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Previewing the Norwich 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
Team Conference Record Berth Last NCAA appearance
1. Florida State Atlantic Coast 42-17 Won ACC 2009 (Tallahassee SR)
2. Connecticut Big East 47-14 At-large 1994 (Midwest II Regional)
3. Oregon Pac-10 38-22 At-large 1964 (District 8)
4. Central Conn. State Northeast 33-21 Won NEC 2004 (Oklahoma City Regional)
THE BREAKDOWN
The favorite: Florida State

1. Florida State

2. Connecticut

3. Oregon

4. Central Conn. State
The Seminoles would be the no doubt favorites in this regional if they had a stable pitching staff. However, you're really never sure what to expect when it comes to the Seminoles and pitching. For that reason alone, the Seminoles are a slight favorite to win the Norwich Regional. Tyler Holt and Mike McGee spearhead an offense that enters the weekend hitting .300. On the mound, Sean Gilmartin, Brian Busch and John Gast must get off to good starts. Gilmartin has a 4.80 ERA, Busch a 4.55 ERA and Gast a 5.91. FSU's starting pitching will determine its fate this weekend.
The dark-horse contender: Oregon
Host Connecticut definitely is a contender in this regional, but keep a close eye on the Ducks. Though the Ducks played a less than stellar brand of baseball to end the season, they have the pitching staff to win a regional and super regional and reach the College World Series. The question, though, is whether the Ducks have the offense to go the distance. We'll get the answer this weekend. UO enters the weekend hitting .292 with Eddie Rodriguez and KC Serna leading the way. On the mound, Tyler Anderson leads the way and Zack Thornton, Alex Keudell and Justin LaTempa are starters to watch. UO has the talent to make much noise this weekend.
Best hitter: Connecticut 1B Mike Nemeth
The Huskies have had a season to remember with Nemeth and others leading the way. They couldn't ask for more form Nemeth. The talented first baseman enters the postseason with a team best .380 batting average with 19 doubles, a triple, 14 homers and 80 RBIs. He also is slugging .640 and has a .463 on-base percentage. Also impressive is the fact Nemeth has induced 35 walks and struck out just 23 times. He gets things going for the Connecticut offense.
Best pitcher: LHP Tyler Anderson
The Ducks have been one of the nation's biggest surprises this season in part because of guys such as left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson. Anderson has compiled fabulous numbers this season. He enters the Norwich Regional 7-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 94 2/3 innings. He also has struck out 101 and walked 31 while opponents are hitting just .215 against him. UO's pitching staff is the key to the weekend. It starts with Anderson.
The buzz
The Seminoles have had an up and down type of season but would like to get veterans Stuart Tapley and Stephen Cardullo rolling this weekend. Both hitters have yet to impress at the plate this season. This could be the perfect time to rise up, though. Tapley enters the postseason hitting .287 with seven homers and 37 RBIs. Cardullo, meanwhile, is hitting just .277 with eight homers and 46 RBIs. It will be interesting to see how both players fare this weekend … Connecticut may have a productive offense but its pitching staff will determine its fate this weekend. The Huskies have some solid arms at their disposal. Elliot Glynn has a 2.66 ERA in 84 2/3 innings, Matt Barnes has a 3.87 ERA in 76 2/3 innings and Greg Nappo has a 4.62 ERA in 89 2/3 innings. Also keep an eye on relievers Scott Oberg and Kevin Vance. Oberg has appeared in 28 games and has a 1.62 ERA while Vance has recorded eight saves in 17 appearances … Having a coach like George Horton will help Oregon this weekend. The Ducks finished at the bottom of the Pac-10 by a wide margin last season. But this season, the Ducks enter postseason play with a 38-22 record and couldn't be more thrilled to be in the NCAA tournament. The Ducks do things well on the mound and in the field, but their offense must rise to the occasion throughout the weekend to have a chance to advance. Interestingly, Horton told me earlier this season he thought the team had the pitching staff to get to Omaha. That is something to remember throughout the weekend … Central Connecticut State may leave something to be desired on the mound, but don't doubt these guys at the plate, where they enter the tournament with a fantastic .345 batting average. Sean Allaire and Pat Epps are the main cogs to watch. Allaire is hitting .432 with 13 homers and 72 RBIs and Epps is hitting .425 with 18 homers and 73 RBIs.