The Corvallis Regional hosted by Oregon State is one of 16 four-team regionals that begin Friday in the 64-team, double-elimination NCAA Division I Tournament.
Regionals winners advance to the best-of-three Super Regionals. The winner of the Corvallis Regional is bracketed with the winner of the Auburn Regional that includes the host Tigers, UCLA, Florida State and Southeastern Louisiana.
The eight Super Regionals winners advance to the 75th College World Series, which is June 16-27 in Omaha, Neb.
Here’s a glance at the teams in the Corvallis Regional:
University of San Diego (36-18): The Toreros are playing in the postseason for the first time in nine years after earning an automatic berth with their victory over Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference Tournament championship.
USD ranked first in the WCC in batting (.290), home runs (53), runs per game (6.9) and slugging percentage (.441), among other categories.
The Toreros offense is led by C Caleb Ricketts (.375, 16 HR, 53 RBIs), the WCC Player of the Year, 1B Kevin Sim (.298, 11 HR, 55 RBIs), 2B Chase Meidroth (.338, 10 HR, 46 RBIs), 3B Jack Costello (.310, 8 HR, 42 RBIs) and CF Dustin Allen (.288, 2 HR, 36 RBIs, 15 SB).
LHP Brycen Mautz (9-2, 4.09 ERA, 124 SO/21 BB in 83.2 IP) heads USD’s pitching staff. RHPs Garrett Rennie (2-4, 3.86 ERA) and Ryan Kysar (4-0, 4.77 ERA) are the team’s other primary starting pitchers.
Key pieces in the bullpen include RHPs Ivran Romero (4-3, 1.99 ERA, 3 SV), Ryan Robinson (3-0, 1.87 ERA), Jack Hyde (3-1, 4.38 ERA, 3 SV) and Ian Churchill (3-2, 4.50 ERA, 3 SV).
This is USD’s ninth regionals appearance. The closest the Toreros have come to reaching the Super Regionals was in 2008, when they lost to eventual national champion Fresno State in the finals of the Long Beach Regional.
This is USD’s first visit with Vanderbilt since the Commodores came to Fowler Park to open the 2017 season. The Toreros won the first game of the three-game series before Vandy came back to win the next two games. Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 8-2.
Vanderbilt (36-21): The Commodores finished fourth in the SEC East this season, which was good enough for a No. 2 seed in this regional.
This is the 16th straight regionals appearance for the Commodores, who won national championships in 2014 and 2019 and finished runner-up to Mississippi State for last year’s title.
Vanderbilt’s roster includes three players ranked among the nation’s top prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft — C Dominic Keegan (.363, 12 HR, 58 RBIs), SS Carter Young (.212, 7 HR, 26 RBI) and OF Spencer Jones (.367, 9 HR, 49 RBIs, 12 SB), a La Costa Canyon High graduate.
They are well-armed with LHPs Carter Holton (8-3, 3.15 ERA, 92 SO) and Devin Futrell (8-3, 3.77 ERA, 60 SO) and RHP Chris McElvain (5-5, 4.54 ERA, 89 SO).
RHP Thomas Schultz (4-2, 3.16 ERA, 7 SV) closes things out.
Oregon State (44-15): The Beavers finished runner-up to Stanford in the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament, although it didn’t hurt them a bit in the eyes of the selection committee.
Oregon State received the nation’s No. 3 national seed, meaning it is favored to return to the College World Series for the eighth time in school history (the Beavers won national titles in 2006, 2007 and 2018).
The roster includes three players ranked among the nation’s top prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft — OFs Jacob Melton (.375, 15 HR, 77 RBIs) and Justin Boyd (.373, 7 HR, 48 RBIs) and LHP Cooper Hjerpe (10-2, 1.79 ERA, 140 SO/18 BB in 89 IP).
INF Garret Forrester (.328, 7 HR, 52 RBIs) also is a run producer.
RHP Jacob Kmatz (8-1, 3.89 ERA) was the team’s No. 2 starting pitcher.
Don’t be surprised if the Beavers save Hjerpe for their second game, which figures to present a bigger challenger than their opening opponent.
New Mexico State (24-32): The Aggies lost nine of their last 11 regular season games and wouldn’t have sniffed the postseason, except they got hot at the right time. They swept through the Western Athletic Conference Tournament with four straight victories — beating Abilene Christian in the clincher — to claim the conference’s automatic berth.
The team’s top two starters are RHPs Ian Mejia (6-4, 4.24 ERA, 93 SO) and Pablo Cortes (4-4, 6.61 ERA).
The offensive player to watch is C Logan Gallina (.333, 21 HR, 62 RBIs), the only Aggies player with a double-digit home run total.
The Aggies have made four previous NCAA Tournament appearances. They are still looking for their first postseason win.
Game 1: No. 2 Vanderbilt (36-21) vs. No. 3 USD (36-18), 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 2: No. 1 Oregon State (44-15) vs. No. 4 New Mexico State (24-32), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner
Game 7 (if Game 5 winner wins Game 6): Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism