FSU vs UCLA: Regional preview, how to watch, NCAA tournament stream

FSU vs UCLA: Regional preview, how to watch, NCAA tournament stream

For their 44th straight appearance in the NCAA playoffs, the Seminoles (33-23) will travel to the Auburn area. After a shaky end to the regular season, FSU found itself among the top three seeds in the region. The host Auburn Tigers are the lone seed, with FSU’s first opponent UCLA Bruins as the second seed, and the Southeast Louisiana Lions as the fourth seed.

On Friday, Florida State beat UCLA 5-3, while Auburn blasted Southeast Louisiana 19-7. The Seminoles then played the Tigers on Saturday, dropping 7 runs in the fourth inning en route to a resounding 21-7 victory – a trend in the region, with UCLA beating the Lions 16-2.

The Seminoles and Bruins now face off at 2 p.m. Sunday, with the loser getting elimination and the winner getting at least one game against Auburn. If FSU’s winner over UCLA beats Auburn, it will have to defeat the Tigers again in a back-to-back game on Monday.

Break down the Auburn Regional

Auburn Tigers (38-19)

Top Performing Auburn

  • 1B Sonny Di Chiara: .378 AVG/ .787 SLG/ 18 HR
  • 3B Blake Rambusch: .349 AVG/ .457 SLG/ 16 SB
  • RF Bobby Pierce: .312 AVG/ .584 SLG/ 7HR
  • HRP Joseph Gonzalez: 6-2, 2.74 MPM, 3.9 K/BB
  • RHP Blake Burkhalter: 4-2, 3.76 ERA, 13 saves

Auburn has the best offense in the area showing good pop and average throughout the lineup and not a ton of strikeouts. DiChiara is easily the highlight of Auburn’s offense. The elder does everything you might expect from someone at the plate. He hits for average and power but walks much more than hits. The key to dealing with DiChiara is making sure the bases are clear when he comes to the plate.

Pitching is another matter with Auburn. They don’t really have a big pen but have a few parts here and there. Burkhalter is probably their best arm out of the bullpen with high K and low average. However, he was sensitive to the long ball. Auburn will pitch Friday night starter Trace Bright on Friday, which means if FSU were to face Auburn on Saturday, they would likely face Gonzalez. Gonzalez isn’t a big batter, but does a good job playing defense and the Tigers have one of the best in the country.

UCLA Bruins (39-23)

UCLA Best Performer

  • SS Cody Schrier: .293 AVG/ 70H/ 9H
  • RF Michel Curialle: .326 AVG/ 72H/ 25XBH
  • 1B Jacques Palmer: .314 AVG/ .395 SLG/ 69H
  • HPR Max Rajcic: 8-4, 3.08MPM, 5.1K/BB
  • RHP Kelly Austin: 4-3, 4.33MPM, 4.2K/BB

The Bruins might be the best top-to-bottom team in the region if not for their injury issues. UCLA introduced a very good class to start the year and saw good production from that class before losing players here and there. The roster isn’t likely to impress fans, but they’re a typical West Coast team that can play a good little ball and provide tough one-for-nine outings. Freshman shortstop Schrier is probably their most dangerous hitter, but he missed the Pac-12 tournament due to injury. He is expected this weekend.

Another player to miss the second Pac-12 tournament, Rajcic, had an impressive season. He is expected to start against FSU and will be the other half of what should be the best throwing game of the day as he takes on Parker Messick. UCLA have a good pen and they will be tough, but they might struggle as the region continues due to injury holes in their personnel.

Southeast Louisiana Lions (30-31)

Southeast Louisiana’s Top Performers

  • 1B Preston Faulkner: .343AVG/ .685SLG/ 17HR
  • 3B Shea Thomas: .294AVG/ .435SLG/ 6HR
  • HH Evan Keller: .259 AVG/ .455 SLG/ 10 HR
  • RHP Will Kinzeler: 4-2, 3.60MPM, 1.9K/BB
  • RHP Gage Trahan: 4-4, 4.15 ERA, 11 saves

The Lions weren’t going to make the tournament on their record alone, but they were able to win both conference playoff games from conference headliner McNeese State to secure a playoff berth. Ace Kinzeler is likely to pitch against Auburn and their starting pitch tends to dwindle afterward.

Likewise, their strike falls past Faulkner but he is a good hitter. Southeast Louisiana will try to cause problems on the base paths as they run a bit. Anything can happen in a regional and the Lions are certainly hot right now.

Friday schedule


Florida State wins 5-3

On TomahawkNation.com:

The Seminoles scored in the first and Parker Messick pitched five solid innings to give FSU an opening win in the Auburn Area, 5-3.

Messick’s line of five innings pitched, two runs, four strikeouts and two walks doesn’t look great, but until the fifth inning, he was dominating. UCLA is a talented team and not one that is going to hit a lot but Messick induced a lot of weak contacts. All in all, he finished the game with a quality start and put his pen back in the lead and you can’t ask for much more from a pitcher than that.

From UCLA:

UCLA right-hander Max Rajcic (8-5) soaked up the loss, allowing four runs and five hits in six frames.

“It was a tough game, I think both teams did a really good job putting two really good pitchers in tough situations,” UCLA head coach John Savage said. “We had opportunities, but [Florida State] have done a little more with their opportunities than us.

The score of the box

Auburn vs. Southeast Louisiana

Auburn wins 19-7

From Auburn:

Cole Foster smashed three of Auburn’s seven home runs and drove nine to lead the Tigers to a 19-7 win Friday on Auburn-Area Opening Day at Plainsman Park. In the build-up to Auburn’s first home regional in 12 years, head coach Butch Thompson called the Tigers’ recent offensive woes “the elephant in the room.” Auburn quickly responded to that concern by scoring 11 runs in the first inning, matching the Tigers’ combined output in their previous four games in a single inning. “Great night for us,” Thompson said. “The whole range came out swinging. We looked for that. When you see them investing in something and being rewarded for it, it’s a good feeling.

From Southeast Louisiana:

Evan Keller and Tristan Welch led SLU at the plate with two hits apiece. Keller and Shea Thomas each made a pair of runs, while Tyler Finke hit a solo home run for the Lions. The Tigers got the upper hand against SLU starter Adam Guth (4-2) late in the first inning. After a first Blake Rambusch single, Cole Foster homered over the left field wall from 30 feet to give AU the early advantage. Two batters later, Bobby Peirce bolstered the lead with a two-run shot over the center field fence. Later in the frame, Foster cleared the bases with a grand slam, while SEC co-player of the year Sonny DiChiera followed with his own solo home run. In total, Auburn’s first eight batters reached and SLU fell to an 11-0 first hole in an inning that saw 14 Tigers come to the plate.

Southeastern posted a twisted number for the second straight innings in the top of the third. A two-run single from Thomas brought the Lions back inside, 13-3. SLU added to their tally in the top of the fourth, as back-to-back doubles by Christian Garcia and Welch cut Auburn’s lead to 13-4. Auburn added to their tally late in the fourth inning. Foster’s third home run of the contest — a three-run shot over the right-field fence — pushed the Tiger advantage to 16-4. Nate LaRue’s second home run of the game extended Auburn’s lead to 17-4 after six innings.

Saturday schedule

Southeast Louisiana vs. UCLA, 1 p.m. ET

From UCLA:

UCLA’s No. 2 baseball team totaled 19 hits in a 16-2 win over No. 4 Southeast Louisiana in a Saturday afternoon playoff game at Auburn’s Plainsman Park.

Five UCLA pitchers combined to limit Southeast Louisiana (30-31) to two runs and three hits in nine innings. Additionally, UCLA’s 16 runs were the most on the schedule in an NCAA tournament game since a 17-7 triumph over Oklahoma on June 5, 2004.

“It’s an elimination game, so you have to go out shooting,” UCLA head coach John Savage said. “We did a good job swinging the bats. I think we put together a lot of good batsmen, we hit balls hard. I thought we were patient when we needed to be patient, and we were aggressive when we needed to be aggressive. The Bruins have scored in six of nine innings and reached base in each of the first eight frames. In all, four UCLA players finished Saturday’s game with at least three hits.

Florida State vs. Auburn, 7 p.m. ET

On TomahawkNation.com:

Florida State’s baseball team struggled early on and never seemed to find its footing in the Seminoles’ rout by the Auburn Tiger. Auburn scored seven fourth-inning runs en route to a 21-7 loss to Florida State.

It was clear from the first batter that Bryce Hubbart’s control was not there tonight. He seemed to struggle with his grip and his off-speed throws were either in the middle or outside the strike zone. Auburn was able to sit on the fastball and make Hubbart pay. The second lasted just 2.1 innings with a line of 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 BB.

After Hubbart, the bullpen did no better. Whittaker went 0.2 innings, Dunn allowed three hits and four runs without recording an out, and McMullen walked five batters. Armstrong walked three and dunked two and finally Simmons allowed two homers on the ninth. A global one-night disaster for FSU pitchers.

Saturday schedule

Florida State vs. UCLA, 2 p.m. ET

UCLA/Florida State vs. Auburn, 7 p.m. ET

Tomahawk Nation will have updates in-game and on our Twitter.

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