May 30, 2014 9:48:24 AM
No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette (53-7, 26-4 Sun Belt)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Fourteenth appearance (second straight), Sun Belt tournament champion
OVERVIEW: The Ragin' Cajuns enters the postseason ranked No. 1 in the Baseball America Top 25 poll for the first time ever and with 53 wins, eight more than any other team in the country. ULL's led the nation in scoring margin (+4.1 runs per game) and their explosive offense ranked in the nation's top five in batting, scoring, doubles, triples, home runs, slugging percentage, stolen bases, sacrifice flies, and on-base percentage.
No. 2 Mississippi State (37-22, 18-12 SEC West)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: 32nd appearance (fourth straight), At-large selection from Southeastern Conference
OVERVIEW: The Bulldogs hope to repeat the postseason magic of 2013 that pushed them to the College World Series championship series. A year ago, MSU relied on its bullpen and defense (.981 fielding percentage, sixth in the nation) and it is using a similar formula this season. The lineup has different parts but enough proven winners and the experience of playing in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, to make the Bulldogs a dangerous No. 2 seed.
No. 3 San Diego State (42-19, 17-13 Mountain West)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: 11th appearance (second straight), Mountain West tournament champion
OVERVIEW: The Aztecs have spent most of the season without head coach Tony Gwynn. The Baseball Hall of Famer is dealing with undisclosed health issues. Veteran assistant coaches Mark Martinez and John Pawlowski, a former head coach at Auburn, have helped SDSU post its best winning percentage (.689) since 1990. Speedy switch-hitter Greg Allen (.310, 25 stolen bases) sets the tone and is one of the nation's best defensive center fielders.
No. 4 Jackson State (31-23, 9-15 SWAC East)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Sixth appearance (second straight), Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament champion
OVERVIEW: The Tigers repeated as SWAC champion for the first time since 1994-95. SWAC tournament MVP Desmond Russell earned the win in the title game against Alabama State. He started and went five innings and was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. He will start tonight against Louisiana-Lafayette.
1. Dillingham fits right in as student assistant coach COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Coaches drive MSU to be best COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Caledonia's Cross signs to play volleyball at Huntingdon HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Origin of MSU's success doesn't get old LOCAL COLUMNS