then was absolutely pummeled in the elimination bracket, losing to South Alabama by 18 runs thanks to a 10-run sixth inning. They’re looking to reverse course in 2022, but have a difficult regional ahead of them. Florida ended up with Oklahoma (No. 19 in RPI), Liberty (No. 31), and Central Michigan (No. 69). It’s a harder field than last year, albeit with a better Florida team by RPI. The Gators will have their hands full, especially with Liberty having already taken a weekend series from them.

  1. Oklahoma

5 — Consecutive weekend series victories to close the regular season before winning the Big 12 Tournament.

It’s been a great few weeks for the Sooners, albeit with the disappointment of not getting to host mixed in. Oklahoma closed the regular season by winning series against Kansas, Kansas State, TCU, West Virginia, and Texas Tech before going 4-0 at Globe Life Field to win the Big 12 Tournament. The Sooners started the year 18-12, but have gone 19-8 over their last 27 games. That pitching remains an issue—they’re 59th in Def. Rating—but offensively, it’s been a breakout stretch. After posting a .812 OPS through 30 games with 19 home runs, the Sooners have racked up 35 in 27 games with a .937 OPS. They’re scoring 3.3 more runs per game, too, averaging nearly 10 over that stretch. Peyton Graham is slashing .369/.467/.703 over that stretch with eight home runs, while Tanner Treadway paces the lineup with a .400 average across his last 120 at bats.

Last 27 Games (19-8 Record)

Player

AB

HR

2B

3B

SB

AVG/OBP/SLG

Peyton Graham

111

8

7

3

20

.369/.467/.703

Tanner Treadway

120

5

8

1

12

.400/.438/.608

Blake Robertson

102

4

12

0

4

.284/.467/.520

Brett Squires

76

6

2

0

3

.320/.441/.587

  1. Liberty

3 — Wins in the postseason over the last two NCAA Tournaments

In back-to-back NCAA Tournaments—in 2019 and 2021—Liberty saw its season come to an end at the hands of Tennessee. In 2019, the Flames were a three-seed and knocked off No. 2 Tennessee before falling to No. 1 North Carolina and the Volunteers. In 2021, the Flames were again a three seed and beat No. 2 Duke—twice—but fell in both matchups with Tennessee. Finally, out of the Volunteers regional, the Flames will be looking to get over the hump and advance to their first Super Regional in program history. They have the star power—Derek Orndorff posted a .937 OPS with 15 home runs and 17 stolen bases, while Joe Adametz III posted a 2.48 ERA over 15 starts with a 77:21 K/BB ratio.

  1. Central Michigan

18 — Length of winning streak from April 2nd to April 24th, tied for second-longest in NCAA baseball this year

When the calendar flipped to April, Central Michigan was in a bit of a standstill. The Chippewas were 10-10 after a difficult start to the season that included losses to West Virginia, Coastal Carolina, UMass Lowell, and Iowa. Things quickly changed, however, as they rattled off 18 straight wins and didn’t lose for a span of 33 days. When the Chippewas won Game No. 18, a 16-0 run-rule victory over Akron, they sat at 21-1 in MAC play. While Central Michigan would get swept the next weekend by Ball State, the Chippewas bounced back and eventually beat the Cardinals, 12-3 and 11-7, to claim the conference’s auto-bid. Central Michigan could be one of the most dangerous four-seeds in the tournament.

Stanford Regional

  1. Stanford (2)

16 — Number of wins in a row, the second-longest active streak entering the postseason

In Stanford’s first 39 games—in which the Cardinal went 25-14—the lineup totaled 49 home runs. In the last 16? 46. Stanford’s been on an absolute roll offensively, averaging 10.3 runs per game during the winning streak. That’s a four-run increase from their average through May 1st and enabled them to sweep California, Utah, and USC before cruising through the Pac-12 Tournament.

HR

AB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

R/G

First 39 games

49

1355

.286

.367

.472

.839

6.4

Last 16 games

46

594

.338

.413

.638

1.051

10.3

To no surprise, Brock Jones has paced the offense during the winning streak. He’s clubbed 10 home runs in 65 at bats, posing a gaudy .400/.512/.923 stat line. Other hot hitters include Carter Graham (8 HR, 1.141 OPS) and Kody Huff (7 HR, 1.253 OPS).

  1. Texas State

18-5 — Record away from home, third-best mark in D-I in 2022

An upset win against Texas. Two of three from Arizona. The Bobcats took on some capable future NCAA Tournament teams on the road this season and found plenty of success, which could bode well as they head to Stanford. They didn’t win with their prolific offense, though. Texas State averaged nine runs per game at home, hitting .321 with a .992 OPS as a team thanks to 61 home runs in 32 games. In 25 road games (including two neutral site games), the Bobcats averaged three runs fewer. The difference was on the mound, where they posted a 3.88 ERA—including a bullpen ERA of 2.50 across 101-plus innings of work.

  1. UC Santa Barbara

3rd — Where the Gauchos’ .782 winning percentage ranks among D-I teams

UCSB went a sterling 43-12 in 2022 and didn’t lose a single series all year. The Gauchos finished just 177th in strength of schedule, but took care of business. They went 31-4 against teams outside the top 50 in RPI, then split with Oregon across four games. Only two teams managed to avoid losing to the Gauchos—UCLA and USC, who both swept a pair of midweek games. UCSB has a strong rotation trio of Cory Lewis, Ryan Gallagher and Mike Gutierrez—who all average five-plus innings per start—and boast a 3.36 starting pitcher ERA.

  1. Binghamton

0-6 — Record in previous three NCAA Tournaments (2013, 2014, and 2016).

The Bearcats have been one of the more successful programs in the America East, but it’d still been six years since they’d reached the tournament. After going three times in four years, this year’s edition will hope to snap a seven-game NCAA losing streak that dates back to May 30th, 2009 (an 11-6 win over George Mason). The Bearcats finished 232rd in schedule strength, though, and Stanford will be immediately the best team by far that they’ve faced. Binghamton was swept by Alabama, dropped two of three to Old Dominion and fell in a midweek game to Mississippi State.

College Park Regional

  1. Maryland (15)

1.094 — Team OPS since May 1, first among tournament teams. 

The Terrapins lost three times in 14 games in May, but it wasn’t because of the offense. Maryland took two of three from Rutgers and swept Michigan on the strength of a lineup that was scoring over 11 runs per game. Maryland fell in extras to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament but are one of the hottest offensive teams in the country. Matthew Shaw slashed .356/.479/.949 over that stretch with 10 home runs in 14 games, while Chris Alleyne, Troy Schreffler Jr., Ian Petrutz, and Luke Shliger all posted OPS’s over 1. The “Bash Brothers” of Alleyne and Shaw are both tied with Stanford’s Brock Jones for the most home runs over the last 20 games with 12 apiece.

  1. Wake Forest

30 — Top-50 games played by the Demon Deacons in 2022, third-most among tournament teams

The Demon Deacons didn’t have the strongest non-conference schedule, but they got hit with a bear of a conference slate. Seven of Wake Forest’s nine ACC series were against Top-50 opponents, including five NCAA Tournament teams. Pair that with games against Liberty, Coastal Carolina, and Miami in the ACC Tournament and you’re looking at a team that has gone through the ringer. Wake Forest went 14-15-1 against top-50 teams, winning just two series: At Georgia Tech and North Carolina State (they also split with Louisville thanks to a tie). The experience against tough opponents is there, even if it’s been hit or miss at times. One other tidbit—the Demon Deacons sit at 40 wins, the program’s second-highest mark since 2002. It’s three shy of 2017, a season in which Wake Forest was a host and ultimately fell to Florida in the Gainesville Super Regional.

  1. Connecticut

3.04 — Rotation ERA, third-best among tournament teams behind Tennessee and UConn

The Huskies are a dangerous three-seed, especially when you consider the pitching depth. Austin Peterson, Enzo Stefanoni and Pat Gallagher are three proven starters that consistently work deep into games. Peterson averages nearly seven innings per start, posting an average game score of 56. He’s been practically unhittable over his last four starts, registering a 35:7 K/BB ratio and a sub-1.00 ERA over 27.1 innings. Stefanoni and Gallagher form a talented tandem after Peterson, which lines up well for the Huskies. UConn is also excellent in relief, with its relievers posting a 3.58 ERA across 206 innings this season. The most frequent arm is Brendan O’Donnell, who’s been called on in matchup duty—28 appearances, 14.2 IP—while Jack Sullivan has the best numbers (20.1 IP, 23:7 K/BB, 0.44 ERA). Expect to see Ian Cooke, who made 14 relief appearances and four starts, finishing third on the team in appearances.

Pitcher

GS

IP

BB%

K%

ERA

FIP

Austin Peterson

15

100.2

4.1%

31.4%

3.22

3.67

Pat Gallagher

15

89.2

6.9%

25.5%

3.31

3.85

Enzo Stefanoni

15

80.2

4.0%

18.3%

3.01

4.67

  1. Long Island

11 — Number of wins for NEC Pitcher of the Year Joshua Loeschorn, tied for first nationally.

If the Sharks are going to pull off an upset on Friday night against Maryland, it’ll come down to Joshua Loeschorn turning in another excellent start. The senior has 11 wins on the year and Long Island is an impressive 13-2 in his outings. In five appearances in May—four starts and a save against Bryant—Loeschorn has a sterling 28:8 K/BB ratio across 25 innings of work with a 1.08 ERA. The Sharks are 266th nationally in offense but boast a solid pitching staff and could cause problems if Loeschorn is at his best.

Stillwater Regional

  1. Oklahoma State (7)

5 — Winning or losing streaks of four-plus games this season

At the end of the year, looking back, Oklahoma State put together a strong resume. The Cowboys took two of three from Vanderbilt to start the year and finished with a semifinal appearance in the Big 12 Tournament and a top-eight national seed. In between? Far from consistent. The Cowboys put together winning streaks of four (twice), seven, and 11 games. They were also swept in a pair of weekend series—to Gonzaga and Texas Tech—and dropped five in a row in mid-May. Ultimately, this is a talented team that is almost as balanced as you’d want—17th in offense, 20th in defense—but has proven to be inconsistent at times.

Streak

Dates

Opponents

Margin

W4

2/27-3/2

Wright St, Arizona St

51-20 (+31)

W11

3/11-3/27

BYU, Dallas Baptist, Seton Hall, Oral Roberts, Kansas

75-32 (+43)

W4

4/9-4/15

Oklahoma, West Virginia

27-17 (+10)

W7

4/26-5/8

Wichita St, Texas, SE Missouri St

74-32 (+42)

L5

5/10-5/19

Dallas Baptist, Texas Tech

31-43 (-12)

  1. Arkansas

8.06 — Razorbacks’ starters ERA over the last 12 games, a stretch in which Arkansas has gone 4-8.

The Razorbacks enter Regional play on a four-game skid, having lost three times to Alabama before being eliminated by Florida in the SEC Tournament. That’s a far cry from last year when Arkansas rattled off eight straight victories and claimed the SEC title heading into the postseason. Since a seven-game winning streak earlier in the year that featured a sweep of LSU, the Razorbacks have struggled to get consistent outings out of their rotation. Since that streak ended, Arkansas has a rotation ERA of 6.55, headlined by struggles from Jaxon Wiggins (14 IP, 10.30 ERA), Connor Noland (32 IP, 6.20 ERA), and the duo of Hagen Smith and Will McEntire. The last Razorbacks starter to go six innings was Smith back on April 30th. The Razorbacks bullpen has been more reliable over that recent 12-game stretch—Kole Ramage, Zack Morris, and Evan Taylor in particular—but Arkansas will need more out of its starters in regional play.

  1. Grand Canyon

5 — Number of wins over Top 25 teams the Antelopes claimed this season, tied for the most by any unranked team. 

The Antelopes pummeled then-No. 14 Arizona, 19-3, on Feb. 2, and beat No. 5 Oregon State, 13-7, on March 7. Then, of course, they added two wins over No. 5 Texas Tech (9-4, 8-7) in a mini midweek series against the Red Raiders in early April and beat then-No 6 Stanford, 5-1, on Apr. 23. Grand Canyon’s offense has been hot-or-cold, showing the ability to explode but ultimately ranks just 93rd in the Massey Ratings. These upsets have shown, however, that the pitching staff (28th) can keep top teams in check and if the lineup is clicking, this could be a potential “giant killer.”

  1. Missouri State

1-1 — Record against opposing teams in the regional, having beaten Arkansas and lost to Oklahoma State

It’s not that rare to have a potential rematch at some point in the regionals, but the Bears have played both of the top two seeds in the Stillwater Regional. If those games were any indication, Missouri State—despite ranking 93rd in RPI—will be a difficult out. On March 8th, the Bears only trailed then-No. 6 Oklahoma State by a run through five innings. The Cowboys scored three in the final three innings to put the game out of reach, however. In May, Missouri State headed to Fayetteville for a midweek matchup and came away with a dramatic 6-4 victory. The Bears lead, 3-1, heading to the ninth and put up three runs to take a 6-1 lead. Arkansas stormed back for three in the bottom of the ninth and brought the winning run to the plate, but Missouri State held on.

Chapel Hill Regional

  1. North Carolina (10)

15-2 — Tar Heels record since falling to Virginia on April 24.

Much like Duke in 2021, UNC got hot at the right time. The Tar Heels swept Florida State to end the regular season, then won four straight games in Charlotte—beating Clemson, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and NC State by an aggregate scoreline of 35-9—to claim the ACC Tournament. That pushed UNC’s record to 15-2 since Devin Ortiz hit the walk-off grand slam to send the Tar Heels to their fifth straight ACC series loss. There’s been improvement across the board. In UNC’s first 40 games, the Tar Heels slashed .277/.378/.449 with an .827 OPS, a mark that has climbed to .925 over the last 17. As the weather has warmed up, they’ve gotten quite homer-happy, clubbing 33 in 17 games. Freshman Vance Honeycutt has played a big part in that, hitting .377 with 11 HRs in 61 at bats and posting a 1.480 OPS.

  1. Georgia

13-15 — Record in the second half of the season after starting 22-6

On April 2, Georgia beat Florida 14-8 to finish off a series sweep and run its record to a sparkling 22-6 (6-3 in the SEC). In the two months since, things haven’t quite gone as planned for the Bulldogs. They’ve gone just 13-15, including 5-8 in May, and were eliminated in the first game of the SEC Tournament. There’s been flashes of their potential—the Bulldogs avoided sweeps by picking up one win against Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Louisiana State and Texas A&M—but it’s been more bad than good. Ultimately, it’s been a tale of two halves and it’ll be up to Georgia to try and get back to what they were before a once-promising season comes to a sad end.

First Half

22-6

.296/.406/.456

7.5 r/g

4.70 ERA

11.4 BB%

24.9 K%

Second Half

13-15

.272/.352/.447

6.4 r/g

6.43 ERA

12.9 BB%

22.4 K%

  1. Virginia Commonwealth

1.651 — Tyler Locklear’s OPS over the last 25 games, tops among tournament-qualified hitters.

If you’re trying to find the best hitter in the NCAA Tournament, it might just be VCU first baseman Tyler Locklear. The Rams have won 15 straight games, third only to East Carolina’s and Stanford’s streaks, and Locklear has been an engine that just doesn’t quit. After a loss to Davidson on April 10th, Locklear was hitting .312 with VCU sitting two games above .500. Since that defeat, the Rams have gone 24-4 with Locklear hitting an even .500 (51-for-102) and clubbing 10 homers for a 1.570 OPS. He raised his average all the way to .403, 58 points higher than his sophomore campaign, and has 75 RBIs in 58 games. Another name to keep an eye on is DH Will Carlone, who went 4-for-4 with seven RBIs in the Atlantic 10 Championship game and has a 1.089 OPS over that 28-game span.

  1. Hofstra

1st — NCAA Tournament in program history for the Pride

No matter the result against North Carolina and in the Chapel Hill Regional, it’s a big deal to see the Pride in the NCAA Tournament. It’s the first time in program history—dating back to 1938—and it was accomplished in coach Frank Catalanotto’s first year in charge of Hofstra. The winningest coach before Catalanotto was John Russo, who manned the helm from 2012 to 2021, registered 192 wins and posted a .421 winning percentage. The Pride earned the CAA’s auto-bid in dramatic fashion, going 4-0 at the conference tournament with three walk-off wins.

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Coral Gables Regional

  1. Miami (6)

31.4% — K% for the Hurricanes bullpen in 2022, tops among any tournament position group.

Miami made a big move at the start of this year to push closer Carson Palmquist into the weekend rotation. The Hurricanes didn’t have to look far to find another shutdown late-inning reliever, though, as Andrew Walters has more than filled his shoes. Walters has a 57:5 K/BB ratio and is striking out 53.3 percent of the batters he’s faced this season across 30 innings. There’s several other elite strikeout pitchers on the staff, whether it’s starter-converted-reliever Alex McFarlane (35 K%, 42 IP) or Gage Ziehl (32.4 K%, 31 IP0. Miami’s bullpen does walk too many opposing batters—an 11.7 BB% is below average—and it’s been costly at times.

  1. Arizona

2 — Series wins against top-eight seeds (Oregon State and Stanford)

At their best, Chip Hale’s Wildcats have the potential to match up with any team in the country. While Arizona dropped a pair of games to No. 2 Stanford in the Pac-12 Tournament, it had no problem sweeping them aside in early March with a three-game sweep. The Wildcats won with pitching, holding the Cardinal to 10 runs in three games. Then, in May, Arizona rose to the occasion when No. 3 Oregon State came to town. The Wildcats dropped the series opener, 12-9, but rebounded by breaking open a pitcher’s duel in Game 2 and winning Game 3 by erasing an early four-run deficit. Arizona is ultimately outside the Top 40 in both offense and defense and in a tough regional with a blue-blood in Ole Miss due up first, but if they can put it together, the Wildcats could be dangerous.

  1. Ole Miss

No. 1 — Rebels ranking in the Top 25 on March 4

A preseason Top 10 team, Ole Miss climbed as high as No. 1 in the Top 25 before beginning a rapid decline. The Rebels fell quickly as they were swept by Tennessee and Alabama before dropping series to South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Arkansas. With all that being said, though, the Rebels have looked more dangerous as of late. They won seven straight games—sweeping Missouri and LSU and beating Southern Miss—and grabbed a win against Texas A&M before dropping a nailbiter to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. Since beating Mississippi State on April 26, the Rebels are 10-5 with a 3.38 team ERA.

  1. Canisius

.404 — Batting average for 2022 MAAC Player of the Year Max Grant

Canisius will have an uphill battle to win a game in a packed Coral Gables regional—the Golden Griffins out of Buffalo, NY are surrounded by blue-bloods. They closed the year on a six-game winning streak, though, and a name to keep an eye on is the MAAC Player of the Year, Max Grant. The second baseman leads his team in AVG, OPS, H, 2B,3B, HR, TB, BB, and HBP—pretty much every category you can think of. What might be most impressive is how balanced he is at the plate: He has a 1.180 OPS in 70 at bats against lefties and a 1.132 OPS in 148 at bats against righties. Over his last 10 games, Grant is slashing .359/.457/.692 with two long balls.

Hattiesburg Regional

  1. Southern Miss (11)

2.91 — Bullpen ERA, second only to Tennessee among tournament teams

3.43 — Rotation ERA, sixth among tournament teams

Two stats may be straying from the formula established in this piece, but it’s worth noting how balanced Southern Mississippi’s pitching staff is. The Golden Eagles have a strong rotation and can turn it over to a talented group of relievers. Combined, Southern Miss pitchers are striking out 30.1% of opposing batters, a mark that surpasses Tennessee by one-tenth of a percent. The trio of Tanner Hall, Hurston Waldrep, and Hunter Riggins have been fantastic in the weekend rotation. Waldrep leads the way with a 36.4 K%, Hall has a remarkable 128:10 K/BB ratio, and Riggins pitches effectively to contact. In the bullpen, it’s an arsenal: Landon Harper (39.2 IP, 45:7 K/BB), Garrett Ramsey (30.2 IP, 33.8 K%), Dalton Rogers (32.1 IP, 39.2 K%), and Tyler Stuart (28 IP) all have ERAs below 2.50.

  1. Louisiana State

10 — Home runs in 16 games this May for Dylan Crews

In the month of May, LSU’s pitching staff has hit some rough patches. The Tigers went 10-6 (1-2 at SEC Tournament) despite scoring nine-plus runs a game. The staff ERA rose from 3.76 in the previous 42 games to 5.19 across 137 innings, a nearly two-point rise. It’s reasonable to suggest that LSU’s staff will have better days when you consider the body of work, but it’s also likely that the offense will have to be at its best if they’re going to make a run. That could be no problem with Dylan Crews leading the charge: He’s totaled 13 extra base hits in his last 16 games with a .397 batting average. The Tigers expect Jacob Berry back, which will be big as he was 12-for-22 in seven games this May before suffering an injury. To make a run, the Tigers will need that potent 1-2 punch.

  1. Kennesaw State

27 & 17 — Length of Josh Hatcher’s two lengthy hitting streaks this season, with the second active going into the tournament

Josh Hatcher hit .189 across 148 at bats with the 2021 National Champions, Mississippi State, but a fresh start proved to be just what he needed. Hatcher has powered the Owls lineup since his arrival, putting together a 27-game hitting streak that spanned from Feb. 25 to Apr. 14, then started a 17-game hitting streak on May 3 that he brings into the Hattiesburg Regional. Hatcher has remarkably hit for the cycle twice and put together a .386/.444/.686 slash line with 25 doubles and 13 home runs, all marks that lead Kennesaw State. In his current 17-game streak, Hatcher boasts a 1.126 OPS and seven home runs in 80 at bats. He might not even be the hottest hitter on the Owls, though—Donovan Cash has six homers and is hitting .392 over that same span.

  1. Army

4 — Straight NCAA Tournament appearances for the Black Knights

Army averaged nine runs per game across five Patriot League Tournament games, dispatching Holy Cross and Bucknell to win its fourth consecutive conference title. It hasn’t been smooth sledding in the past few regionals for the Black Knights, though. Army is 0-4 over the last two tournaments. The Knights upset host NC State back in 2017, but were outscored 23-2 by Auburn and the Wolfpack to quickly exit after three games. Army is hitting .301 as a team, paced by Sam Ruta’s .385 mark.

Corvallis Regional

  1. Oregon State (3)

.984 — Fielding percentage this season, second only to Texas among tournament teams

11 — Number of errors committed in five Pac-12 Tournament games

It was a tough, tough week at the Pac-12 Tournament for the Beavers. They made it to the championship game against Stanford, but it was far from pretty. Oregon State entered the tournament with a sterling .988 fielding percentage, tops in the nation, but watched it drop by four points in five games thanks to 11 errors. The Beavers lost a 25-22 game against UCLA, too, in which they gave up nine runs in the bottom of the ninth and four in the 10th. Still, through all that, they won three games and were tied with Stanford in the seventh inning before allowing four unanswered runs. Oregon State gets to refocus at home, away from the heat, but it was worth noting the experience they went through in Scottsdale, Ariz.

  1. Vanderbilt

89.8% — Team stolen base success rate, tops among NCAA Tournament teams

There’s a lot of numbers you could bring up when you consider Vanderbilt, last year’s runner-ups. The most fascinating one is the team's approach on the basepaths. The Commodores are 88-for-98 on stolen base attempts this year with Enrique Bradfield Jr. accounting for over half of them. Vanderbilt’s speedster is a perfect 43-for-43 on stolen bases this year, undoubtedly contributing to that high percentage, but it’s the other 40 stolen bases that are interesting. Jack Bulger is 7-for-7. Davis Diaz is 4-for-4. Spencer Jones is 12-for-13. Javier Vaz is 8-for-9. The Commodores spread the wealth outside of the guy that everyone in the ballpark knows is going, and they pick their spots effectively.

Enrique Bradfield Jr., stolen bases per game

# of SBs

Count

0

30

1

15

2

9

3

2

4

1

  1. San Diego

47.7% — Percentage of runners thrown out by San Diego catchers

A tantalizing matchup between Bradfield Jr. and San Diego catcher Caleb Ricketts awaits in Corvallis. Ricketts has thrown out 16-of-30 would-be base stealers in 2022, a 53.3 percent clip. As a team, the Tritons lead the country in defending against the run by throwing out almost half of opposing baserunners. It’ll be interesting to see if the Commodores test Ricketts early or stay quiet on the basepaths. Ricketts doesn’t just have a plus arm, though, he’s also leading San Diego in average (.375) and has clubbed a team-high 16 home runs.

  1. New Mexico State

10-20 — New Mexico State’s conference record heading into the WAC Tournament

If you want to pick the ultimate bid-stealer, it’s likely the Aggies. Despite entering the conference tournament 10 games under .500 in WAC play, New Mexico State went on an inspired run and rattled off four straight victories. The Aggies were just a few days removed from snapping an eight-game losing streak when they knocked off Sam Houston State. They followed it up with wins over UT Rio Grande Valley, Sacramento State, and Abilene Christian. The last few times New Mexico State has been in the NCAA Tournament, it’s hung its hat on a potent offense, but it’s a bit more subdued this year—the Aggies are 105th in scoring (6.9 runs per game).

Auburn Regional

  1. Auburn (14)

7th — Coaches projected preseason finish out of seven teams in the SEC West Division

After missing the 2021 NCAA Tournament—just two years after making it to the College World Series—Auburn didn’t have a lot of preseason support. It took until April 4 for the Tigers to crack the Top 25, but they ultimately earned their first host selection since 2010. Auburn’s offense averages nearly seven runs per game, but a lot of that production has come from one man: Sonny DiChiara. He leads the team in all three slash-line categories as well as home runs (18) and RBIs (48, 12 more than the next player). One noteworthy stat—the Tigers had a 5.55 team ERA in conference play, a full point higher than their regular season average.

  1. UCLA

.736 — OPS vs. lefthanders in 2022, compared to an .805 mark against righthanders.

The Bruins face a tall task out of the gate with FSU’s Parker Messick lined up on Friday night. Outside of the team’s top duo of Michael Curialle and Jake Palmer, UCLA has some vulnerabilities against left-handed pitching. As a team, they’re hitting .249 against southpaws, compared to a .285 mark against righthanders. Up and down the lineup, regular contributors have struggled against LHPs. Here’s the next two in OPS:

  • Lefthanded-hitting Ethan Gourson, 2B: .943 OPS in 173 ABs vs. RHP, .650 OPS in 45 ABs vs. LHP
  • Cody Schrier, SS: .923 OPS in 193 ABs vs RHP, .597 OPS in 48 ABs vs LHP

UCLA has some lefty mashers, most notably Curialle (1.208 OPS vs. LHP), but there’s definitely a lack of a punch. The Bruins were shut out twice in the regular season and you might’ve guessed it: Both times southpaws played a big part in it. Harvard’s Tim Williamson struck out six and gave up a lone hit over six innings, while Stanford’s Quinn Matthews went seven scoreless and fanned eight. Just something to keep an eye on vs. Florida State and Parker Messick.

  1. Florida State

4.7 — Runs per game with Ace Parker Messick on the mound, a run lower than the Seminoles’ season average.

The Seminoles have lost five of Messick’s last six starts—and seven of his last nine—which is an unexpected twist considering his general dominance. This has been a combination of some shakier starts by Messick’s high standards and a lack of offensive support. In 41 games that Messick didn’t start, FSU posted a .807 OPS and scored over six runs per game. In his 15 outings? Just under five runs per game and a .707 OBP. For a team that struggles offensively, squandering some of Messick’s fine starts was a part of the reason they sunk to a three-seed. Of course, a part of that is going up against the best of the ACC every Friday night, but the lack of run support paired with any shakiness on Messick’s (13 ER in last 16.1 IP) part could spell trouble in this regional.

  1. Southeastern Louisiana

.483/.582/.933 — Preston Faulkner’s slash line in the month of May (60 at bats)

One of the hottest hitters in the country over the last month dons the green and yellow of Southeastern Louisiana: Preston Faulkner. The fifth-year first baseman has 15 extra base hits in 60 at bats across 16 games in May, posting a 1.515 OPS that trails only VCU’s Tyler Locklear and North Carolina’s Vance Honeycutt among tournament hitters. The Lions needed eight games to win the Southland Conference tournament, and Faulkner clubbed four home runs and hit .545 to help them go 6-2 and knock off No. 1 seed McNeese State.

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