The Arizona State Sun Devils will head to California in search of their second College World Series appearance under head coach Tim Esmay. To get to Omaha, the Sun Devils will have to go through a familiar opponent, Cal State Fullerton. The Titans ended Arizona State's season in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
The Sun Devils start off game action against the No. 3 seed in the regional, New Mexico. The Lobos are one of the best hitting teams in the nation and are led by future 1st-round pick D.J. Peterson. Here is your 2013 Fullerton regional preview.
No. 1 Cal State Fullerton (48-8, 23-4 Big West)
The Titans have been one of the most consistent teams all season, as they have only lost eight games and won the Big West by six games over Cal Poly. Fullerton is led on the mound by freshmen Justin Garza (11-0, 2.08 ERA) and Thomas Eshelman (11-2, 1.63 ERA).
Garza won the Big West Pitcher of the Year Award and Eshelman won the Big West Freshman of the Year. The bullpen is led by two-way star Michael Lorenzen (2.14 ERA, 18 saves), who also patrols center field for the Titans (.335 AVG, 7 HR, 50 RBI). The Titans have not lost a weekend series all year.
No. 2 Arizona State (35-20-1, 16-14 Pac-12)
The Sun Devils have been up and down all season. They took series from Oregon and UCLA this season, however they have lost three out of their last four series. On the mound, Arizona State has a dangerous duo in Trevor Williams (5-6, 4.17 ERA) and Ryan Kellogg (11-0, 3.26 ERA). The bullpen is held down by Ryan Burr (2.18 ERA, 11 saves) and left-hander Matt Dunbar.
The Sun Devils led the Pac-12 in home runs this season and they rank seventh nationally with 25 triples. Trevor Allen (.304 AVG, 9 HR, 48 RBI) and Michael Benjamin (.349 AVG, 8 HR, 44 RBI) lead the way. The Sun Devils come into the 2013 postseason with just a .964 fielding percentage.
No. 3 New Mexico Lobos (37-20, 25-5 Mountain West)
The New Mexico Lobos won the 2013 Mountain West regular season title behind their NCAA leading .336 batting average. Some experts believe that New Mexico is the best hitting team in the nation. Leading that attack is slugging third baseman D.J. Peterson (.411, 18 HR, 70 RBI). Peterson is expected to be a first round pick in next week's MLB draft.
The Lobos averaged 8.4 runs per game, they have hit 146 doubles, and have a team on base percentage of .424. On the mound New Mexico is led by junior Josh Walker (11-0, 3.91 ERA) and senior Sam Wolff (7-3, 2.05 ERA).
No. 4 Columbia (27-19, 16-4 Ivy League)
Columbia won both the Ivy League regular season and the conference tournament this season. Columbia is a veteran team that played games against Arizona, Lamar, Central Florida and Miami this season. Alex Black (.320 AVG, 7 HR, 29 RBI) paces Columbia at the plate.
The Lions are led on the mound by junior left-hander David Speer (6-2, 2.17 ERA) and Joey Donino (6-0, 3.06). As a team, Columbia has an 85 percent success rate on stolen bases.
The Key Players
D.J. Peterson - New Mexico (.411 18 HR, 70 RBI)
The junior third basemen from Gilbert, Arizona, has been tearing the cover off the ball all season. He is considered one of the best college bats in the nation. Last season, Peterson was named an All-American after hitting 17 home runs and hitting over .400.
Michael Lorenzen - Cal State Fullerton (.335, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 2.14 ERA 18 Saves)
Lorenzen is known as one of the best defensive center fielders in the country, and he also doubles as Fullerton's closer. Lorenzen has a high 90's fastball and a breaking ball in the mid-80's. Lorenzen is a key cog in Fullerton's outstanding pitching staff.
Justin Garza - Cal State Fullerton (11-0, 2.08 ERA)
The freshman right-hander from Ontario, California, won the Big West Pitcher of the Year award in his first season in college. Garza averages 7.22 strikeouts per game and has only allowed three home runs. He has only walked 16 batters in 99.2 innings pitched.
Trevor Williams - Arizona State (5-6, 4.17 ERA)
Despite his less than steller statistics, Williams has some of the best "stuff" of any pitcher in this regional. The right-hander is a strike thrower that goes right after hitters.
Ryan Kellogg - Arizona State (11-0, 3.26 ERA)
Kellogg has been one of the best freshman pitchers in the nation this season. Kellogg no-hit the No. 3 national seed Oregon State Beavers this season, and was a workhorse all season for the maroon and gold.
Game 1: Arizona State vs. New Mexico - 4 p.m.
Game 2: Cal State Fullerton vs. Columbia - 8 p.m.
Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 - 4 p.m.
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - 8 p.m.
Game 5: Loser Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3 - 4 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5 - 8 p.m.
Monday (if necessary)
Game 7: Loser of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 6 - 8 p.m.