SAINT LOUIS – [TOURNAMENT CENTRAL] After a punching its ticket to the NCAA Regional, the Saint Louis University Billikens could only wait and see where they would be headed. On Monday, the team got its answer as the NCAA announced that they would occupy the No. 4-seed in the Oxford, Miss., regional, hosted by Ole Miss.
The Billikens (38-18) will look to not only continue its success of late, but continue the string of success that the Atlantic 10 has seen in the NCAA Regional. The representative of the league in the NCAA Regional has advanced to a Super Regional in two out of the last three seasons. VCU made it through the Dallas Regional in 2015 while Davidson defeated the field in Chapel Hill, N.C. in 2017.
Saint Louis was placed in the Oxford Regional along with the host and No. 4 team in the nation, Ole Miss. The Rebels have had a big season in the SEC in 2018 and completed their run in Hoover, Ala., with a dominant 9-1 win over LSU in the championship game of the postseason tournament. The home team enters NCAA Regional play with an incredible 46-win season and features a .303 batting average and a top-level starter in Ryan Rolison. The lefty transfer out of Jackson, Tenn. (University of Jackson) enters play with a 9-4 record and opponents are hitting .239 against him.
The SEC placed 10 teams in the field of 64, an NCAA record, showing how difficult the gauntlet of the conference and tournament were for the Rebels.
Also in the field are a couple of teams that have made waves in in the Midwest. Tennessee Tech earned the No. 2-seed and made a statement in college baseball in 2018 as perhaps the most dangerous hitting team in the nation. The Golden Eagles finished with an incredible team batting average of .342 and a team slugging percentage of over .600.
Tennessee Tech put together the longest win streak in the nation as they rattled-off 28-consecutive wins. A team that came out of the Ohio Valley Conference with an at-large bid has put themselves on the radar as one of the most dangerous teams heading into NCAA Regional play. The Golden Eagles are also battle-tested. They defeated Florida State in the 2017 Regional in Tallahassee last season.
Rounding-out the field is the always-talented Missouri State Bears. The former college home of coach Joey Hawkins, the Bears grabbed the automatic bid out of the Missouri Valley Conference. After beating Dallas Baptist in a thrilling 7-6, 10-inning victory.
A team that put together an impressive 18-3 mark in The Valley, the Bears feature a 10-game winner in Dylan Coleman who finished with a 3.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts. 10 players have recorded at least one home run, and if the Bears can get past their first-round game, is a definitive threat to pull the upset in Oxford.
The Billikens have put together an impressive run in 2018, including rattling-off 15 wins in a row, ranked the third longest win streak in the nation this season. Saint Louis will try to use its pitching depth to get itself through the regional in Oxford. While Ole Miss may have the tougher schedule and Tennessee Tech may have the most impressive hitting team, no team will have better depth than the Billikens in the starting rotation. Two of the three featured starters for Saint Louis enter play with 10 wins (Miller Hogan and Drew Reveno).
The Billikens will open play against the Rebels on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CDT and will be broadcast live on the SEC Network. For fans traveling to Oxford, click HERE for information on tickets.