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REGIONAL PREVIEW: TEMPE & OXFORD
May 30, 2007

Tempe | Oxford

SCS.com Arizona State boasts one of the best hitting teams in the nation, and that is one reason they've earned a national seed and the right to host the Tempe Regional this weekend. Joining the Sun Devils out west will be UC Riverside, one of the country's more dangerous mid-majors, as well as both Nebraska and Monmouth from farther east. Meanwhile in Oxford, the hometown Rebels of Mississippi will welcome in-state foe Southern Miss to town as the two seed in addition to hosting both Troy and Sam Houston State. With the Devils and Rebs on a collision course, will anyone be able to step in their way?

TEMPE REGIONAL
  vs Oxford Regional

The Field

(1) Arizona State [#5]
Known as the best hitting club in the nation, the Sun Devils come in as the #5 national seed. Pat Murphyís squad will host a regional in Tempe after finishing 43-13 during the regular season with a 19-5 Pac 10 record.
(2) UC Riverside
Winners of the Big West after a 16-5 record in conference play, the Highlanders are the kind of that could pull off the upset of the host Arizona State. UC Riversideís most successful season up to this date is seen in their 37-19 overall record.
(3) Nebraska
The Cornhuskers performed below expectations this year but will still play in the NCAA Tournament due to their RPI of 32. After finishing the Big 12 season at 14-13, Nebraska will face UC Riverside in the first round.
(4) Monmouth
The Hawks were the tournament champs of the Northeast conference and earned an automatic bid to face the Sun Devils. Monmouth was 36-22 on the season with a Northeast record of 17-10.

The Venue

Packard Stadium will be the host of the Tempe Regional. Known as one of the most beautiful collegiate ballparks in the nation, Packard Stadiumís backdrop includes a view of the Arizona desert and mountains. The ASU home diamond has a capacity over 4000, and its dimensions are 338 in left and right, and 395 to center. Packard Stadium has seen 2 national championship Sun Devil teams come through, and itís a ballpark with a lot of tradition. Fans of the teams in this regional will be treated to a spectacular ballpark this weekend in Tempe.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Josh Satow, Arizona State - The Sun Devils ace has been brilliant on the year for Pat Murphyís Pac 10 regular season champion squad. On the season, Satow has a record of 11-3 with an ERA of 2.23. He has limited batters to a .225 average, allowing only 95 hits in 117 innings.
Runner-up: James Simmons, UC Riverside
Relief Pitcher - Joe Kelly, UC Riverside - Although he has only 6 saves, Kelly owns an ERA of 0.68 on the season. The freshman righthander has a 3-1 record for UC Riverside and has allowed only 2 earned runs in 26.1 innings of work.
Runner-up: Jason Jarvis, Arizona State
Infielder - Eric Sogard, Arizona State - Kiel Rolling should also be on this list after hitting .365 with 13 HRís and 57 RBIís on the season, but he is a catcher. Sogard was named the Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year after committing only 7 errors this season at second base. Sogardís bat is also exceptional, as seen is his .390 average on the year with 10 HRís and 53 RBIís.
Runner-up: Jaime Pedroza, UC Riverside
Outfielder - Matt Spencer, Arizona State - After transferring prior to the season from UNC, Spencer has been dynamic for Arizona State. Although he pitches some, Spencerís bat is what is most impressive. For Pat Murphy this year, he has hit .381 with 8 HRís and 46 RBIís.
Runner-up: Aaron Wible, UC Riverside
Homerun Hitter - Brett Wallace, Arizona State - The Pac 10 Player of the Year is arguably the best first baseman in the nation. He should also be on the best infielder list, as he has only 4 errors on the year. When Wallace steps to the plate, you know something is about to happen. On the season, he is hitting .426 with 15 HRís and 73 RBIís.
Runner-up: Kiel Rolling, Arizona State
Coach - Pat Murphy, Arizona State - The Arizona State head man has been exceptional in his career as Sun Devils coach, never producing less than 35 wins in a season. Known as a "playerís coach," Murphy is an icon in college baseball. He last led the Sun Devils to the College World Series in 2005.
Runner-up: Mike Anderson, Nebraska

The Forecast

In this regional in Tempe, AZ, the Arizona State Sun Devils are obviously the favorite. But with teams like UC Riverside and Nebraska being in the regional, anything can happen. UC Riverside is a team that hits for some power, but its strength is its pitching, while Nebraska is the kind of squad that has the experience.
Arizona State is an all-around fundamentally sound team, with their hitting being their best trait. With a team average of .349 and with seven batters hitting over .349, itís easy to see why some think that Arizona State is the best hitting team in the country. With starters Josh Satow and Mike Leake, the pitching staff is also solid. Look for Arizona Stateís exceptional hitting and fielding to carry them to the Super Regionals next week.

The Predictions

Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State

OXFORD REGIONAL
  vs Tempe Regional

The Field

(1) Mississippi
The Rebels lost a heartbreaker to #1 Vandy in the SEC Tourney in the bottom of the 10th inning after leading by 3 runs. UM, led by starting pitchers Will Kline and Lance Lynn, comes in with a conference record of 16-14, while their record on the season is 37-23.
(2) Southern Miss
The Golden Eagles finished 3rd in the Conference USA Tournament after finishing with a league record of 14-10. They will carry their 38-21 overall record with them on a short ride up to Oxford.
(3) Troy
The Trojans were one of the most controversial teams to make the NCAA Tourney. Nonetheless, Troy will bring their 34-25 record and a 16-14 Sun Belt mark to Oxford to be the 3 seed.
(4) Sam Houston State
The Bearkats finished 4th in the Southland conference with an 18-12 record during the regular season, but because they won their conference tournament, they will travel to Oxford to play the Rebels.

The Venue

Swayze Field is the host of the Oxford Regional for the 4th straight year. Known as one of the best places to watch a college baseball game, Mississippi fans pack this stadium week in and week out to watch their beloved Rebels. The unique thing about this park is the outfield grass berm, which is usually packed with UM fraternities having a good time. The home of the Rebels is one of the best venues for college baseball in the nation, and this weekend should be another example as to why itís so special.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Lance Lynn, Mississippi - The 6í4, 270 pound righthander made 2nd team All-SEC this year for the Rebels. On the year, Lynn has a 7-4 record with a 2.77 ERA. He has struck out 130 batters in 107.1 innings and has held opponents to a batting average of .214.
Runner-up: Will Kline, Mississippi
Relief Pitcher - Josh Dew, Troy - The Trojan closer might be one of the best at his position in the nation. Dew has a 7-2 record on the year with 10 saves and a 2.56 ERA. In only 63.1 innings, he has struck out 96 opposing batters.
Runner-up: Patrick Ezell, Southern Miss
Infielder - Zack Cozart, Mississippi - Although his numbers have slightly decreased since last year, thereís no question that Cozart is the best fielding shortstop in America. He makes plays look easy, and along with his glove, Cozart is hitting .300 with 5 HRís and 41 RBIís on the year. The Rebel shortstop is due for a big weekend.
Runner-up: Trey Sutton, Southern Miss
Outfielder - Justin Henry and Jordan Henry, Mississippi - These two brothers who play in the outfield are very exciting to watch if youíre a Rebel fan. Justin is hitting .378 on the season, while younger brother Jordan is hitting at a clip of .365. They both have double digit steals on the year, with Justin having 21 and Jordan swiping 12. Both Justin and Jordan are also excellent defensively for the Rebels.
Runner-up: Bobby Verbick, Sam Houston State
Homerun Hitter - Clint Robinson, Troy - One of the many power sources for the Trojans, Robinson has also been the best hitter for Troy. On the year, he has belted 17 HRís and recorded 69 RBIís while maintaining a .359 average.
Runner-up: Cody Overbeck, Mississippi
Coach - Mike Bianco, Mississippi - Known as one of the best coaches in the college baseball world, Bianco has built a strong program at Mississippi. Before he came, the Rebel program was really nothing, but since he has taken over the reigns, the UM squad is making strides. After losing to Miami at home in the Super Regionals last year, maybe this will be the year that Bianco finally lands the Rebels to the College World Series.
Runner-up: Corky Palmer, Southern Miss

The Forecast

With teams like Southern Miss and Troy only a few hours away from Swayze Field on the campus of the University of Mississippi, this regional should really provide some excitement for the fans. The Rebel fans support their beloved baseball team more than any other team Iíve ever seen after making the trip to Hoover last weekend for the SEC Tournament. The strength of UM is their starting pitching, led by Will Kline and Lance Lynn. If they can get more consistent pitching from reliever Cody Satterwhite, this could be a team that could be in Omaha in a few weeks. The Henry brothers, along with Cozart, form a formidable trio in the Rebel lineup. When UM is finding its stride at the plate, itís impossible for most teams to beat them.
Southern Miss will bring fans to Swayze and could pull off the upset, but UM is likely too strong of a team to fall at home in the regionals. Troy can hit, but their staff ERA of 5.54 isnít very good. Look for Rebel starting pitching to carry them to a successful regional win.

The Predictions

Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
Mississippi Mississippi Mississippi
U.S.A.
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