2013 Manhattan Regional

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


1. Kansas State Wildcats

Manhattan, Kansas

At-large bid from Big 12

Notes: The Wildcats will host a Regional for the first time in school history after winning the Big 12’s regular-season title. That title was the first for Kansas State in 80 years – it was predicted to finish seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll. Coach Brad Hill guided the Wildcats to their first NCAA appearance in school history in 2009 and brings them back for the fourth time in five years. He previously coached Central Missouri State (now the University of Central Missouri) to a 418-91 record (.821, just two points behind Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn during his tenure there). K-State boasts one of the best offenses in the country. At the plate, the Wildcats are pesky, with eight batters over .300 – they rank second in the nation in hitting (.323) and ninth in on-base average (.405). And they like to run (93 SBs). On the mound, Kansas State isn’t flashy – it makes teams put the ball in play. The Wildcats are 31-3 when leading after 6.


2. Arkansas Razorbacks

Notes: The Razorbacks are making their 26th NCAA Tournament appearance and 12th consecutive. Arkansas is one of seven programs to experience postseason play each of the past 12 seasons, joining Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, Rice and South Carolina. Arkansas has reached the College World Series three times (2004, 2009, 2012) during its streak of tournament bids. The Razorbacks won their first two games in Omaha a year ago before a pair of losses to national runner-up South Carolina. Arkansas has the top staff ERA in the country at 1.87. The Razorbacks also lead the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (6.78) and are fifth in WHIP (1.10). Ryne Stanek is 11th in the country in ERA at 1.40. All three weekend starters have sub-2.00 ERA’s. Randal Fant is 1.92 and Barrett Astin is 1.94. Only one of the 15 pitchers for the Razorbacks this season has an ERA about 3.00. Arkansas is batting .260, while its opponents are hitting .210. Brian Anderson is batting .338 for the Hogs, the only average above .300.


3. Bryant Bulldogs

Notes: Though Bryant dominated the Northeast Conference in the regular season, finishing first for the third time since joining in 2010, it lost its series against second-seed Sacred Heart, 3-1. In what was the program's first NEC Tournament, per postseason play rules, the Bulldogs faced elimination against Sacred Heart twice but won both games, including a score of 8-0 in the deciding game. It is the first conference championship for the Bulldogs since transitioning to Division I after 2008, when it won its seventh Northeast-10 Conference Championship. The school's best finish in Division II was its only modern season-end top 30 appearance, sixth in 2004. NEC voters named head coach Steve Owens Coach of the Year, freshman outfielder A.J. Zarozny Rookie of the Year, and senior outfielder/third baseman Kevin Brown Player of the Year. Fellow outfielder Carl Anderson, a sophomore, made the All-NEC first team. Senior starter Peter Kelich and junior starter Craig Schlitter made the first and second all-conference teams, respectively. Senior closer Sal Lisanti was the only reliever on the first team. Redshirt sophomore utility man Daniel St. George made the second team. Bryant pitchers finished 10th in the nation with a team ERA of 2.63, 10th in hits per nine innings at 7.22, and eighth with a 1.14 WHIP.


4. Wichita State Shockers

Notes: The Shockers are making their 28th NCAA Tournament appearance. WSU won its 18th MVC tourney title to earn the automatic bid. The Shockers are 74-55 overall in NCAA contests and 57-40 in regional games. WSU is 53-32 all-time against Kansas State, while Arkansas owns a 30-27 edge over the Shockers. WSU is fourth in the nation in hits with 658. Garrett Bayliff is eighth in Division I with 91 hits and 17th in batting average at .389. Casey Gillaspie is second in the nation with 60 walks. The Shockers are 18th in the country in fielding percentage at .977. They have not committed an error in their past nine games, a program record. The previous mark was six. WSU is 31-0 when leading after eight innings, 28-8 when scoring first and 32-5 when out-hitting opponents.