2009 Irvine Regional

Capsules compiled by Christina De Nicola, Duncan Phillips, Sean Ryan, Phil Stanton


1. UC Irvine Anteaters

Irvine, California

Automatic bid – won Big West Conference regular season

2009 record: 21-2, 43-13 (first in Big West)

Head coach: Mike Gillespie (USC, 1962)

Record at school: 85-31, two years

Overall record: 848-502-2, 22 years

Assistant coaches: Pat Shine, Ted Silva, Bob Macaluso

Team offense: .315 BA, 398 R, 43 HR, .457 SLG%, .400 OB%, 57/89 SB

Team pitching: 4.54 ERA, 494 IP, 533 H, 146 BB, 383 K

Top hitters: Ronnie Shaeffer (.401/4/31), Eric Deragisch (.362/3/37), Ben Orloff (.355/0/21), Casey Stevenson (.327/3/39), Francis Larson (.316/9/43).

Top pitchers: Daniel Bilbona (11-1, 2.65, 98.1 IP, 73 H, 24 BB, 94 K), Christian Bergman (9-2, 3.33, 92 IP, 103 H, 16 BB, 59 K), Eric Pettis (5-2, 3.89, 16 SV, 39.1 IP, 44 H, 5 BB, 35 K), Crosby Slaught (6-0, 4.50, 68 IP, 77 H, 18 BB, 45 K).

Last NCAA appearance: 2008 (3-0 at Lincoln Regional, 1-2 at Baton Rouge Super Regional)

Notes: The Anteaters are back in the tourney for the fourth straight year and will host for the first time. UCI won its first Big West title after posting the best record in league history (21-2). Head coach Mike Gillespie is one of only two men (Arizona’s Jerry Kindall) to win a NCAA title as a player (USC 1961) and coach (USC 1998). He won 62 percent of his games in 20 seasons with the Trojans and also coached Team USA in 2002. He’ll be inducted into the ABCA’s Hall of Fame in January. Senior shortstop became the school’s all-time hits leader (274) in his final regular-season game, when he also knocked in a career-high four runs. He already broke the record for runs, games and at-bats. He’s made six errors and fields .978. Eric Deragisch has stolen home twice this season. Lefty Daniel Bilbona had gone 20-4 the past two seasons, and righty Christian Bergman has gone 14-4 to give the Eaters two stellar starters. They often turn it over to Eric Pettis, who gets hit a little bit but has saved 33 games the past two years. 


2. Virginia Cavaliers

Charlottesville, Virginia

Automatic bid – won ACC Tournament

2009 record: 16-11-1, 43-12-1 (fourth in Coastal Division)

Head coach: Brian O’Connor (Creighton, 1993)

Record at school: 259-101-1, 6 years

Overall record: 259-101-1, 6 years

Assistant coaches: Kevin McMullan, Karl Kuhn, Eddie Smith, Justin Armistead

Team offense: .333 BA, 466 R, 53 HR, .495 SLG%, .410 OB%, 102-125 SB

Team pitching: 3.33 ERA, 498 IP, 434 H, 167 BB, 518 K

Top hitters: Dan Grovatt (.384/7/50/13-15 SB), Jarrett Parker (.375/16/60/19-24 SB), Tyler Cannon (.362/1/34/17-19 SB), Danny Hultzen (.333/3/33), Steven Proscia (.326/8/53), John Hicks (.315/7/36), Phil Gosselin (.312/5/60/19-22 SB)

Top pitchers: Danny Hultzen (8-1, 2.21 ERA, 73.1 IP, 65 H, 25 BB, 86 K), Andrew Carraway (6-1, 4.58 ERA, 74.2 IP, 69 H, 19 BB, 66 K), Robert Poutier (3-0, 2.12 ERA, 34 IP, 29 H, 13 BB, 46 K), Kevin Arico (2-2, 10 SV, 2.22 ERA, 28.1 IP, 18 H, 6 BB, 37 K), Tyler Wilson (8-3, 1 SV, 2.96 ERA, 54.2 IP, 45 H, 19 BB, 52 K), Robert Morey (2-0, 2 SV, 3.25 ERA, 52.2, 40 H, 18 BB, 70 K)

Last NCAA appearance: 2008 (1-2 Fullerton Regional)

Notes: Virginia will make its second consecutive appearance in a California regional after being sent to Fullerton last year. The Cavs, who are littered with freshmen and sophomores (seven in starting lineup) making a huge impact, lead the ACC in both team hitting and pitching and have the most power of any team in Brian O'Connor's six years. Their 53 homers are more than twice as many as the 25 they had last season. Over the past six years, the pitching staff guided by Karl Kuhn has been in the top three nationally for ERA. The Cavs won four straight games in the ACC tournament, with freshman first baseman/catcher John Hicks drove in the game-winning runs in the ACC title game vs. Florida State. He missed most of his senior year of high school with a torn ACL suffered in football. Fellow freshman Tyler Wilson pitched out of a bases-loaded jam to improve to 8-3. Freshman Danny Hultzen, who led ACC starters in ERA and batted better than .330, was the ACC Freshman of the year, the first in Virginia history. His two-way status reminds of former Virginia two-way standouts Sean Doolittle and Joe Koshansky. Sophomore Jarrett Parker ranks in the top 10 in the ACC in just about every offensive category; 40 of his 73 hits are for extra bases (slugs .723). Dan Grovatt had a 19-game hitting streak and leads the Cavs in batting. Virginia has plenty of arms who see action, and sophomore closer Kevin Arico limits hitters to a .188 average. Matt Packer, who can start or relieve, led the nation in ERA in 2008.


3. San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego, California

At-large bid from Mountain West Conference

2009 record: 15-9, 40-21 (fourth in Mountain West)

Head coach: Tony Gwynn (San Diego State, 1981)

Record at school: 213-211, seven years

Overall record: Same

Assistant coaches: Rusty Filter, Mark Martinez, Jody Stevens

Team offense: .292 BA, 381 R, 45 HR, .419 SLG%, .379 OB%, 53/75 SB

Team pitching: 3.95 ERA, 547.1 IP, 540 H, 162 BB, 543 K

Top hitters: Erik Castro (.388/11/56), Cory Vaughn (.329/10/51), Brandon Meredith (.315/5/41), Pat Colwell (.310/0/15), Mitch Blackburn (.306/2/34), Chris Wilson (.298/4/22).

Top pitchers: Addison Reed (0-0, 0.68, 19 SV, 26.1 IP, 20 H, 7 BB, 36 K), Stephen Strasburg (13-0, 1.24, 102 IP, 57 H, 19 BB, 180 K), Tyler Lavigne (7-2, 3.32, 86.2 IP, 66 H, 27 BB, 79 K), Jon Berger (4-5, 5.38, 83.2 IP, 101 H, 11 BB, 69 K).

Last NCAA appearance: 1991 (0-2 in West II Regional)

Notes: San Diego State is making its first Regional appearance under Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and its first since 1991. Gwynn was drafted by the San Diego Padres (third round) and San Diego Clippers (10th round) on June 10, 1981. He holds the SDSU hoops record for assists in a season (221) and career (590). Stephen Strasburg, who was recruited by Yale and Harvard among others, has gone from somewhat of an afterthought to all-world and is likely to be the first player taken in this year’s Major League Draft. He has 180 strikeouts, 19 walks and has limited opponents to a .164 average – his strikeouts per inning (16.61) are three better than the next closest pitcher. Tyler Lavigne was 16-5 in junior college and was expected to see time as a reliever but locked down a starting spot. Opponents hit .212 off him. Sophomore Addison Reed leads the nation in saves and has allowed two earned runs all season. Leading hitter Erik Castro is a transfer from Arizona and was converted from an infielder to a catcher; he plays third when not catching. Outfielder Cory Vaughn’s father is former major league masher Greg Vaughn. Freshman Brandon Meredith’s father played baseball and basketball in college. Pitcher Craig Rasmussen plans to pursue a career as a firefighter if baseball doesn’t pan out. 


4. Fresno State Bulldogs

Fresno, California

Automatic bid – won WAC tournament

2009 record: 12-12, 32-28 (third in WAC)

Head coach: Mike Batesole (Cal State Fullerton, 1990)

Record at school: 251-193, seven years

Overall record: 507-351-1, 14 years

Assistant coaches: Matt Curtis, Pat Waer, Gregg Raymundo

Team offense: .287 BA, 450 R, 88 HR, .479 SLG%, .400 OB%, 43/69 SB

Team pitching: 5.65 ERA, 518 IP, 661 H, 213 BB, 367 K

Top hitters: Danny Muno (.375/3/41/23 2B/64 BB), Tom Mendonca (.345/27/78), Alan Ahmady (.326/8/53), Dusty Robinson (.325/14/44), Kenny Wise (.290/6/27), Brennan Gowens (.286/5/27), Gavin Hedstrom (.268/5/27).

Top pitchers: Jake Floethe (3-1, 2.65, 37.1 IP, 34 H, 12 BB, 29 K), Josh Poytress (2-2, 4.29, 42 IP, 58 H, 28 BB, 30 K), Holden Sprague (7-4, 4.34, 4 SV, 95.1 IP, 103 H, 18 BB, 65 K), Matt Morse (4-2, 4.54, 75.1 IP, 89 H, 23 BB, 48 K), Derek Benny (4-3, 5.02, 80.2 IP, 96 H, 21 BB, 55 K).

Last NCAA appearance: 2008 (3-1 at Long Beach Regional, 2-1 at Tempe Super Regional, 5-2 at College World Series – won program’s first national title)

Notes: Fresno State, the defending national champion, survived four elimination games to return to the NCAA field. The Bulldogs beat New Mexico State 5-3 in the “if necessary” game to earn their fourth straight WAC title. Last year, the Bulldogs fought off elimination six times to earn their first national championship. Jordan Ribera hit the game-winning homers in both games against New Mexico State on Sunday and was named the tourney MVP. Tom Mendonca slugs at a .739 clip and is among the top home run hitters in the country – he has 56 homers in his three-year career. He has an uncle who played for the Phillies. Danny Muno, whose brother Kevin plays at San Diego, has walked or been hit 70 times and has an OBA of .526. He also has a team-best 23 doubles. Holden Sprague has done a little of everything on the mound this year and has 13 wins in two years at FSU. The last time Fresno and UC Irvine met was in 2004.