Baseball Regional Preview

The ASU baseball team capped off a season in which they reached the 50 win plateau for the first time since 1990 and a top five ranking in most publications. After being snubbed and not receiving a top eight national seed, the Devils are determined to make it out of regional play and advance to the next round. Here is a preview of the three other teams in the regional that will try to stand in ASU's way.

Central Connecticut State

The regional's fourth seeded Blue Devils, who hail from the Northeast Conference, finished the regular season with a 31-15-2 record and will face ASU on Friday. They are lead by Conference Player of the Year Tim D'Aguila, who topped the NEC with a .434 batting average, which was good enough for fifth in the country. He also hit two home runs, 36 RBI's, and had a team high 21 multi-hit games on the year. CCSU also had the Conference Pitcher of the Year in Barry Hertzler. His 1.50 ERA and 9-2 record lead the NEC, while his nine complete games and 83 innings pitched paced his own squad. First baseman Phil Rothkugel was fourth on the team in hitting at .356 and hit 44 RBI's. Third baseman Nick Macellaro, who is the school's all-time leader in hits, had a .361 average with 25 RBI's. The Blue Devils did not play any other team that was a common opponent for ASU.


The 20th ranked and second seeded Runnin' Rebels travel to Tempe with a 45-15 record. They are 20-7 in games played against common opponents to ASU. They are lead by first baseman Fernando Valenzuela, who leads the team with 14 home runs and 73 RBI's, while his .348 batting average was good enough for fourth. Mountain West Conference Tournament MVP Patrick Dobson lead the team with a .363 average, 67 runs scored, a .623 slugging percentage, and tied for first with Valenzuela at 18 doubles. He was second behind Valenzuela in both home runs (12) and RBI's (63). Third baseman Brent Johnson was one of two players to play in all 60 games, leading the team in hits with 90. Johnson had a .354 batting average, with six home runs and 51 RBI's. Relief pitcher Ryan Braun was first on the team with seven saves, 3.34 ERA, and 26 appearances. Braun was 5-2 on the year in 29 2/3 innings pitched. Starting pitcher Matt Luca was a perfect 5-0 with a 3.88 ERA in 11 games started. Robbie Van and Jake Vose each lead the team with eight wins.

New Mexico State

Being paired in the same region for the second straight season with ASU, the Aggies will arrive as the third seed with a 42-16 record. They went 3-2 against New Mexico, and 1-1 against Oregon State, both common opponents to the Devils. They are lead by Tempe McClintock High School product Billy Becher, who was the Sun Belt Conference Newcomer and Player of the Year. He led the nation with 30 home runs and 109 RBI's. He also lead the Sun Belt in hits with 98, batting average (.430), slugging percentage (.921), total bases (210), on base percentage (.492), and tied the school record for grand slams in a season with four. Second baseman Brad Ditter was second on the team with a .399 batting average. He lead in runs scored with 80, and tied a school record with eight triples. Centerfielder Alex Borgo had a .353 batting average, 17 home runs, and 69 RBI's with 73 runs scored. On the mound, the Aggies are lead by Dustin Cameron, who went 8-3 with a 5.12 ERA with two complete games in 16 starts. One of the team's stars out of the bullpen is Mike Smith, who had five saves on the year.

The winner of this regional will advance to the Super Regional against the winner of the Fullerton regional, which features Cal-State Fullerton, Arizona, Notre Dame, and San Diego.

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