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2008 REGIONAL PREVIEW: TEMPE & LONG BEACH
May 28, 2008

SCS.com Arizona State has been to Omaha 20 times, but last won the national championship in 1981. This year the Sun Devils are the #3 national seed and will host at Packard Stadium in Tempe. In the Tempe regional, Vanderbilt travels from Nashville as the 2 seed and will play Oklahoma, the 3 seed. Stony Brook, the 4 seed, will have the difficult task of playing #3 national seed Arizona State. The regional paired with Tempe, the Long Beach regional, is what many say to be the toughest regional of the NCAA Tournament as three top 20 teams will play to advance to the Super Regionals. Long Beach State will play 4 seed Fresno State while San Diego, the 2 seed, will face the 3 seed Cal. Both the Tempe and Long Beach regionals will showcase some of the better teams in the West as Arizona State, Long Beach State, San Diego, and Cal will all play with one of those clubs making it to Omaha for the College World Series.

TEMPE REGIONAL
  vs Long Beach Regional

The Field

(1) Arizona State [#3 national seed]
The Sun Devils (45-11) won the Pac-10 with a 16-8 conference record and have the top offensive trio in the nation in Brett Wallace, Ike Davis, and Jason Kipnis. Pat Murphyís club is 35-3 at home this year.
(2) Vanderbilt
Tim Corbinís club under achieved a bit this season but still finished with a 15-14 record in the SEC, a conference which got 9 teams into the NCAA Tournament. The Commodores (40-20) are an inconsistent club but are capable of pulling off the upset in Tempe this weekend.
(3) Oklahoma
The Sooners (34-24) are the team that people are wondering how they got into the NCAA postseason. With a 9-17 Big 12 record, Oklahoma still managed to find a way to prolong their season.
(4) Stony Brook
Winners of the America East tournament, the Seawolves (34-24) earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament. They will have to play host Arizona State, who is almost unbeatable at home this year (35-3).

The Venue

Packard Stadium, known as one of the most beautiful ballparks in the nation, will host the Tempe regional. Like mentioned earlier, Arizona State is 35-3 this season at Packard Stadium, which holds over 4,000.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Mike Leake, Arizona State - Leake is one of the better pitchers in the Pac-10, boasting a 9-2 record with a 3.18 ERA. In his brief two year career at ASU, he owns a 22-4 record. Heís not too shabby at the plate either, owning a .341 average on the year in a little over 40 at-bats.
Runner-up: Mike Minor, Vanderbilt
Relief Pitcher - Tommy Rafferty, Arizona State - When you look at Raffertyís numbers (11-0, 3.66 ERA), you would think heís a starter. But Rafferty is ASUís top relief pitcher, owning also four saves on the season. Itís safe to say that ASU will not lose when Rafferty comes into the game.
Runner-up: Russell Brewer, Vanderbilt
Infielder - Brett Wallace, Arizona State - Wallace might be the best player in college baseball this season, having ridiculous numbers on the year- .412, 20 HR, 78 RBI along with a .527 on-base percentage. He will more than likely win back-to-back Pac-10 Triple Crowns and should be a top 15 pick in the upcoming MLB Draft.
Runner-up: Ryan Flaherty, Vanderbilt
Outfielder - Jason Kipnis, Arizona State - Kipnis transferred from Kentucky and is having a great sophomore campaign for the Sun Devils. On the season, Kipnis owns a .367 batting average and has 13 homeruns with 67 RBIs. Heís one of the more underrated players in the country.
Runner-up: David Macias, Vanderbilt
Homerun Hitter - Ike Davis, Arizona State - This category could easily go to Brett Wallace and his 20 homeruns, but Ike Davis (.378, 16 HR, 68 RBI, 25 2B) with his 41 extra-base hits on the season might lead the nation. Davis has put up these monstrous numbers even with being out due to injury for about three weeks this year.
Runner-up: Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt
Coach - Pat Murphy, Arizona State - Murphy has led the Sun Devils to Omaha three times in his fourteen year stint as ASU head coach. He is known as one of the best coaches in the nation as his teams play hard and never give up.
Runner-up: Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt

The Forecast

Arizona State, the #3 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, was dealt a pretty tough 2 seed in Vanderbilt. Oklahoma and Stony Brook arenít good enough to compete with the likes of Arizona State and Vanderbilt in the Tempe regional. On Sunday, it should be Arizona State and Vandy playing with a Super Regional berth on the line. The Sun Devils beat the Dores 18-6 earlier in the year in Tempe but Vandy was without likely top MLB draft choice Pedro Alvarez. If Arizona State doesnít play well and Vandy plays like they can, thereís a good chance the Commodores could upset the #3 national seed. But with a 35-3 record at home this year, Arizona State is nearly unbeatable in Tempe.

The Predictions

Eddie Jason Jimmy Jonathan
Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State

LONG BEACH REGIONAL
  vs Tempe Regional

The Field

(1) Long Beach State
The Dirtbags (37-19) won their first Big West championship since 2003, finishing the year with a conference record of 16-8. LBSU is no stranger to the NCAA postseason, as they have reached Omaha four times in their history.
(2) San Diego
The Toreros (41-15) are one of the better 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament field as they appeared in the top 10 of various national polls for most of the year. San Diego is a team that could advance to Omaha solely on how strong their pitching has been this year.
(3) Cal
The Golden Bears (33-19-2) deserved better from the selection committee than a 3 seed with Long Beach State and San Diego as the 1 and 2 seeds respectively. Thought to be a 1 seed for most of the year, Cal, a top 20 club, has a serious chance of winning the Long Beach regional.
(4) Fresno State
Winners of their third straight WAC title, the Bulldogs (37-27) are one of the better 4 seeds in the tournament field. Fresno State has an ace in Tanner Scheppers that could cause trouble for host Long Beach State in the first game.

The Venue

Hosting the Long Beach regional this weekend will be Blair Field, a facility that has a capacity of 3,000. Itís believed that more future Major Leaguers have played at Blair Field than anywhere else in the country.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Brian Matusz, San Diego - The Toreros ace is one of the best pitchers in college baseball, if not the best, seen in his 11-2 record and 1.88 ERA. In 96 innings, Matusz has struck out 131 batters and is holding opposing offenses to a .219 average. No team wants to have to face this pitcher, and Cal has the pleasure of doing just that.
Runner-up: Andrew Liebel, Long Beach State
Relief Pitcher - A.J. Griffin, San Diego - Griffin, who boasts a 1.96 ERA to go along with 13 saves on the year, is the lights out closer that every manager would die to have. He holds opposing hitters to a .192 clip and has only given 30 hits in 41.1 innings on the season.
Runner-up: Bryan Shaw, Long Beach State
Infielder - Josh Satin, Cal - The Golden Bears second baseman boasts numbers one would expect from a corner infielder or DH- .388, 18 HR, 52 RBI on the season. Satin along with David Cooper anchor Calís offensive attack, which has hit .308 on the year to go along with 74 homeruns.
Runner-up: Alan Ahmady, Fresno State
Outfielder - James Meador, San Diego - Meador isnít much of a power hitter as he has only 6 homeruns on the year, but itís his .385 batting average and total of 51 RBIs that makes him an elite outfielder. The Toreros outfielder is the leader of a San Diego offense that currently owns a .307 batting average.
Runner-up: Jason Corder, Long Beach State
Homerun Hitter - David Cooper, Cal - Cooper, a junior first baseman who transferred from Cal State Fullerton two years ago, is one of the best long ball hitters in college baseball. On the season, Cooper has hit 19 homeruns to go along with a .363 average and 55 RBIs.
Runner-up: Blake Smith, Cal
Coach - Mike Weathers, Long Beach State - Under Weathersí direction since 2001, the Dirtbags have hosted three Regionals, made it to back-to-back Super Regionals (2003-2004), and posted back-to-back 40 win seasons. The Long Beach State skipper also served as head coach for Team USA over the past summer, which goes a long way in showing how highly he is thought of around the nation.

The Forecast

When the NCAA selection committee put the Long Beach regional together, they put three top 20 teams in it with Long Beach State, San Diego, and Cal along with a very tough 4 seed in Fresno State. This regional is up for grabs, as many in the college baseball world see this regional to be very balanced. Thereís not really a dominant team in Long Beach this weekend, so predicting who will win is very difficult. Long Beach State has played well at home in the past in the postseason, San Diego has great pitching, and Cal has an explosive offensive. The Long Beach regional is the toughest in the NCAA Tournament field and the winner will come out battle tested for the Super Regionals.

The Predictions

Eddie Jason Jimmy Jonathan
San Diego San Diego San Diego Long Beach State
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