The Wake Forest baseball team received great news yesterday, landing a coveted spot in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. It is the first time the Diamond Deacs have made the Regionals since 2007, when the Deacs were also a three seed but were bounced quickly with losses to UC-Irvine and Texas.
The Deacs will be making a return trip to Texas, where they also played in 2007, but this time are matched up with three new names in Texas A&M, Minnesota, and Binghamton. The top seed in the region and host Texas A&M enters the NCAA Tournament ranked 4th overall in the RPI and after an opening game loss in the SEC Tournament, rattled off four straight wins over top 10 RPI teams to claim the SEC title. The Aggies will open up the tournament against fourth-seeded Binghamton who secured a spot in the big dance by winning the America East Conference Tournament over Stony Brook in the championship game.
The third-seeded Deacs will open up their regional play against the second-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota had a bit of a tumultuous season at times, opening up with a 10-9 record before playing well enough in conference play to win the Big 10 regular season title. Despite this title, the Gophers lost their first two games in the Big 10 Tournament and were eliminated quickly. This elimination brought some concern about their chances of making the NCAA Tournament with many college baseball sites projecting Minnesota to be one of the last teams into the field.
Fortunately for Minnesota, they not only received a bid to the Tournament but were given a two seed, indicating the emphasis that the committee placed on regular season conference performance - preferring to reward the Gophers for winning the conference rather than harping on their late-season slide which culminated in an early exit in Omaha in the Big 10 Tournament.
What can Demon Deacon fans expect to see from each of the other teams at the College Station Regional? Let's take a look at each of the four teams in the region and how they fared over the course of the season:
1. Texas A&M Aggies (Overall 4th National Seed)
Record: 45-14 (20-10 SEC)
NPI (Warren Nolan Power Index): 5th
Record v. Top 50 RPI: 19-10
Home Record: 29-5
Runs Per Game: 7.2
Runs Allowed Per Game: 3.6
Last 15 Games: 10-5
Bid: SEC Tournament Champion (Automatic Bid)
2. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Record: 32-20 (16-7 Big Ten)
NPI (Warren Nolan Power Index): 35th
Record v. Top 50 RPI: 3-4
Road/Neutral Record: 21-14
Runs Per Game: 6.5
Runs Allowed Per Game: 4.6
Last 15 Games: 8-7
3. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Record: 34-25 (13-17 ACC)
NPI (Warren Nolan Power Index): 71st
Record v. Top 50 RPI: 13-17
Road/Neutral Record: 15-17
Runs Per Game: 6.5
Runs Allowed Per Game: 5.7
Last 15 Games: 7-8
4. Binghamton Bearcats
Record: 30-23 (19-5 America East)
NPI (Warren Nolan Power Index): 102nd
Record v. Top 50 RPI: 0-0
Road/Neutral Record: 16-22
Runs Per Game: 6.3
Runs Allowed Per Game: 5.1
Last 15 Games: 12-3
Bid: America East Champion (Automatic Bid)
The College Station Region kicks off on Friday when Wake takes on Minnesota at 4 P.M. (EST) on ESPN3. That game will be followed by Texas A&M and Binghamton in the nightcap.
The winners and losers of these two first round games will square off on Saturday in this double-elimination format. The losers will play Saturday at 4 P.M. in an elimination game. The winners will play in the Saturday nightcap. The loser of the nightcap will play in an elimination game Sunday at 4 P.M. and the Championship Game will take place later that night. If the team from the "loser's bracket" knocks off the team that is 2-0, there will be a decisive final game on Monday with the time currently yet to be announced - most likely for television purposes.
Games Times (all times Eastern):
Friday, June 3 Minnesota vs. Wake Forest 4 p.m.
Friday, June 3 Texas A&M vs. Binghamton 9 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 losers from Friday 4 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 winners from Friday 9 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 Elimination game 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 Championship game 9 p.m.
Monday, June 6 If necessary TBA
Stay tuned to Blogger So Dear this week as we provide full coverage of Wake Forest's trip to College Station for NCAA Tournament play. Tomorrow we will take a deeper look at the Deacs first opponent: Minnesota. If anyone has questions about the Golden Gophers they want answered, let us know below and we will try and include any and all relevant information in the preview.
Congratulations again to the Wake Forest baseball team and as always, go Deacs!