2013 Eugene Regional

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


1. Oregon Ducks

Eugene, Oregon

At-large bid from Pac-12

Notes: Since reinstating its program five years ago (it was dormant since 1981), Oregon is in the tournament for the third time and will host for the second straight year. Coach George Horton, who guided Cal State Fullerton to six CWS appearances and the 2004 national title, is one of nine people to play and lead a team as head coach in the CWS. The Ducks were one win away from Omaha in 2012, falling to Kent State in the Super Regionals. Oregon averages only 4.9 runs a game and is used to playing close games – 26 of its games have been decided by two runs or less. Ryon Healy had eight career homers over two years before blasting 10 this season; his sister Kaitlin was a first-team All-Pacific Coast Softball Conference pitcher at the University of San Diego in 2011. Shortstop J.J. Altobelli fields .981, having made only five errors all season. Closer Jimmie Sherfy has saved 37 games over the past two seasons.


2. Rice Owls

Notes: The Owls were champs of Conference USA's regular season as well as the league tournament, giving them their 19th straight NCAA tournament appearance (fourth longest in nation behind Miami, Florida State and Cal State Fullerton). In addition, Rice has won 40 or more games in 19 straight seasons. Coach Wayne Graham has 994 career wins over 22 years, an average of 45 per season - he was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. The Owls win with pitching, pitching and more pitching. They rank 11th in ERA (2.74) and 13th in WHIP (1.13). Ace Austin Kubitza is second in the nation in Ks per nine innings (11.52) and 10th in hits allowed per nine innings (5.71). Closer Zach Lemond has been nearly unhittable, liming opposing hitters to a .196 average and saving 14 games - he averages better than two innings an appearance. John Simms and Jordan Stephens give the Owls a rotation that can rival any top three in the country. At the dish, Michael Ratterree (43 walks, 41 RBI) and Michael Aquino (42 RBI, 25 extra-base hits) are the bats to watch. 


3. San Francisco Dons

Notes: The Dons are making their third appearance in the NCAA tourney and second time in three years. USF fell to San Diego in the final of the West Coast Conference tourney, the first time the conference has had a tourney. Coach Nino Giarratano was Collegiate Baseball's National Junior College Coach of the Year three times when he was at Trinidad State Junior College. Before arriving at San Francisco 14 years ago, he assisted Pat Murphy at Arizona State. Giarratano made headlines by donating a kidney to his father two years ago (CBI feature). The Dons thrive on the mound and pound the zone - they rank 12th nationally with 2.52 walks per nine innings and are 25th in strikeouts/walk ratio. Haden Hinkle (9-1) ranks 19th in the country in WHIP (0.92) and has limited hitters to a .197 average. Hitters "hit" .139 off reliever Ben Graff, who made 21 appearances. Zachary Turner (8) and Bradley Zimmer (7) have combined for 15 of the team's 28 homers, with Turner leading the team with 62 RBI - Zimmer is next at 36.


4. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Notes: The Jackrabbits are in the NCAA tourney for the first time after winning the Summit League tourney in dramatic fashion. After losing its first game, South Dakota State won four straight, including 2-0 and 1-0 over North Dakota State in the championship round. Coach Dave Schrage previously coached at Northern Illinois, Evansville and Notre Dame before taking over the Jacks' program before last season. SDSU's 35 wins are nearly double the 18 they had in 2012. Daniel Telford, who has made 26 starts, is hitting .421, just behind Bradley's Mike Tauchman (.425) for the nation's lead, but Telford doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify. In addition, Telford is slugging .711. Closer J.D. Moore ranks 19th in the country with 13 saves and has limited opponents to a .159 average. Senior Stephen Bougher is 8-2 this season and has won 20 games the past three years.