We’re down to 16 teams in the NCAA baseball tournament, and it’ll be down to the final eight after this weekend. Here are 10 of the topics for this weekend’s best-of-three super regionals, which will determine the field for the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., starting June 15:
1. Welcome back, Coach
South Carolina’s Chad Holbrook will return to his old stomping grounds for his first super regional as a head coach. The Gamecocks are playing at top-seeded North Carolina, where Holbrook was an outfielder from 1990-93 and an assistant from 1994-2008.
2. Back in good standing
LSU pitcher Cody Glenn’s teammates voted him back onto the team after he missed a start in regionals because of an undisclosed violation of team rules. The No. 4 seed Tigers turned to senior left-hander Brent Bonvillain for the regional final against Louisiana-Lafayette, and he allowed three hits and no earned runs in a career-best 5.1 innings.
3. Been there, done that
Seventh-seeded Florida State is appearing in the super regionals for the sixth year in a row, the longest streak in the nation, and for the 13th time in 15 years. The Seminoles have won 19 straight regional games since 2008 and will be playing in their 291st NCAA tournament game Saturday against Indiana.
4. Sam goes bam
The bat of Sam Travis is a big reason Indiana is the first Big Ten team since 2007 to reach a super regional. The sophomore first baseman goes into the series at Florida State with a .538 batting average in seven postseason games. He has hit three homers and four doubles, driven in 11 runs and hasn’t struck out in 26 at-bats.
5. Familiar foes
The UCLA and Cal State Fullerton campuses are 45 miles apart, and their teams are meeting in the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in seven years. Fullerton beat the Bruins in a 2007 super regional and defeated them again in regionals the next year. UCLA prevailed in a 2010 super regional.
6. Runs, not style points
Kansas State, which plays at No. 3 seed Oregon State, is looking like a team of destiny considering how two of its biggest wins of the season came. The Wildcats clinched their first Big 12 regular-season championship on a bases-loaded passed ball in the ninth inning against Oklahoma. After falling behind 3-0 in the regional final against Arkansas, they scored the tying run on a wild pitch during an intentional walk and the winner on another wild pitch.
7. Leading the way
N.C. State leadoff man Trea Turner goes into the Wolfpack’s super regional against Rice having reached base in 107 of his 114 career games. When he gets on base, the Wolfpack is 82-25. When he doesn’t, they are 8-9.
8. Not a two-man show
Tyler Beede and Kevin Ziomek are Vanderbilt’s 1-2 pitching punch, but don’t forget sophomore lefty Philip Pfeifer. He might be coach Tim Corbin’s go-to guy if the super regional against Louisville goes to a third game.
9. Dominate late
If you want to beat No. 6 seed Virginia, you need to jump on the Cavaliers early. Virginia enters its home series against Mississippi State having given up no runs after the sixth inning in six straight games.
10. Double duty?
Oklahoma is bidding to make it to both the men’s and women’s College World Series in the same season — a feat accomplished 13 times since 2000. The most recent schools to do it were California and Florida in 2011. As for the softball team, the Sooners swept Tennessee in the WCWS championship round.