Breakdown: Louisiana teams take aim at 3 NCAA baseball regionals
The days of regionals featuring a host of in-state teams is not over but it is no longer a given.
While Stanford will host an all-California regional, no other regional among the 16 NCAA Baseball regional sites announced Monday will include no more than two teams from any particular state.
Louisiana has three teams in the 64-team field with LSU as a host. While it would have been nice (and convenient) to see Southern remain home in Baton Rouge and to see McNeese at Alex Box Stadium this weekend, that will not happen.
LSU earned the 13th seed overall in the tournament, and the reward was an interesting, tough regional in Baton Rouge.
The Tigers (37-24) are the top seed and will face a very familiar opponent, by name, in Stony Brook (32-21).
It seems like just yesterday when the Seawolves emerged from nowhere to shock LSU in the 2012 Super Regional round in Baton Rouge.
LSU won the opening game of the Super Regional 5-4 but it took 12 innings on a walk-off RBI single by Mason Katz and it was an indicator of how difficult the SeaWolves would be.
Stony Brook rebounded to win 3-1 on Saturday and 7-2 on Sunday to advance to the College World Series.
It was a stunning development. No one expected it. At the conclusion of the regional, which I covered, there was no doubt that the better team won.
While the players are different, Paul Mainieri will no doubt answer many questions about that regional this week. There is also no doubt that he will remind his players about what happened seven years ago.
Stony Brook won the America East tournament, beating Binghamton 7-5 in the title game. The Seawolves bat .278 as a team with 36 home runs and 61 stolen bases. Pitching is not a strength as Stony Brook has a 5.33 team ERA.
Bret Clarke is the top pitcher. Clarke is unbeaten (7-0) with a 3.75 ERA. He has allowed just 53 hits in 60 innings pitched with 46 strikeouts and 33 walks. Sam Turcotte is the closer with 4-2 mark and a 3.96 ERA with six saves. Clarke has 45 strikeouts in 38 and two-thirds innings pitched.
Center fielder Michael Wilson is the top hitter with a .346 average with nine home runs and 43 RBI. Clean-up hitter and right fielder Brandon Alamo is hitting .342 with three home runs and 31 RBI. Shortstop and leadoff hitter Nick Grande is batting .339 with five home runs, 23 RBI and 19 stolen bases. First baseman Chris Hamilton is hitting .314 with eight home runs and 40 RBI.
The Tigers hit .271 as a team with 58 home runs and 54 stolen bases. Josh Smith is the top hitter at .343 with eight home runs, 38 RBI and 17 stolen bases while Antoine Duplantis is batting .316 with 11 home runs and 61 RBI. Zach Watson is at .312 with five home runs, 34 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
LSU pitching has been the issue, with a 4.73 team ERA. There is no top starter. Eric Walker is 5-4 with a 5.32 ERA, Landon Marceaux is 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA and Cole Henry is 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA. The bullpen is better now with Zach Hess joining Todd Peterson and Matthew Beck as good options.
The other matchup in Baton Rouge has Conference USA tournament champion Southern Miss (38-19) vs. Arizona State (37-17) out of the Pac 12 conference.
The Golden Eagles lost their final three regular season series’ in conference play but rebounded in a big way in Biloxi this past weekend.
USM no-hit Rice in the semifinal and shutout favored Florida Atlantic in the title game, ending the regional with 19 straight scoreless innings by its pitchers.
Junior outfielder Matt Walner is the all-time leader in home runs in USM history with 54. He was 7-of-16 with two homers and four RBI to earn Most Valuable Player honors in the tournament.
The Golden Eagles hit .287 as a team with 60 home runs but just 42 stolen bases. The team ERA is a respectable 4.10.
Walker Powell is 6-2 with a 2.78 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched in his 15 starts. Stevie Powers is 5-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 13 starts (14 appearances). Hunter Stanley has four saves while Sean Tweedy is 6-1 with a 3.37 ERA in 25 relief appearances.
Arizona State was 16-13 in the Pac 10. The Sun Devils are a very good hitting team, batting .307 while leading the nation with 92 home runs with just 34 stolen bases. Spencer Torkelson is batting .348 with 21 home runs and 60 RBI while Hunter Bishop is hitting .347 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI. Trevor Hauver is hitting .333 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI in a power-packed lineup.
The team ERA is 4.59. Alec Marsh is the top pitcher with a 9-3 record and a 3.17 ERA. Marsh has 92 strikeouts in 96 and two-thirds innings pitched. The bullpen has good options in Erik Tolman (3-1, 2.83, 2 saves), Chaz Montoya (3-0, 3.18 ERA, 2 saves) and RJ Dabovich, who has three saves.
Southern (32-22) is in the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade and the Jaguars, who won the SWAC Tournament in New Orleans, face a tough task against No. 6 national seed Mississippi State (46-13) at Starkville.
Tyler LaPorte, the Co-SWAC Player of the Year, leads the way for Southern. Eli Finney made two fine starts in the tournament win while SWAC Relief Pitcher of the Year Connor Whalen is an excellent option out of the bullpen. Javeyan Williams, Johnny Johnson and Bobby Johnson are good players as well, along with former Rummel outfielder Ashanti Wheatley another solid, veteran player. Southern had a good home win over LSU this season.
Mississippi State (46-13) has no apparent weakness.
The Bulldogs hit .316 as a team, led by record-setting Jake Mangum at .363 with a home run, 39 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Tanner Allen is batting .346 with six home runs and 61 RBI. Justin Foscue is batting .339 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.
Ethan Small leads the pitching staff at 8-2 with a 1.80 ERA. Small has been dominant, allowing just 48 hits in 90 innings with 150 strikeouts. JT Ginn is 8-4 with a 3.49 ERA. Small has allowed just 66 hits in 77 and a third innings with 100 strikeouts. Cole Gordon is 4-0 with nine saves while Jared Liebelt has five saves. The Bulldogs have an impressive 3.57 team ERA.
The other matchup in Starkville has Central Michigan (46-12) taking on Miami (39-18).
The Chippewas are batting .302 as a team with just 29 home runs but with 88 stolen bases.
Warren Zavier leads the offense, batting .356 with eight home runs, 68 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Zach Giles is hitting .354 with 33 RBI and 20 stolen bases. Griffin Lockwood-Powell is hitting .353 with 11 home runs and 74 RBI.
Central Michigan has a pair of aces in Cameron Brown and Pat Leatherman. Brown is 10-0 with a 2.72 ERA. In 96 innings, Brown has allowed just 76 hits and has 78 strikeouts. Leatherman is 10-1 with a 2.56 ERA. Leatherman has 83 strikeouts in 84 and a third innings while allowing just 65 hits. Cameron Miller has five saves.
Miami (39-18) are a good young team with a host of solid freshmen. The Hurricanes were 18-12 in the tough ACC. Miami hits .289 as a team, led by JP Gates at .346 with four home runs and 30 RBI. Adrian Del Castillo is hitting .329 with nine home runs and 65 RBI and Raymond Gil is at .312 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI. Jordan Lala has 28 stolen bases for a team with 75 stolen bases and 75 home runs.
The Hurricanes have a solid 3.88 ERA, led by Brian Van Belle, who is 9-2 with a 3.30 ERA. In 87 and a third innings, Van Belle has allowed 83 hits and has 76 strikeouts. Slade Cecconi is 5-3 with a 4.09 ERA while the bullpen is very good as Greg Veliz is 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA with nine saves. Veliz has allowed just 30 hits in 40 and a third innings with 65 strikeouts. Daniel Federman is 3-4 with a 3.09 ERA with seven saves. Federman has 57 strikeouts in 46 and two-third innings.
McNeese (35-24) earned its bid by winning the Southland Conference tournament. The Cowboys were placed into a tough regional in Nashville hosted by Vanderbilt, but the SLC auto bid winners will open with Indiana State (41-16).
The Cowboys bat .275, led by Jake Dickerson, who is batting .317 with three home runs, 32 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Clayton Rasbeary is hitting .311 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI and Nate Fisbeck is batting .304 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI. Reid Bourque has 20 stolen bases.
McNeese has a 4.16 team ERA. Rhett Deaton is 8-4 with a 3.83 ERA. Deaton has allowed just 77 hits in 91 and a third innings. Aidan Anderson has seven wins and seven saves while Will Dion has six saves.
Indiana State is batting .267 as a team. Jarrod Watkins tops the Sycamores at .312 with two home runs and 32 RBI. Clay Dungan is batting .298 with nine home runs and 34 RBI and Max Wright is at .287 with four home runs and 35 RBI.
Indiana State has good pitching, with a team ERA of 3.60. Collin Liberatore is 10-1 with a 2.78 ERA. Liberatore has allowed just 70 hits in 97 innings with 72 strikeouts. Triston Polley is 7-1 with a 2.53 ERA and three complete games. In 99 and two-third innings, Polley has allowed just 76 hits and has 84 strikeouts. Tyler Grauer has eight saves while Tyler Ward has five saves.
Vanderbilt (49-10) is the No. 2 national seed, and the Commodores will take on Ohio State (34-25) in the opening round.
The Commodores may very well be the nation’s top team. Of course, they won a national title in 2014.
Vanderbilt bats. .319 with 82 home runs and 69 stolen bases.
Austin Martin is batting .414 with six home runs and 36 RBI with 17 stolen bases while J.J. Bleday is hitting .357 with 26 home runs and 67 RBI. Stephen Scott is hitting .335 with 11 homers and 51 RBI.
On the mound, the Commodores have a 3.80 team ERA. Patrick Roby is 9-1, Drake Fellows is 11-0 and Mason Hickman is 7-0. Kumar Rocker has eight wins and Tyler Brown is a brilliant closer with a 3-1 record and a 2.01 ERA and 14 saves.
Ohio State won the Big 10 conference tournament. The Buckeyes bat .268 as a team with 64 home runs but only 37 stolen bases.
Dominic Canzone leads the offense with a .351 average with 15 home runs and 42 RBI. Brady Cherry is hitting .300 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI. Dillon Dingler is batting .295 with three home runs and 17 RBI.
On the mound, Ohio State has a 4.66 team ERA. Seth Lonsway is 8-4 with a 3.65 ERA. In 88 and two-third innings, Lonsway has allowed just 72 hits and has 122 strikeouts. Griffan Smith is 6-4 while Andrew Magno is a superb closer with a 4-3 record and a 2.33 ERA and 13 saves. Magno has allowed just 38 hits in 54 innings and has 59 strikeouts.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…