It’s a regional filled with teams familiar with each other. There were eight games between the teams in this year’s Fayetteville Regional. Almost all the matchups were midweek games, and quite a few were at the beginning of the season. That means all these teams are familiar with each other but haven’t seen the full arsenal. All four teams have some intrigue and talent. Let’s take a look all four teams in the regional.
- Record: 42-17 (18-11)
- How they got here: At-large, 4th in SEC, Tournament Runner-Up
- RPI: 14
- Team ERA: 3.60 (28th in NCAA)
- Team BA: .287 (74th in NCAA)
- Team SLG%: .460 (34th in NCAA)
- Fielding %: .977 (36th in NCAA)
- Pitchers to Watch: Trevor Stephan (5-3, 3.12 ERA, 6.35 K/BB), Blaine Knight (8-4/3.08 ERA/5.18 K/BB)
- Hitters to Watch: Chad Spanberger (.305/19 HRs/64 RBIs/.627 SLG%), Jax Biggers (.352/4 HRs/33 RBIs/.520 SLG%)
Team Summary: As the stats show, Arkansas has been solid in all facets of the game against some of the best in college baseball all year. They went 14-10 against teams who made the tournament. Arkansas has knocked the cover off the ball this year, launching 80 home runs. They’re led by Chad Spanberger who was molten lava in the SEC Tournament with five home runs, three doubles and 10 RBIs in the tournament. When Arkansas gets things rolling, they can look like juggernauts, as they showed when beating Florida 16-0. That was part of a three game stretch where Arkansas won three tournament games over NCAA Regional teams by a combined score of 37-2.
- Record: 40-17 (18-1)
- How they got here: At-large, 1st in Missouri Valley, Tournament Runner-Up
- RPI: 29
- Team ERA: 3.58 (25th in NCAA)
- Team BA: .280 (110th in NCAA)
- Team SLG%: .451 (40th in NCAA)
- Fielding %: .973 (82nd in NCAA)
- Pitchers to Watch: Doug Still (7-2/2.57 ERA/3.43 K/BB), Dylan Coleman (8-3/4.93 ERA/2.14 K/BB)
- Hitters to Watch: Jake Burger (.341/22 HRs/63 RBIs/.691 SLG%), Jeremy Eierman (.311/19 HRs/61 RBIs/.653 SLG%)
Team Summary: Missouri State will undoubtedly be looking for some revenge after the 2015 Super Regionals. They rolled through the Missouri Valley in the regular season but got tripped up a couple times by Illinois State in the conference tournament. At the plate they are led by Jake Burger, who was a freshman in 2015 and had a home run in the previously mentioned Super Regional. He has 22 homers on the year, the most in the regional. Arkansas could potentially see Jordan Knutson on the mound, who was tagged with the loss in the decisive game three of that series.
- Record: 30-25 (8-14)
- How they got here: Automatic Qualifier, 8th in Big 12, Tournament Champions
- RPI: 40
- Team ERA: 4.37 (101st in NCAA)
- Team BA: .265 (195th in NCAA)
- Team SLG%: .405 (131st in NCAA)
- Fielding %: .971 (111st in NCAA)
- Pitchers to Watch: Tyler Buffett (6-5/4.83 ERA/3.76 K/BB), Carson Teel (5-4/3.08 ERA/4.11 K/BB)
- Hitters to Watch: Garrett Benge (.298/9 HRs/51 RBIs/.507 SLG%), Garrett McCain (.394/4 HRs/43 RBIs/.560 SLG%)
Team Summary: Oklahoma State was looking like they were on their way to a season similar to Arkansas’ 2016 disappointment. After losing to Oral Roberts on May 16th, they had gone 1-9 in their last 10 and needed two wins against Oklahoma just to make the Big 12 Tournament. They pulled themselves together and pulled off an incredible six straight wins to make the NCAA Tournament, capping it off with a win over Texas for the Big 12 title. Arkansas lost to the Cowboys early in the year in Dallas, Elliott Jensen got the win, but had Tommy John surgery in April and him leaving the rotation was a big reason for their struggles. Oklahoma State has had a hard time finding dependable starters, but they could still be dangerous if still hot after that tournament run.
- Record: 42-14 (25-4)
- How the got here: Automatic Qualifier, 1st in Summit, Tournament Champions
- RPI: 82
- Team ERA: 3.00 (7th in NCAA)
- Team BA: .294 (46th in NCAA)
- Team SLG%: .464 (31st in NCAA)
- Fielding %: .978 (25th in NCAA)
- Pitchers to Watch: Miguel Asuga (11-2/1.67 ERA/ 2.93 K/BB), Josh McMinn (9-3/2.08 ERA/2.77 K/BB)
- Hitters to Watch: Noah Cummings (.325/14 HRs/69 RBIs/.570 SLG%), Brent Williams (.271/16 HRs/50 RBIs/.550 SLG%)
Team Summary: Their stats really pop off the page but are inflated some due to the weaker Summit League competition. Despite that, Miguel Ausua is still a very talented left-handed pitcher. Justin McGregor also started Friday nights for them all year and finished with a 9-0 record. They may be a 4-seed but shouldn’t have any fear. They went 3-2 against Missouri State and Oklahoma State. They also went to Tuscaloosa and won three straight against Alabama. They may not mean anything in terms of quality wins because Alabama was rough this year. However, confidence had to have been sky high after going into an SEC ballpark and going 3-0.