LSU (43-15) is hosting a regional for the first time since 2019 and the expectations have never been higher for the Tigers.
In the Baton Rouge Regional, LSU will host Oregon State, Sam Houston and Tulane. All three teams will pose a challenge for the Tigers. Although LSU will be heavily favored to win it’s regional, remember, this is college baseball.
Let’s take a look at each team in this regional not named LSU, including the history of each program, its players and what each team’s strengths and weaknesses.
Oregon State (39-18) comes into the Baton Regional as the second seed. The Beavers finished in second place in the regular season Pac-12 standings. Oregon State went 0-for-2 in the Pac-12 tournament, losing to Arizona and Arizona State. Keep this in mind, the Beavers were a top 10 team in the country heading into the Pac-12 tournament.
Since 2005, Oregon State has advanced to the College World Series six times and has won three national championships, winning most recently in 2018. Current Oregon State head coach Mitch Canham was the starting catcher for the Beaver’s first two national championship teams in 2006 and 2007.
The Beavers have some serious batting talent as five players have hit at least 10 home runs. Although the most home runs hit by one player is 11, LSU’s pitching staff has a lot to think about when facing Oregon State’s lineup as there are multiple people to worry about.
If there is one thing that Oregon State is stealing bases. The Beavers led the Pac-12 in stolen bases with 89. Oregon State’s most prolific stolen base leader is none other than All-Pac 12 second baseman Travis Bazzana.
Bazzana, who was a 2022 Freshman All-American, is by far Oregon State’s most heralded player. The Aussie is batting a team-high .379 on the year with 20 doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 53 RBIs. Bazzana is 10th nationally in stolen bases with 36 on 39 attempts.
Infielder Garret Forrester is another player to watch. Forrester, who was awarded All-Pac 12 honors on May 23, has averaged .330 from the plate with 11 doubles, 10 home runs and 52 RBIs.
Mason Guerra is another dangerous batter as he is batting .328 from the plate with a team-high of 11 home runs and 54 RBIs.
Oregon State’s starting rotation will be depleted due to the injuries of Jaren Hunter and Jacob Kmatz.
Oregon State starter Trent Sellers will be Oregon State’s ace pitcher this weekend. Sellers has a 6-5 record with a 5.13 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 101.
Although Sellers does a good job of striking people out, he tends to allow opposing batters to hit the ball with ease.
Sellers has allowed more hits than innings pitched, with 68 in 66.2 innings thrown with 18 doubles, a triple and eight homers. He has .257, which is the same batting average as LSU shortstop Jordan Thompson.
Oregon State has an excellent bullpen and at times has been better than the starting rotation. The bullpen is led by relievers Ryan Brown, Ian Lawson, and Ben Ferrer.
Brown has a 4-2 record on the year with a 3.45 ERA, 31 strikeouts and led the Pac 12 in saves with 10. Lawson and Ferrer both have over 45 strikeouts on the year.
WAC champs Sam Houston (38-23) is the third seed in the Baton Regional. This is Sam Houston State’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2017. The Bearkats have had 12 postseason appearances since becoming a Division I program in 1987.
If there is one thing Sam Houston does well is that they put the ball in play as the Bearkats lead the nation in hits with an absurd 702 hits. The Bearkats are also fifth nationally in doubles, eighth in batting average and 19th in triples. Because of their hitting prowess, it should be no shocker to anyone that Sam Houston is also sixth nationally in runs.
Sam Houston is also 36th nationally in stolen bases. The Bearkats have six players in its batting lineup that have had at least 10 steals this season.
Sam Houston’s best hitter this season has been first baseman Tyler Davis. Davis has batted .432 from the plate this season and has team highs of 102 hits, 20 doubles and four triples. Davis also has seven homers.
Outfielder Joe Redfield is Sam Houston’s slugging machine. Redfield leads the team in home runs with 13 and has a slugging percentage of .678. Redfield also leads Sam Houston State in stolen bases with 15 on 19 attempts.
Catcher Walker Janek is another player to watch out for. Janek has batted .306 from the plate and has recorded 18 doubles, 12 doubles and leads the team in RBIs with 65. Janek was named the most outstanding player of the WAC Baseball Tournament.
Even though they are one of the best hitting teams in the country, Sam Houston has struggled with its pitching and also has a lack of depth on the mound. Sam Houston has a 5.22 ERA, which is 223rd in the nation and 221st in WHIP. They have also allowed a .280 batting average to opposing batters.
Sam Houston has two reliable starters in Colin Atkinson and Steven Beard. Atkinson has a record of 9-4 with a 4.09 ERA and a team-high 69 strikeouts. Beard has a record of 7-3 with a 5.35 ERA and 54 strikeouts.
However, just like Oregon State’s top two starters, they allow opposing batters to smash the baseball whenever they please. Atkinson has allowed 78 hits through 81.1 innings with 11 doubles, a triple and a team-high 12 home runs. Beard has allowed 89 hits through 79 innings with 19 doubles, four triples and eight home runs.
Sam Houston doesn’t have depth in its bullpen, it does have two reliable relievers in Chandler David and Braden Davis.
David, who was named to the WAC All-Tournament team, is 6-0 on the year with a 2.21 ERA, 68 strikeouts and has recorded a save. He is the most used reliever as he has appeared in 28 games with 53 innings pitched.
Davis is 4-4 on the year with a 3.31 ERA and leads the team in saves with five.
Tulane (18-40) qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2016 after it had won the American Athletic Conference tournament. The Green Wave was the No.7, which is the lowest seed to ever win the tournament since its inception. The Green Wave won 4 out of five games and upset No. 15 East Carolina 8-6 in the championship game. Tulane is the first 40-loss team to qualify for the tournament since the NCAA switched to the super regional format in 1999.
Tulane is the third team in this regional to have appeared in the College World Series, joining powerhouses Oregon State and LSU. Tulane advanced to Omaha in 2001 and 2005. Both times the road to Omaha came through New Orleans.
Ironically, the last time Tulane and LSU faced each other in postseason play was in 2001, when Tulane defeated LSU in two out of three games in the Metairie Super Regional at Zephyr Field in Metairie, Louisiana to advance to the College World Series for the first time. LSU’s 7-1 game three defeat at the hands of Tulane was Skip Bertman’s last game.
A lot of their struggles had to do with the mass exodus of players after last season, a tough schedule that included multiple trips to the state of California and the fact that some of the players still had to get accustomed to their new coach Jay Uhlman. However, it worked out in the end.
If there is one thing I can say about Tulane is that obviously, they might be the worst team to ever qualify in the history of the tournament in terms of numbers as they are near or at the bottom of every single statistical category among all the teams that qualified for the tournament.
Tulane is last among all-tournament teams in batting average, on-base percentage, earned run average, and triples allowed. They are also second to last in getting struck out and WHIP.
However, there are two things that the Green Wave does well: their pitchers are good at striking out opposing batters and knocking the snot out of the ball. Tulane’s pitching staff has 531 punchouts and its batting lineup has hit 81 homers.
Tulane’s best batter has been outfielder Teo Banks. Banks has batted .304 from the plate with 11 doubles, a triple and 18 home runs. Banks was named the American Athletic Conference Tournament’s most valuable player after he averaged .524 from the plate with two doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs.
Another name to watch out for is shortstop Gavin Schulz. Although Schulz is batting .235 on the year, he exploded during the American Athletic Conference Tournament. During the tournament, Schulz averaged .625 from the plate with a double, two home runs and four RBIs.
Left fielder Brady Hebert, first baseman Brady Marget, designated hitter Brennan Lambert and third baseman Simon Baumgardt can do some damage from the plate as well.
Baton Rouge native Dylan Carmouche is Tulane’s ace pitcher. Carmouche (5-8) has a 5.44 ERA and has struck out 100 batters this season.
During the American Athletic Conference Tournament, Carmouche made two appearances with one start and recorded a 2.45 ERA, striking out 12 batters. He started Tulane’s 12-2 victory over Memphis in the second round, hurling for eight innings and striking out nine batters while only allowing three hits.
However, Carmouche has an allowed batting average of .281 and has allowed 95 hits in 86 innings pitched.
Relievers Michael Fowler and Chandler Welch have both 116 strikeouts.