2014 NCAA College Baseball Tournament Preview

Joey Pankake - Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

An overview of all 16 regionals, five 2014 draft prospects to watch in each regional, and my bold predictions sure to go wrong.

Regional Round -- May 30-June 2 (double-elimination at campus sites)

CORVALLIS REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 11 p.m. on ESPNU: No. 3 UC Irvine (35-22) vs. No. 2 UNLV (35-23)
Game 2, 5 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Oregon State (42-12) vs. No. 4 North Dakota State (25-24)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Michael Conforto - OF - Oregon State

2. Dylan Davis - RF - Oregon State

3. Jace Fry - LHP - Oregon State

4. Ben Wetzler - LHP - Oregon State

5. Taylor Sparks - 3B - UC Irvine

(Note: Erick Fedde not listed obviously because he's hurt.)

My Prediction: Oregon State is the "Best in the West" for a reason and should have little trouble advancing to the Super Regionals. UNLV may have been in play here had Fedde been healthy.

STILLWATER REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 1 p.m. on ESPNU: No. 3 Cal State Fullerton (32-22) vs. No. 2 Nebraska (40-19)
Game 2, 7 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Oklahoma State (45-16) vs. No. 4 Binghamton (25-25)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Matt Chapman - 3B - Cal State Fullerton

2. J.D. Davis - 1B - Cal State Fullerton

3. Zach Fish - C - Oklahoma State

4. Koby Gauna - RHP - Cal State Fullerton

5. Pat Kelly - 2B - Nebraska

(Thomas Eshelman - RHP - CSF, Justin Garza - RHP - CSF, 2015 names of interest)

My Prediction: Oklahoma State can hit with the best of them and has a strong bullpen but I like for Fullerton and their elite pitching staff to advance. They have finally been playing up to their talent level recently and are arguably the most dangerous three seed in the tournament. Nebraska will be also be a tough out but I don't see them advancing.

HOUSTON REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 4 p.m. on ESPNU: No. 3 Texas A&M (33-24) vs. No. 2 Texas (38-18)
Game 2, 8 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Rice (41-18) vs. No. 4 George Mason (34-20)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Daniel Mengden - RHP - Texas A&M

2. Zach Lemond - RHP - Rice

3. John Curtiss - RHP - Texas

4. Skyler Ewing - 1B - Rice

5. Parker French - RHP - Texas

(Dillon Peters - LHP - Texas will miss postseason)

My Prediction: I may have given the edge to Texas had Dillon Peters been healthy but I'm going to play it safe and pick host Rice, a well balanced team, to advance. Texas A&M has been inconsistent all year but if they show up this weekend, they're capable of pulling off the upset behind ace righty Daniel Mengden. George Mason is out of their element with the Texas thoroughbreds.

BATON ROUGE REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 3 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *LSU (44-14-1) vs. No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana (37-23)
Game 2, 8 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Bryant (42-14) vs. No. 2 Houston (44-15)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Aaron Nola - RHP - LSU

2. Mark Laird - OF - LSU

3. Andro Cutura - RHP - Southeastern Louisiana

4. Aaron Garza - RHP - Houston

5. Andrew Godbold - RF - Southeastern Louisiana

(Note: Alex Bregman - SS - LSU, Jake LeMoine - RHP - Houston, Jameson Fisher - C - Southeastern Louisiana, 2015 draft names of interest)

My Prediction: Motivated by not receiving a host site, Houston and their nation's best pitching staff are my bold pick to advance in this regional. I think the Cougars will be set up well to do so if Southeastern Louisiana gets a gem from Andro Cutura in Game 1 versus LSU and pulls off an upset there. IF that happens, don't sleep on my Lions to possibly shock the world and advance out of this regional either. Bryant has a deep pitching staff but I'm not sure how they'll fare against non-NEC competition.

TALLAHASSEE REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, Noon on ESPN3: No. 3 Kennesaw State (37-21) vs. No. 2 Alabama (34-22)
Game 2, 6 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Florida State (43-15) vs. No. 4 Georgia Southern (39-21)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Max Pentecost - C - Kennesaw State

2. Luke Weaver - RHP - Florida State

3. Spencer Turnbull - RHP - Alabama

4. Jose Brizuela - 3B - Florida State

5. Brandon Liebrandt - LHP - Florida State

My Prediction: Florida State has the most patient lineup in college baseball, a legit ace in Weaver, and of course, Mr. Heisman winner Jameis Winston as the shutdown closer. I can't see them being ousted in their home dojo although they have a worthy challenger in Alabama. Kennesaw State might be the hottest team coming into the tournament (won 23 of last 24) so we'll see if they can compete with the big boys. Georgia Southern has enough offensive firepower to make things interesting too.

LOUISVILLE REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 2 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Kansas (34-24) vs. No. 2 Kentucky (35-23)
Game 2, 6 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Louisville (45-15) vs. No. 4 Kent State (36-21)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. A.J. Reed - 1B/LHP - Kentucky

2. Nick Burdi - RHP - Louisville

3. Chandler Shepherd - RHP - Kentucky

4. Chase Mullins - LHP - Kentucky

5. Austin Cousino - CF - Kentucky

(Kyle Funkhouser - RHP - Louisville, 2015 name of interest)

My Prediction: This will be a competitive regional. None of the three teams placed with Louisville are pushovers. I'm highly intrigued by the Kentucky-Louisville pairing. Louisville's dominant pitching staff versus Kentucky's high powered offense (5th in the nation in runs) will be quite the battle. I think this might be the year Kentucky gets it done as the "A.J. Reed show" carries them to an upset regional win. Kansas is a Senior laden team that can't be counted out and MAC-powerhouse Kent State made a CWS run in 2012 so don't sleep on them either.

NASHVILLE REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 1 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Clemson (36-23) vs. No. 2 Oregon (42-18)
Game 2, 8 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Vanderbilt (41-18) vs. No. 4 Xavier (29-27)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Tyler Beede - RHP - Vanderbilt

2. Daniel Gossett - RHP - Clemson

3. Adam Ravenelle - RHP - Vanderbilt

4. Jake Reed - RHP - Oregon

5. Garrett Boulware - C - Clemson

My Prediction: Vandy has their work cut out for them in this regional after they blow out Xavier who I predict will be out of their element. I think Vanderbilt and their strong pitching staff will advance but Oregon matches up well with them and could pull off an upset here. Clemson is a solid team too but hasn't fared well against quality opponents this season.

BLOOMINGTON REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 2 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Stanford (30-23) vs. No. 2 Indiana State (35-16)
Game 2, 7 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Indiana (42-13) vs. No. 4 Youngstown State (16-36)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Kyle Schwarber - C/1B - Indiana

2. Alex Blandino - 3B - Stanford

3. Sam Travis - 1B - Indiana

4. A.J. Vanegas - RHP - Stanford

5. Dustin Demuth - 2B - Indiana

(Jake Kelzer -RHP - Indiana, 2015 name of interest)

My Prediction: I like Indiana to blow through this regional. Youngstown State is a joke. Stanford barely got in and was a middle pack unit in the Pac-12 this year. Indiana State quietly had a solid year but I don't see them having what it take to upset their in-state rival.

GAINESVILLE REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 1 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 North Carolina (34-25) vs. No. 2 Long Beach State (32-24)
Game 2, 7 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Florida (40-21) vs. No. 4 College Of Charleston (41-17)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Taylor Gushue - C - Florida

2. Richard Prigatano - OF - Long Beach State

3. Karsten Whitson - RHP - Florida

4. Michael Russell - SS - North Carolina

5. Benton Moss - RHP - North Carolina

(Trent Thornton - RHP - UNC, 2015 name of interest)

My Prediction: Their isn't one facet of Florida's game that is particularly exceptional but they're above average at everything and have been playing very consistent baseball over the last two months after a sluggish start to the season. To be honest, I think highly underrated College Of Charleston might be their biggest threat. If the Gators can get by the Cougars in Game 1 on Friday, I like for them to advance fairly easily. North Carolina has some talent but isn't their usual dominant self this year and barely made the tournament.

CORAL GABLES REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 2 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Columbia (29-18) vs. No. 2 Texas Tech (40-18)
Game 2, 7 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Miami (Fla.) (41-17) vs. No. 4 Bethune-Cookman (26-31)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Andrew Suarez - LHP - Miami

2. Chris Diaz - LHP - Miami

3. Dale Carey - OF - Miami

4. Javier Salas - RHP - Miami

5. Bryan Radziewski - LHP - Miami

My Prediction: Miami may have disappointed in the ACC tournament but that won't happen again in the regionals. They're a complete team and dominated their ACC competition over the last two months. I don't see any of the other three teams here as much of a threat. Texas Tech had their best season since 2004 but did most of their damage at home and were just 9-14 on the road.

SAN LUIS OBISPO REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 4 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Pepperdine (39-16) vs. No. 2 Arizona State (33-22)
Game 2, 9 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Cal Poly (45-10) vs. No. 4 Sacramento State (39-22)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Mat Imhof - LHP - Cal Poly

2. Aaron Brown - OF/LHP - Pepperdine

3. Nick Torres - OF - Cal Poly

4. Rhys Hoskins - OF - Sacramento State

5. Reed Reilly - RHP - Cal Poly

My Prediction: Cal Poly is hosting their first ever regional. Can they handle the pressure? I say yes, mainly because of the Mustangs 27-3 record at home this year. Arizona State isn't their usual dominant self although they have been playing better baseball recently. The Mustangs biggest threat is Pepperdine in my opinion. Sacramento State is one of the better 4 seeds and will not be a pushover on Friday either.

FORT WORTH REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 3:30 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Sam Houston State (41-17) vs. No. 2 Dallas Baptist (40-19)
Game 2, 8 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *TCU (42-15) vs. No. 4 Siena (26-31)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Branden Finnegan - LHP - TCU

2. Garrett Fulenchek - RHP - Dallas Baptist

3. Kevin Cron - 1B - TCU

4. Cy Sneed - RHP - Dallas Baptist

5. Tyler Eppler - RHP - Sam Houston State

My Prediction: One of the toughest ones to predict. TCU is one of the hottest teams in the country and I love their deep pitching staff so I'm picking the Horned Frogs. But, Dallas Baptist and Sam Houston State are two ranked teams that could make some noise. Dallas Baptist actually upset a TCU regional before in 2011.

LAFAYETTE REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 2 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 San Diego State (42-19) vs. No. 2 Mississippi State (37-22)
Game 2, 7 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Louisiana (53-7) vs. No. 4 Jackson State (31-23)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Jacob Lindgrun - LHP - Mississippi State

2. Greg Allen - OF - San Diego State

3. Michael Cederoth - RHP - San Diego State

4. Carson Baranik - RHP - Louisiana-Lafayette

5. Austin Robichaux - RHP - Louisiana-Lafayette

My Prediction: Ragin Cajuns and their dynamite offense all the way. However, Mississippi State (last-year's national runner ups) are the right team capable of ending their magical ride. San Diego State is also hot at the right time and won't be a pushover. Jackson State is a non-factor and will happy to just keep the Cajuns offense under 10 runs on Friday.

OXFORD REGIONAL

Friday, May 30

Game 1, 4 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Georgia Tech (36-25) vs. No. 2 Washington (39-15-1)
Game 2, 8 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Ole Miss (41-18) vs. No. 4 Jacksonville State (36-25)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Chris Ellis - RHP - Ole Miss

2. Josh Laxer - RHP - Ole Miss

3. Will Allen - C - Ole Miss

4. Sam Clay - LHP - Georgia Tech

5. Connor Lynch - C - Georgia Tech

My Prediction: Ole Miss has a deep and talented lineup and three reliable weekend starters so while I think they may drop a game to Wazzou or Tech, I think the Rebels ultimately advance. I won't be surprised to see Washington, a super-competitive team that finished 2nd in the Pac-12, advance here as they played very well on the road this season. Georgia Tech could be in play too after their improbable run to an ACC conference crown last weekend.

COLUMBIA REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 1 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 3 Old Dominion (36-24) vs. No. 2 Maryland (36-21)
Game 2, 7 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *South Carolina (42-16) vs. No. 4 Campbell (40-19)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Grayson Greiner - C - South Carolina

2. Jake Stinnett - RHP - Maryland

3. Joey Pankake - 3B - South Carolina

4. Jordan Montgomery - LHP - South Carolina

5. Tanner English - OF - South Carolina

My Prediction: You know I'm not going to pick against the Gamecocks despite my Maryland bias as well. The Gamecocks, when healthy (as they are now) are one of the most complete teams in the country with no glaring weaknesses in any facet of their game. I don't think the Cocks will breeze by Maryland, especially if Jake Stinnett tosses a gem. However, I don't see Old Dominion or Campbell as much of a threat here.

CHARLOTTESVILLE REGIONAL

Friday, May 30
Game 1, 2 p.m. on ESPN3: No. 1 *Virginia (44-13) vs. No. 4 Bucknell (30-19-1)
Game 2, 7 p.m. on ESPNU: No. 3 Liberty (41-16) vs. No. 2 Arkansas (38-23)

Top Five Prospects To Watch

1. Derek Fisher - OF - Virginia

2. Nick Howard - RHP - Virginia

3. Brian Anderson - 2B/CF - Arkansas

4. Mike Papi - OF - Virginia

5. Chris Oliver - RHP - Arkansas

(Nathan Kirby - LHP - Virginia, 2015 name of interest)

My Prediction: Virginia is tested but advances. Liberty is one of the more dangerous three seeds in the tourney and are a very well balanced team but I have a hard time seeing them beat Virginia twice. Arkansas has the pitching to compete with Virginia but don't have enough offensive firepower in my opinion to advance.

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