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Baton Rouge Regional Preview: Utah Valley

Or "I Didn't Know Utah Had A Valley."

It's no Pepperdine, but that's a damn cool view from home
It's no Pepperdine, but that's a damn cool view from home

As you've heard by now, LSU did in fact do enough late to gain a national seed from the selection committee, the very last seat on the bus at that.

But now the time for sighs of relief are over because in the end a national seed doesn't mean anything if you don't win your own regional and LSU will kickoff the 2016 Baton Rouge Regional with Utah Valley at 2pm on Friday.

The Wolverines hail from Orem, Utah, which lies under Mount Timpanogos and is adjacent to Provo. Did I say adjacent? I meant it's right on top of it. UVU's relation to BYU is shorter than BRCC's to LSU. I'm not kidding about this:

UVU gained full university status in 2008, so the fact that they're already fielding successful D1 baseball teams is really impressive. But if you see a green shirt and it isn't a Southeastern shirt, fight your natural urge to offer them a beer because even though UVU is not a religiously affiliated university, Orem is home to a high population of Mormons. I'm sure they will not object to our delicacies, though. UVU shares Brent Brown Ballpark with the Angels rookie league affiliate, the Orem Owlz. It's a pretty cool park, a 5,000 seater with a short porch in left and a view of the mountains from the seats.

Now that you are the proud owner of some background knowledge about Utah Valley University and Orem, Utah, it's time to get to know the baseball team. The Wolverines stated off the year at the Surprise Tournament, where they SURPRISED Ball State and, more notably, Oregon State before traveling to Pullman and taking three from Washington State in a four game set. Their season was pretty up and down but just like LSU they ended hot, winning nine of their last 10 games including a sweep of the WAC Tournament to bring their record to 37-21 and punch their ticket despite their RPI of 130. And by the way, can they rake.

Justin Erlandson .308 .427 .415 44 7 2 2 22 1.64
Mark Krueger .328 .483 .414 76 11 2 7 45 1.44
Craig Brinkerhoff .328 .564 .409 67 9 3 11 36 2.35
Stone Ramsey .330 .388 .388 34 4 1 0 17 1.67

The Wolverines have a deadly mix of contact hitting and power threats but keep in mind they play their home games at 4,774 feet, nearly an entire mile high. On the other hand, contact is contact no matter where is happens.

Note: Stone Ramsey has only played in 38 games all season, but I included him because it appears he has been in the lineup more late in the season and we're likely to see him in Baton Rouge.

Their pitching is slightly less impressive.

Danny Beddes 4.33 .238 1.88 99.2 89 48
Jake Mayer 4.32 .245 2.13 75 68 36
Patrick Wolfe 5.57 .267 1.67 72.2 74 45
Jackson Cofer 3.93 .315 1.85 68.2 82 30
Kyle Valgardson 1.63 .241 2.83 38.2 34 7

Which pitcher Coach Eric Madsen puts on the bump for Friday depends on his strategy. If he wants to challenge LSU straight up, he'll go with staff ace Danny Beddes, a 6'6" senior righthander who ate up innings this year and has the lowest BAA of any pitcher on staff with more than 20 innings of work. If he wants to put all his eggs in the "win Saturday" basket, Patrick Wolfe will get the call. Jake Mayer is the go-to man in the bullpen and Kyle Valgardson is the designated closer, notching nine saves on the year.

Hat Judgement

A baseball team is only as good as their uniforms, with the hat being the most iconic piece, and the Wolverines have many hats so bear with me.

I know it's hard to see, but that's a green and white version of this logo. Non-letter logos are more of a risk than traditional letters and this one falters. Despite my affinity for white front paneled hats, it gets a C.

That is much better. An interlocked UV, and even though I'm not crazy about the actual font, it's a strong hat, worthy of a B-.

Oh. Oh no. Grade: F-.