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REGIONAL PREVIEW: WICHITA AND ROUND ROCK
May 31, 2007

Wichita | Round Rock

SCS.com Ranked as the number four national seed coming into regional play, the Texas Longhorns will host their weekend regional in neighboring Round Rock. Traveling to take on the 'Horns will be second-seeded UC Irvine and third-seeded Wake Forest, as well as Ivy League champ Brown. The winner of that bracket will take on the winner from Wichita next week. The Shockers, like all other hosts this spring, are the top seed at home, and they welcome in a tough number two seed in Arizona, as well as both Oral Roberts and New Orleans.

WICHITA REGIONAL
  vs Round Rock Regional

The Field

(1) Wichita State
The Shockers, perhaps the most surprising choice as a regional host this spring, come into postseason play just one win shy of 50 overall and sporting an impressive 20-4 league mark in 2007. They took home the regular season Missouri Valley championship before falling to Creighton in the conference tournament title game.
(2) Arizona
Second place in the Pac 10 was not good enough to garner the Wildcats a hosting position this spring. Arizona went 40-15 overall and 15-9 in league play but dropped four of their final five conference series, which probably was the largest factor that sent the 'Cats packing for postseason play.
(3) Oral Roberts
The Golden Eagles out of the Mid-Continent Conference are always a pesky bunch, and this season is no different. They, like UA, went 40-15 this season, and impressively enough, they lost just one league game all year long on their way to earning both the Mid-Con regular season and tournament titles.
(4) New Orleans
The Privateers have battled numerous issues in relation to Hurricane Katrina but put together a squad that went 37-24 this season. After finishing in a tie for second place in the Sun Belt this spring, UNO pulled off the upset of ULL in the conference tournament title game to earn this automatic berth.

The Venue

Eck Stadium, known for its famous "Coleman Hill" featuring two pavilions and terrances, underwent a $7.8 million renovation effort in the late 1990s, making it one of the more luxurious college parks in the country. Ranked as the sixth best college stadium in the nation by Baseball America in 2003, Eck can seat nearly 8000 fans and features 18 skyboxes for top-of-the-line accomodations. Just last year, a brand new video board with instant replay capabilities was addded to enhance the entire college baseball experience even more.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Preston Guilmet, Arizona - The sophomore from California is one of the nation's premier pitchers. In 16 starts this spring, he has compiled an 11-2 record and 1.79 ERA. Over 126 innings pitched, he's walked just 30 while striking out 133.
Runner-up: Jeremy Hefner, Oral Roberts
Relief Pitcher - Noah Krol, Wichita State - The senior, who also plays in the field at times for Wichita State, has been stellar out of the pen this year. In 22 appearances, he's thrown 30 innings and struck out 40 while compiling a 1-1 record and impressive 1.50 ERA.
Runner-up: Chance Chapman, Oral Roberts and Adam Campbell, New Orleans
Infielder - Damon Sublett, Wichita State - The junior from right there in Wichita, who can also pitch for the Shockers, has lived up to his preseason expectations. He comes into regional play hitting .350 with five homeruns and 41 RBI to go along with 14 stolen bases.
Runner-up: T.J. Baxter and Nick Schwaner, New Orleans
Outfielder - Bill Rhinehart, Arizona - The senior out of California leads the Wildcats in hitting at .362, and he's also knocked 11 balls out of the yard this season. His 59 runs driven in are among the best on the team, as is his .629 slugging percentage.
Runner-up: Brad Glenn, Arizona
Homerun Hitter - Johnny Giavotella and Drew Anderson, New Orleans - These guys are two of five Privateers who have hit 11 or more homers this spring. Giavotella and Anderson have 15 each, and the former actually leads the squad with a .373 batting average as well.
Runner-up: C.J. Ziegler, Arizona
Coach - Gene Stephenson, Wichita State - Stephenson took over a program that was literally non-existent in 1977 and turned it into an annual contender. He is currently the NCAA's winningest active coach in Division I in terms of winning percentage (1552-511-3, .752), and he achieved 1200 wins in just 22 years, quicker than any other DI coach in history.
Runner-up: Andy Lopez, Arizona

The Forecast

It was a surprise to some that Wichita State was awarded a regional host site, so the Shockers will definitely be among those teams most often picked to be upset at home. With four starters boasting ERAs under 2.60 though, that won't be easy. If there's a team up the challenge, however, it might be the Arizona Wildcats. Andy Lopez's squad doesn't have the impressive pitching numbers that the WSU staff does, but a second place finish in the always-challenging Pac 10 is certainly noteworthy.
And don't forget about Oral Roberts and New Orleans, either. The Golden Eagles always boast a strong team, and this year is no different. Facing Hefner to start the game with the possibility of Chapman coming out of the pen is something no team will look forward to. New Orleans, meanwhile, had a successful regular season and now has a boost of confidence after their upset of UL-Lafayette in the Sun Belt tourney. With five guys in the lineup who have hit double-digit homeruns, this team can put runs on the board in a hurry and is capable of pulling an upset or two along the way, just as they did last weekend.

The Predictions

Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
Wichita State Wichita State Arizona

ROUND ROCK REGIONAL
  vs Wichita Regional

The Field

(1) Texas [#5]
The Longhorns are again right where they've been for much of this decade, sitting at home for regional play with a national seed in their back pocket following a stellar regular season. The 2007 campaign saw UT claim first place in the Big XII after putting together a 21-6 league mark and 44-15 overall record.
(2) UC Irvine
You may not know much about the Big West Conference, but the Anteaters will attest that it's no easy task with the likes of Cal State-Fullerton, Long Beach State, and UC Riverside on the schedule from week to week. Irvine survived quite nicely though, going 15-6 in conference play and 40-15 overall to earn the at-large berth.
(3) Wake Forest
Though the Demon Deacons finished a pair of games below .500 in ACC play and actually just six games above the break-even mark overall, they were awarded one of the final at-large berths to this year's NCAA tournament after losing to UNC in the ACC Tournamnet title game.
(4) Brown
A 27-19 overall record and 14-6 mark in Ivy League play was enough to earn the Bears a matchup with Penn in the conference playoffs. Brown took that series 2-0 to earn the only automatic berth in this regional.

The Venue

Though the University of Texas is hosting this regional, they will do so about 25 miles to the north in Round Rock, Texas at the Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express, the AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros. In 2003, Baseball America called the facility, which can seat nearly 9000 in the stands and more than 3000 in the outfield grass, the "Best Double-A Ballpark in the Country." Crowds of over 11,000 are no stranger to the Dell Diamond, so there should be no trouble packing the Longhorn faithful into the ballyard this weekend.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Adrian Alaniz, Texas - The junior righty is the Longhorns' ace on a staff full of quality arms. In 15 starts this spring, he has compiled a 12-2 record and 2.58 ERA while throwing 97 innings and striking out 84.
Runner-up: Wes Etheridge, UC Irvine
Relief Pitcher - Blair Erickson, UC Irvine - This senior right-hander is who the Anteaters turn to when it's time to close things down. In 24 appearances this year, he's thrown 21 innings, picking up 13 saves, striking out 28 batters, and putting together a 2.57 ERA
Runner-up: Josh Ellis, Wake Forest
Infielder - Chance Wheeless, Texas - The Longhorns' first baseman is as solid as they come. While fielding at an impressive .988 clip in the field, the senior is also leading the team with a .377 batting average at the plate.
Runner-up: Bradley Suttle, Texas
Outfielder - Kyle Russell, Texas - One of the premier hitters in the college game today, this sophomore is batting .341 while also leading the nation with 27 homeruns this season as the Longhorns' right fielder.
Runner-up: Ryan Murphy, Brown
Homerun Hitter - Kyle Russell, Texas - Sure, we've already mentioned this guy once, but he's worth mentioning at least once more. His homerun total of 27 is rarely seen in the college game these days.
Runner-up: Cody Cipriano, UC Irvine; Allan Dykstra, Wake Forest; Devin Thomas, Brown
Coach - Augie Garrido, Texas - A true college baseball legend, Garrido has taken the Horns to the College World Series five of the last six seasons, including national title runs in both 2002 and 2005. Throw in numerous conference titles, his achievement as the all-time winningest coach in college baseball history, and his past success at Cal State-Fullerton, and you have a man that will be remembered for many, many years to come.
Runner-up: Rick Rembielak, Wake Forest

The Forecast

Most feel that this is regional is the Longhorns to lose, and with their recent postseason success and stellar record so far this season, there is no reason to feel otherwise. Texas boasts perhaps the nation's best longball hitter in Kyle Russell and one of the country's premier starting pitchers in Adrian Alaniz. With that said, though, the likes of UC Irvine, Wake Forest, and Brown aren't ready to give in just yet. The Anteaters have been impressive all year, working their way to a 40-15 overall record and a 15-6 mark in the Big West that earned them a tie for second place on their way to an at-large bid into Round Rock.
Wake Forest, meanwhile, was among the last teams awarded an at-large bid after they closed out the conference tournament with a one-run loss to North Carolina in the championship game. The Deacons don't look all that impressive on paper, so it will be interesting to see how they fare early on in Round Rock. Brown, finally, could make a bit of noise, especially if ace starter Jeff Dietz is on his game against the Longhorns on Friday. The junior is 9-3 with a 2.53 ERA this year and has struck out 81 in 89 innings pitched.
Will anyone be able to challenge the homestanding Horns, or will they march easily into the Super Regional round?

The Predictions

Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
UC Irvine Texas Texas
U.S.A.
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