A capsule look at some of the top college baseball teams to watch this season (coaches' records at current schools entering season):
Coach: Andy Lopez (210-140-1, seventh season).
Last Season: 42-17, regionals appearance.
Key Players: 3B-DH Brad Glenn (.333, 10 HRs, 62 RBIs), RHP Preston Guilmet (12-2, 1.87 ERA), LHP Daniel Schlereth (3-1, 2.68, 8 saves), OF T.J. Steele (.323, 7, 47, 21 SBs), RHP Jason Stoffel (5-0, 1.87, 5 saves), 1B C.J. Ziegler (.355, 13, 63).
Extra Bases: Wildcats ranked preseason No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. ... Most of balanced lineup from last year returns, including Ziegler and Glenn, who form one of most formidable middle-of-the-lineup duos in country. Slugging JUCO transfer Dillon Baird will also help. ... Wildcats ranked second in nation with 33 triples last season and stole 95 bases, so they know how to produce runs. ... Guilmet, Pac-10 pitcher of year, is one of country's most outstanding returning starters. ... Schlereth, son of former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN host Mark Schlereth, will start season in rotation after solid year in bullpen.
Coach: Pat Murphy (529-257-1, 14th season).
Last Season: 49-15, College World Series appearance.
Key Players: 1B-LHP Ike Davis (.349, 8, 61; 1-1, 1.35), RHP Mike Leake (13-2, 3.69), C-1B Petey Paramore (.379, 6, 52), DH-C Kiel Roling (.356, 15, 63), LHP Josh Satow (13-3, 2.76), 3B Brett Wallace (.404, 16, 78).
Extra Bases: Preseason No. 1 in number of polls, including USA Today and National Collegiate Baseball Writers. ... Went to Omaha last year picked by some as favorite to win it all because of a powerhouse offense, but fell short. Sun Devils have a number of new faces in lineup, but Davis, Paramore, Roling and Wallace are back - and they combined for 45 HRs and 254 RBIs. ... Wallace, one of top offensive players in country, was Pac-10 player of year after winning conference's Triple Crown. Moves from first base to third this season. ... Pitching staff will be anchored by Leake and Satow, while Davis (son of former big leaguer Ron Davis) and hard-throwing RHP Jason Jarvis (school freshman-record 11 saves) are solid out of bullpen.
Coach: Jim Morris (642-245-3, 15th season).
Last Season: 37-24, regionals appearance.
Key Players: 1B Yonder Alonso (.376, 18, 74), LHP Eric Erickson (10-4, 2.50), RHP Enrique Garcia (8-4, 3.82), OF Dennis Raben (.280, 12, 48), 3B Mark Sobolewski (.345, 8, 54), 2B Jemile Weeks (.298, 5, 27).
Extra Bases: Hurricanes overcame mediocre regular season and extended NCAA record by making 35th consecutive regional appearance, but couldn't get out of first round. ... Most of Hurricanes' impressive lineup is back, including sluggers Alonso, Raben and Sobolewski. Alonso and Raben had terrific summers in Cape Cod League and could be nation's most-feared 1-2 punch. ... Weeks, younger brother of Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks, slumped as sophomore while dealing with groin injury after eye-opening freshman season. Could be one of country's most exciting players if he stays healthy. ... Pitching staff lacks depth, but could get huge lift if RHPs Carlos Gutierrez, Miami's top starter two years ago, and Jason Santana are fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.
Coach: Rich Maloney (191-112, sixth season).
Last Season: 42-19, super regionals appearance.
Key Players: 3B-RHP Adam Abraham (.320, 5, 45; 5-1, 2.97, 2 saves), SS Jason Christian (.328, 7, 44), DH-RHP Zach Putnam (.330, 8, 59; 8-5, 3.87), 1B Nate Recknagel (.352, 12, 61), OF Derek VanBuskirk (.384, 3, 32), LHP Mike Wilson (7-1, 3.52).
Extra Bases: Wolverines were one of biggest surprises of NCAA tournament, shocking top-seeded Vanderbilt in regionals before falling to eventual champion Oregon State in super regionals. ... Putnam, who took no-hitter into ninth inning against Oregon State before Wolverines lost, and Abraham are two of best two-way players in country and will have huge roles in whether Michigan gets to first CWS since 1984. ... Wolverines were sixth-best hitting team in country at .327, and again have extremely balanced lineup. ... Putnam, Wilson and 6-foot-8 righty Chris Fetter give Michigan its top three starters from last year.
Coach: Mike Bianco (282-157-1, eighth season).
Last Season: 40-25, super regionals appearance.
Key Players: OF Jordan Henry (.376, 1, 17), RHP Lance Lynn (8-5, 2.85), 2B Zach Miller (.368, 4, 31), 3B Cody Overbeck (.288, 15, 58), OF Logan Power (.292, 11, 51), RHP Cody Satterwhite (4-4, 3.31).
Extra Bases: Rebels nearly made it back to Omaha for first time since 1972 before falling to Arizona State in super regionals. That return to Rosenblatt might happen this year with solid offense and deep pitching staff. ... Henry and Miller know how to get on base consistently as the Rebels' tablesetters, and Overbeck and Power should have even bigger RBI numbers. ... Lynn and Satterwhite are an imposing, hard-throwing 1-2 combo after both pitched well for Team USA last summer. ... LHPs Brett Bukvich (7-3) and Nathan Baker (6-2) give Bianco two more legitimate weekend starters.
Coach: Mike Fox (398-176-1, 10th season).
Last Season: 57-16, College World Series runner-up.
Key Players: 1B-OF Dustin Ackley (.402, 10, 74), C-RHP Tim Federowicz (.333, 4, 65), 3B Chad Flack (.247, 7, 46), RHP Adam Warren (12-0, 2.17), OF Seth Williams (.293, 9, 42), RHP Rob Wooten (6-1, 2.35).
Extra Bases: Tar Heels have twice been to CWS title game - and twice lost to Oregon State. This year's squad again has talent and experience to get to Omaha. ... Ackley was national freshman of year after hitting over .400 with impressive power and leading country with 119 hits. ... Flack had subpar season after moving from 1B to 3B, but could make this extremely dangerous lineup - along with Federowicz, Williams and OF Tim Fedroff - if he returns to form. ... Warren will slide into weekend rotation after being mainly a midweek starter. Sophomore RHP Alex White (6-7, 4.94) could end up replacing first-round pick Robert Woodard as staff ace. ... Wooten, who set school record with 47 appearances, will step into closer's role.
Coach: Pat Casey (440-271-4, 14th season).
Last Season: 49-18, College World Series champions.
Key Players: OF Chris Hopkins (.266, 2, 27, 17 SBs), 1B Jordan Lennerton (.313, 10, 51), DH Jason Ogata (.294, 4, 42), RHP Jorge Reyes (7-3, 3.10), RHP Mike Stutes (12-4, 4.07), SS Joey Wong (.288, 19 RBIs).
Extra Bases: Beavers looking to join Southern California (1970-74) as only teams to win at least three straight College World Series titles. ... Biggest catalysts - SS Darwin Barney and C Mitch Canham - are gone and won't be easily replaced, but don't count out defending champs. Casey turned a team that appeared on bubble a few weeks before NCAA tournament into a champion. ... Beavers have two solid starting pitchers back in Reyes, the CWS Most Outstanding Player, and Stutes. After that, a number of youngsters from third-ranked recruiting class will have to step up. ... Lennerton will anchor middle of lineup, which will probably have to scratch out runs - as it effectively did a year ago.
Coach: Rich Hill (309-219-3, 10th season).
Last Season: 43-18, regionals appearance.
Key Players: RHP Matt Couch (9-2, 3.60), C Logan Gelbrich (.316, 4, 38), RHP A.J. Griffin (6-2, 2.70, 11 saves), LHP Brian Matusz (10-3, 2.85), SS Sean Nicol (.300, 5, 30), LHP-OF Josh Romanski (9-1, 3.05; .335, 3, 30).
Extra Bases: Toreros had first 40-win season as they continued emergence as one of country's top programs, but fizzled in first round in regionals. ... Pitching is team's strength, as Toreros have depth matched by few. Matusz had 163 Ks last season - second-best in nation- and could be No. 1 overall pick in June. ... Romanski is an excellent two-way player, and perfect complement to Matusz. Both pitched for Team USA last summer ... Freshman RHP Kyle Blair, who threw two no-hitters and perfect game in high school, was fifth-round pick of the Dodgers but opted for college. ... Romanski, Gelbrich, Nicol and a few promising freshmen key offense, which lost a few major components from last year's West Coast Conference winners.
Coach: Ray Tanner (500-220, 12th season).
Last Season: 46-20, super regionals appearance.
Key Players: RHP Mike Cisco (6-2, 3.84), RHP Blake Cooper (7-2, 4.48), 3B James Darnell (.331, 19, 63), C Phil Disher (.328, 15, 63), SS Reese Havens (.274, 5, 43), 1B Justin Smoak (.315, 22, 72).
Extra Bases: Always one of college baseball's most potent offenses returns another impressive lineup. Gamecocks led country with 113 homers, and Smoak, Darnell and Disher were major factors. ... Smoak is one of country's most impressive hitters, and his smooth, switch-hitting power could make him first-round pick. ... Darnell improved draft status by being one of HR leaders in Cape Cod League last summer. ... Cisco and Cooper will be counted on to have big seasons, along with LHP Will Atwood, after Gamecocks lost top two starters.
Coach: Tim Corbin (198-108, sixth season).
Last Season: 54-13, regionals appearance.
Key Players: 3B Pedro Alvarez (.386, 18, 68), OF Dominic de la Osa (.378, 20, 62, 20 SBs), 2B Alex Feinberg (.317, 4, 44), SS Ryan Flaherty (.381, 4, 57), RHP Brett Jacobson (6-3, 3.15 ERA), LHP Mike Minor (9-1, 3.09 ERA).
Extra Bases: Commodores lost ace lefty David Price and star closer Casey Weathers to draft, but high-scoring offense returns in tact - while a number of talented arms are in place to step up on mound. ... No. 1 overall seed last year lost to Michigan in regionals, so veterans will be motivated to make up for upsetting end to season. ... Alvarez could be top position player drafted, while de la Osa had huge season and returned for senior year after being drafted in 10th round by Detroit. Both will power offense that averaged more than seven runs a game. ... Minor replaces Price as Friday starter after being freshman All-American. ... Jacobson, a junior, could be first-round pick.
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