2013 Bloomington Regional

(capsules compiled by Sean Ryan, Phil Stanton, Zachary Kerr)


1. Indiana Hoosiers

Notes: The Hoosiers return to the field for the third time (1996, 2009) and will host a Regional for the first time. Indiana was the preseason pick of the league’s coaches to win the Big Ten, and the Hoosiers did just that, claiming the regular-season and conference titles. Coach Tracy Smith was IU’s pitching (1995-96) before leading the program at Miami (Ohio) for nine years (two NCAA trips, including a 45-18 season in 2005). He’s a huge fan of American Idol and has blogged for CBI this season. Indiana mixes splendid pitching with a solid lineup. On the mound, IU is seventh in the nation in ERA (2.57) and 26th in WHIP (1.22). Sophomore Aaron Slegers went from throwing seven innings last year to ace this year, leading the Hoosiers in innings and ERA. Indiana spreads innings around and has three pitchers with an ERA of less than 3.00. Kyle Schwarber hit eight homers last year as a freshman and is seventh in the country with 16 this year. Dustin DeMuth, whose sister Jenny was a two-time all-Big Ten performer in basketball at IU, is ninth in the country in hitting (.399).


2. Austin Peay Governors

Notes: The Governors are back in the field for the third straight year and have won 15 straight and 19 of 20 entering Regional play. Winners of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, APSU set a school mark for wins (45) and finished with an RPI of 26. Coach Gary McClure quietly has built a mid-major powerhouse – the Governors upset Georgia Tech on the first day of the 2011 Atlanta Regional, and in 2012, they reached the Eugene Regional final after shutting out Indiana State and Cal State Fullerton. APSU featured primarily freshmen and sophomores on that 2011 team and now boasts experience. Offensively, they rank ninth in the country in batting (.315) and have a huge bat in Craig Massoni (.388/16/68/.683 slugging), a JC transfer. Ace Lee Ridenhour was cruising along this season until he felt tightness about a month ago. He made his return appearance in the OVC final and should be able to make a start in Regionals. And the Govs have a shut-down closer in Tyler Rogers (BAA .176), whose 21 saves are tops in the country and two short of the national mark.


3. Florida Gators

Notes: Florida is making its 29th NCAA appearance and sixth in a row. Kevin O’Sullivan is the first head coach in program history to take the Gators to six consecutive NCAA tourneys. Florida must hit the road for the Bloomington Regional after hosting a regional the past four years. The Gators had the second-toughest schedule in the nation this season, just behind Miami (Fla.). UF has struggled in the month of May, going 4-8. Florida is 85-60 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. The Gators have reached Omaha eight times: 1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Florida is 24-1 when leading after eight. Johnny Magliozzi is among the nation’s leader in saves with 12.


4. Valparaiso Crusaders

Notes: The Crusaders are back in the tourney for the second straight year, having won the Horizon's automatic bid. And for the second straight year, they'll stay in Indiana - they played in the Gary Regional last year hosted by Purdue. Coach Tracy Woodson played for the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers team that won the World Series (CBI feature). He also is a Division I college basketball referee during the off-season. Second baseman Tanner Vavra (CBI feature) sustained a pair of eye injuries when he was a kid and is legally blind in one eye - he led Valpo in hitting this season. He's also the son of Minnesota Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra. The Crusaders hit only eight homers all season, and they like to bunt (they have more than twice as many sacrifice bunts than their opponents). On the mound, Valpo ranks seventh in the country with only 2.4 walks per nine innings. Not one pitcher has more than 25 walks. Opposing hitters hit .140 off closer Karch Kowalczyk, who boasts 12 saves and a 0.36 ERA.