This year's Austin Regional appearance marks the fourth time Army has reached the NCAA postseason since 2000, and the third since 2004.
Army took a step back in 2008, when they finished with a 25-25 overall record. But with a roster that was almost fifty percent freshmen, the struggles were no surprise.
Now, those players have led Army to a 34-19 record and a first-place finish in the Patriot League. Sophomores Kevin McKague, Kirk Porter, Ben Koenigsfeld and Clint Moore—among others—been the core of the team and helped bring Army back to the postseason.
Like most northern teams in small conferences, Army's RPI was low, ranking 142nd in the country. The club finished with a 1-6 record against fellow regional participants. They were swept by George Mason (three games) and Ohio State (two games) early in the year before splitting a series with Ivy League champ Dartmouth last weekend.
Army's strength is its offense, as they have batted .334 on the season with 111 doubles and 54 home runs. With only 33 sacrifice hits on the season, they aren't a team that will do much bunting.
The Black Knights have a physically imposing middle of the order. Cleanup hitter and designated hitter Joey Henshaw stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 250 pounds. He is batting .394 with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs on the season.
First baseman Kevin McKague is 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, and he is hitting an even .400 this year.
Of the first six hitters in Army's projected batting order, only Andy Ernesto (.314) is hitting lower than .343.
If the Army offense has one glaring weakness, it would probably be depth. Only two players—Tony Capozzi and David Darnell—have seen extended time off the bench this year.
Most northern college baseball programs don't have a lot of talented pitchers, but a number of Army's hurlers reach 90 mph.
Starting pitcher Matt Fouch is the leader of the staff. He doesn't have overpowering stuff, but Fouch possesses a good breaking ball and a usable changeup.
Sophomore Ben Koenigsfeld doubles as one of Army's top hitters. He was named All-Patriot League at two different positions.
Right-hander Kirk Porter has a great pitcher's body at 6-foot-5, 225-pounds. He throws in the upper-80s, low-90s with a good slurve.
Kevin McKague is yet another two-way player for the Black Knights. He serves as the team's closer and generally pitches about one inning at a time. McKague's low-90s fastball and good splitter make him tough to hit.
The go-to guy out of the bullpen is Tyler Anderegg, who is 6-2 with a 4.40 earned-run average. The Colorado Springs native has notched 43 innings in 23 appearances this season.
Freshman Manny Fernandez is the hardest throwing player on the staff and he likely has the best raw stuff. However, he has struggled and may not see much action in the regional. Fernandez is a name to watch for the future.
Realistically, Army doesn't have much of a chance to win the regional, but that is the case with just about every fourth-seeded team. They are far more talented than most northern clubs, particularly teams Texas has recently seen in regionals, such as Brown, Quinnipiac, and Youngstown State.
The Austin Regional may have the best balance between the second, third, and fourth seeds. All three clubs are solid with decent talent. Because of that, the Black Knights have a good chance to pick up at least one victory in this weekend's regional, and they could give the Longhorns some problems on Friday night.