Thought Oregon State would be rewarded with a regional not located on the east coast for their strong finish? Five of the six major college baseball postseason projections disagree. Only Perfect Game has the Beavers staying off the east coast and away from an ACC-hosted regional. Here's how the other five break down:
The only site agreed on by two projections is Charlottesville, predicted by ESPN and Chasing Omaha. ESPN has Virginia as the one seed, St. John's as the three, and Manhattan as the four. Outside of the Cavaliers at one, Chasing Omaha sees it completely differently for the final two spots. They have a dangerous Louisville team at number three and Dayton at four.
Baseball America has the Beavers going down a state to Raleigh, with North Carolina State being the one, St. John's at number three, and Kent State at four. SE Baseball also projects us in the Tar Heel state, but instead traveling to Chapel Hill. I'm not gonna lie, I would be alright with this draw. The Beavers would likely meet North Carolina in a huge game sometime throughout the weekend, which would be pretty intense considering our history. The other two teams projected to that regional are Appalachian State as a three and Austin Peay at number four.
College Baseball Nation gives Oregon State the worst draw of all, sending the Beavers to Tallahassee in a regional hosted by number one overall seed Florida State. I just don't understand how this is possible. Or fair. That would make the Beavers one of the worst two seeds in the field, which is highly unlikely after just sweeping number six Oregon. The other two teams in the regional are Belmont and Prairie View A&M, at number three and four, respectively. CBN appears to be awarding the Beavers for having to deal with the Seminoles by giving them two less than stellar teams to fill out the regional, but it really doesn't make up for the fact that OSU would likely have to beat the best team in the country twice, on their home field, in order to advance.
Perfect Game is the only projection to have us staying off the east coast and away from ACC-territory, but their pick isn't much better. PG has the Beavers going to Baton Rouge, a place Beaver fans haven't inhabited since 2004. Unfortunately, this team is not led by Derek Anderson, but thankfully, they won't be going up against JaMarcus Russell and Joseph Addai. Oh wait, wrong sport. PG has LSU as the top seed, with SE Louisiana and Louisana-Monroe taking the final two spots. While this regional would be interesting, I don't like the idea of going to the deep south with basically no traveling party and having three separate Louisiana fan-bases waiting for us. Every game would basically be a road game, which shouldn't be fair in a regional round.
Meanwhile, all six projections have Oregon receiving a national seed, but only ESPN paired up the Eugene Regional with the one Oregon State is in.
Click the jump to breakdown possible opponents in an Oregon State regional
Usually, the NCAA tries to put teams in the region of the host site into their regional. Here's a list of possible teams:
UNC-Wilmington: 38-21 - Don't let the Seahawks' solid record fool you. They've racked up wins in one of the worst conferences in the nation (Colonial) and have only three quality wins on the season; TCU, Coastal Carolina, and East Carolina.
Appalachian State: 39-16 - The Mountaineers have the bats to really surprise someone next weekend. Think last season's Dallas Baptist.
East Carolina: 35-22 - Nothing to really worry about here. The Pirates have some very nice wins, but they are very streaky. Assuming they turn it on for the postseason, I could see them winning a first round game before their lack of a good second and third arm catches up with them.
Prairie View A&M: 28-23 - This is not a good team, and if they hadn't have gotten hot in the final week of the season they wouldn't be anywhere near this tournament. Their star on the mound is Derrick Mitchell (6-4, 3.09), but after him the pitching drops down severely. The Panthers will easily be a "2-and-que" team.
Texas-Arlington: 36-23 - One of the few teams on this list that are better than the record indicates. The Mavericks have quality wins over Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU, Texas A&M, Sam Houston State (3), and SE Louisiana. Lance Day leads the Mavs on the mound with a 12-3 record and a 2.98 ERA.
Sam Houston State: 38-20 - Should be named to the field as one of the final five teams in. The Bearkats should impress the committee with their 13-game winning streak that stretched from late-March to early-April, a stretch in which they outscored their opponents by a combined 100-40.
UAB: 32-28 - The Blazers don't pose much of a threat. They went 9-15 in C-USA play, but will be included in the field after taking the conference's automatic bid.
SE Louisiana: 39-21 - The Lions fell just short of 40 wins, and despite racking those up against a fairly easy schedule, they should be included as one of the final three teams in the field this morning.
Louisiana-Monroe: 31-28 - Another team that will make the field after winning their conference tournament. The Warhawks got quite lucky in the first two games of the Sun Belt Tournament, winning in 10 and 13 innings, respectively.
College of Charleston: 37-20 - Last team in or first team out seems to be the consensus on the Cougars. Despite the nice record, they will have only themselves to blame if they are left out. The Cougs dropped three out of their final four games.
Bethune-Cookman: 34-25 - The Wildcats had to win the MEAC Tournament to earn a spot in this year's field. The tourney surely roughed up their pitching staff as the Cats played five games in five days.
Samford: 39-21 - The Bulldogs won their conference tournament, but they deserve to be here anyway. The Dogs have posted wins over teams like College of Charleston, UAB, and Appalachian State. The Samford website does not keep stats, but Charles Basford is the ace of the pitching staff.
Texas: 30-22 - Should be named to the field as one of the final four teams in. However, being ranked 51st in RPI will have Longhorn fans sweating it out this morning.
St. John's: 37-21 - The Red Storm are a streaky team, but currently they are streaking in the right direction. The Johnnies have won four straight and will pose a challenge in whatever regional they play in.
Manhattan: 33-25 - For the most part, the Jaspers dominated the MAAC this season. They shouldn't pose as a test to anyone next weekend though.
Kent State: 41-17 - Watch out for the Golden Flashes. While the MAC was down this season (come to think about it, when are they ever up?), 41 wins is still a great accomplishment.
Belmont: 39-22 - The Bruins won the Atlantic Sun Tournament to earn their way into the postseason. Their first game of the five-day blitz was a 15 inning, 4-3 win over Stetson.
Louisville: 39-20 - The Cardinals are going to be one of the more dangerous two/three seeds. They have quality wins over Michigan State, Kentucky (2), and St. John's (2).
Dayton: 31-28 - The Flyers performed well in Atlantic 10 play, but a terrible non-conference season is the reason for the less-than-stellar record. They should play two and go home, but expect them to compete in those two.
Austin Peay: 38-22 - Their fans chant "Let's Go Peay" at their games. 'Nuff said
So here's how it breaks down:
1. North Carolina State
2. Oregon State
4. Sam Houston State
It may be unlikely that the committee flies in a pair of low-major Texas teams to North Carolina, but that's why this is a dream. Out of the five possible host sites that were projected, North Carolina State's is by far the easiest.
Most Likely Regional
2. Oregon State
4. Kent State
My hunch is that the Beavers will be sent to Charlottesville. That's still not a terrible destination, although I would rather be in Gary. The Mavericks are probably the worst three seed out there, so it would make sense to bring them over after getting one of the top two seeds. Samford is also a possibility for that slot.
So, those are all of the possibilities. I feel like I am now an expert on all of college baseball from Texas eastward. See you later this morning!