Previewing the Fort Worth Regional

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The Road to Omaha continues this weekend with NCAA regional action.

We take an in-depth look at all 16 NCAA regionals.

THE TEAMS
TeamConferenceRecordBerthLast NCAA appearance
1. Texas ChristianMountain West46-11Won MWC2009 (Austin SR)
2. BaylorBig 1234-22At-large2009 (Baton Rouge Regional)
3. ArizonaPac-1033-22At-large2008 (Coral Gables SR)
4. LamarSouthland35-24Won Southland2004 (Houston Regional)
THE BREAKDOWN
The favorite: TCU
1. TCU   
2. Baylor
3. Arizona
4. Lamar
If not for one loss to Air Force a few weeks ago the Horned Frogs likely would be a national seed. As it stands, the Frogs must take care of business this weekend and possibly get past Texas (again) to reach the College World Series. TCU has a very balanced club. The Horned Frogs enter the weekend hitting an impressive .343. It also has an excellent pitching staff that possesses a 3.54 ERA. Offensively, keep a close eye on Josh Elander, Bryan Holaday and Matt Curry. On the mound, Steven Maxwell, Kyle Winkler, Tyler Lockwood and Trent Appleby are outstanding arms.
The dark-horse contender: Baylor
The Bears played a clutch brand of baseball down the stretch and are worth watching this weekend. BU can pull the upset over the Horned Frogs. Baylor has a solid offense that enters the weekend hitting .309. But its most damage must be done on the mound, where the staff possesses a 3.93 ERA and Logan Verrett, Craig Fritsch, Shawn Tolleson and Willie Kempf lead the way. Also keep an eye on hard-throwing reliever Brooks Pinckard, who has recorded 10 saves and has a solid 2.15 ERA in 29 1/3 innings. BU is playing its best at the right time.
Best hitter: Arizona OF Steve Selsky
The Wildcats stumbled down the stretch, but the same can’t be said for the talented outfielder. Though there were times this spring when Selsky struggled, he has been consistent for the most part. He enters the postseason with fantastic numbers. He leads the team in hitting with a .383 batting average, 17 doubles, six triples, eight homers and 51 RBIs. He also has a .622 slugging percentage and a .463 on-base percentage. It’ll be very interesting to see how much success Selsky and the Arizona offense has against the likes of TCU and Baylor.
Best pitcher: TCU LHP Matt Purke
Many were surprised when Purke decided to turned down overtures from the Texas Rangers as a first round pick to attend college. Well, what was the Rangers’ loss has been TCU’s gain this season. The left-hander has had a fabulous freshman campaign for the Horned Frogs. He has started 14 games and has a 12-0 record and a 3.34 ERA in 89 innings. He also has struck out 113 and walked 25 and is limiting opposing teams to just a .225 batting average. There’s a reason Purke was offered millions last summer.
The buzz
TCU has several talented pitchers and hitters, but arguably no player gets the Frogs going like veteran catcher Bryan Holaday. In addition to his duties behind the plate, Holaday is an excellent hitter and leader. Holaday once again will be counted on this weekend, too. Holaday enters the postseason hitting .357 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs. He also has been solid behind the plate with an impressive .989 fielding percentage in 57 starts. Remember the name Bryan Holaday the rest of the week … Baylor has made some major strides at the plate this season, and much credit goes to leading hitters Raynor Campbell and Joey Hainsfurther. Campbell finally has met expectations while Hainsfurther has continued where he left off last season. Campbell is batting .350 with 14 doubles, seven homers and 41 RBIs, while Hainsfurther is hitting .341 with 12 doubles, three triples and 47 RBIs … Arizona enters the weekend battered or bruised after a poor finish to the regular season. But the Wildcats could receive a big-time boost from ace pitcher Kurt Heyer in opening round action against Baylor. Heyer has had a fantastic campaign for the Wildcats and has a 3.28 ERA in 96 innings. He also has struck out 104 and walked 25 and has limited opponents to just a .254 batting average. Arizona has a chance to surprise some people if it can start the regional on a positive note … Lamar has two players (Aaron Buchanan and Andy Mena) that are hitting .340 or better this season. But on the mound, the Cardinals certainly leave something to be desired. The Cardinals have three OK starting pitchers in Matison Smith, Jonathan Dziedzic and Eric Harrington. However, opponents are hitting Smith at a .304 clip, .284 against Dziedzic and .294 against Harrington. Lamar’s pitching must be better against TCU, Baylor and Arizona.

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com. Follow him on Twitter and follow Yahoo! Sports College Baseball on Facebook. Send Kendall a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Thursday, Jun 3, 2010