NCAA baseball tournament 2015: 64 teams, 64 need-to-know nuggets

The Road to Omaha started Friday, with 64 teams playing in the NCAA baseball tournament, so here are 64 tidbits to help you sound smart when talking college baseball this weekend.Los Angeles Regional1. UCLA: Senior closer David Berg, a walk-on at the start of his college career, has 48 career saves and is one of college baseball’s all-time great relievers – he set the NCAA mark for career appearances in May and now has 172 in his time with the Bruins.  MORE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The favorites, the upstarts and the toughest draws | Regional matchups2. Ole Miss: Third baseman Colby Bortles is the younger brother of former UCF and current Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. 3. Maryland: The Terps have reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season after going 43 years between trips.4. CSU Bakersfield: Coach Bill Kernen is a writer: His 1998 play, Galleria degli Angeli, was a finalist in the Oglebay Institute National Playwriting Competition. This is Bakersfield's first appearance.Lake Elsinore Regional5. UC Santa Barbara: Dillon Tate is one of college baseball's best pitchers and likely will be one of the first players chosen in this year's draft.6. USC: The Trojans are making their first NCAA tourney appearance in 10 years. USC has 12 national titles, the highest total in NCAA Division I history.7. Virginia: Coach Brian O’Connor pitched on the 1991 College World Series team at Creighton and has led the Cavaliers to Omaha in 2009, 2011 and 2014 — he was the model for one of the players depicted in the famous statue outside TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.8. San Diego State: Junior ace Bubba Derby, in addition to having one of the best names in the tourney, was a closer his freshman year and ranks sixth in the nation in strikeouts.Springfield Regional9. Missouri State: Matt Hall leads the nation with 152 strikeouts. Five of the top six strikeout pitchers will pitch in this year's tourney.10. Iowa: Rick Heller has guided the Hawkeyes to 30-win seasons in his first two years, the first time they've won 30-plus games in back-to-back seasons since 1989-90.11. Oregon: The Ducks won all five of their final series and nine of their last 10 games, including two of three against Pac-12 champs UCLA, to fight their way into the postseason picture.12. Canisius: Canisius pulled off a miracle in the MAAC Tournament by winning five straight elimination games, including championship-game victories over the defending MAAC champ Siena. Stillwater Regional13. Oklahoma State: Michael Freeman was named the Big-12 conference pitcher of the year, becoming only the second Oklahoma State player to ever win the award.14. Arkansas: Outfielder Andrew Benintendi was named SEC player of the year and also has been cited for early All-America honors. In his senior year of high school, he averaged 25.5 points per game and earned Division III Co-Player of the Year honors.15. Oral Roberts: This is the 25th time the Golden Eagles have played in the NCAA Tournament, and they have in 34-48 all-time record in the postseason.16. St. John's: St. John’s ranks ninth all time with 35 NCAA tournament appearances and is riding a 15-game winning streak.Coral Gables Regional17. Miami: Junior David Thompson finished the regular season as the nation’s leader in RBIs and heads into the NCAA regional with 80.18. East Carolina: Catcher Luke Lowery’s father is a longtime high school baseball coach in Virginia, and his brother Jake won the 2011 Johnny Bench Award given to college baseball’s best catcher.19. Columbia: Joey Falcone, the son of former pitcher Pete Falcone, ranks eighth in the country in slugging and served three tours of duty as a Marine medic.20. FIU: Coach Turtle Thomas coached at Miami under Ron Fraser for 12 years and was a part of two national championship teams, the Hurricanes and LSU.Dallas Regional21. Dallas Baptist: Closer Brandon Koch is one of the best in the nation, going 10-3 with 23 saves over the past two years — he doesn’t have enough innings to qualify, but his 16.2 Ks per nine innings would be among the best in the nation.22. Oregon State: Junior Andrew Moore is a three-year starter who went 14-2 as a freshman and is now 30-9 in his career.23. Texas: Coach Augie Garrido needs one win for No. 800 at Texas, and he’s the only coach in Division I history to win more than 600 games at two different schools.     24. VCU: VCU leads the nation in hit by pitch (104). Former VCU players who have played in the Major Leagues include Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim general anager Jerry DiPoto.Gainesville Regional25. Florida: A.J. Puk’s father, David, played football at Minnesota under legendary head coach Lou Holtz. He also has three uncles who played major college football, one at Minnesota, one at Iowa and the other at Stanford.26. FAU: Brandon Sanger was named the C-USA player of the year and does it all for the Owls, leading the team in slugging (.583) and OBP (.491) — his 51 walks rank seventh in the nation, and he’s 13th in OBP27. USF: First-year coach Mark Kingston played at North Carolina and reached the College World Series with the Tar Heels in 1989; he also was part of the coaching staff of Miami’s 2001 national champion team.28. Florida A&M: Rattlers coach Jamey Shouppe spent 21 seasons as the pitching coach at Florida State and was the 2014 MEAC coach of the year. He was drafted in the eighth round by Houston and played minor league ball for the Astros from 1982-85. This is FAMU's first appearance.Tallahassee Regional29. Florida State: DJ Stewart leads FSU in nine categories, including batting average (.318) runs (57), hits (62), RBIs (52) and total bases (114).30. Charleston: Ace Taylor Clarke, who transferred in from Towson University when the school nearly shut down its program in 2013, is a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist. He also has been named CAA pitcher of the year and has tied the conference record for victories in a single season with 13.31. Auburn: Infielder Kyler Deese’s mother, Tina, was the head softball coach at Auburn from 1997-2013. Outfielder J.J. Shaffer’s father, Jeff, is the current head diving coach for the Tigers.32. Mercer: Kyle Lewis had a breakout year and was named the SoCon player of the year — his 17 homers and .691 slugging percentage rank sixth in the nation.Baton Rouge Regional33. LSU: Pitcher Parker Bugg’s father, who played baseball at Louisville, is a U.S. Secret Service special agent. Pitcher Grayson Byrd’s father, Paul, was an LSU graduate and pitched for 14 years in the majors for seven clubs.34. UNC Wilmington: UNC Wilmington is in the tourney for the seventh time under Mark Scalf, who has guided the Seahawks to 36.5 wins a year since 2002. 35. Tulane: Coach David Pierce has reached NCAA play in all four of his seasons as a head coach — three at Sam Houston State and now in his first year at Tulane. Including his 11 years as an assistant, Pierce has been in the NCAA tourney in all 15 years has been a coach.36. Lehigh: Lehigh became the Mountain Hawks in 1995; previously, teams were known as the Engineers in honor of the university’s early ties to the railroad industry.Houston Regional37. Houston: Houston has plenty of arms, led by ace Andrew Lantrip, a sophomore righty who has gone 14-3 in two years. Freshman Seth Romero is a hard-throwing lefty who has pitched out of the bullpen and as a starter and has been brilliant in both roles.38. Rice: The Owls went two-and-out in the conference tourney — the last time that happened was 2008, and Rice went on to the College World Series. Coach Wayne Graham has won 71 percent of his games at Rice.39. Louisiana-Lafayette: Freshman lefty Gunner Leger is tied with 23 other pitchers for tops in the nation with 16 starts.  40. Houston Baptist: Houston Baptist is making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament after sweeping through the Southland Conference tournament behind the strength of complete games from four starting pitchers. Pitching coach Xavier Hernandez pitched in 463 major-league games.Fort Worth Regional41. TCU: TCU has averaged more than 42 wins a year in 12 years under Jim Schlossnagle, who guided UNLV for two years before coming to Fort Worth.42. N.C. State: Pitcher Brian Brown has not allowed more than one earned run in a game since March 2143. Stony Brook: Stony Brook, one of the biggest Cinderellas in recent memory, reached the 2012 College World Series. The Seawolves shocked LSU in the Super Regional round in joining Kent State in an improbable Omaha field.44. Sacred Heart: Coach Nick Giaquinto still owns the UConn single-game rushing record with 277 yards against Holy Cross in 1976. He played four years in the NFL and was a member of the Super Bowl XVII champion Washington Redskins.College Station Regional45. Texas A&M: Mitchell Nau, who earned first-team All-SEC honors, lost around 20 pounds before the start of the season in order to become a better hitter. He would run three miles or more per day to help with the weight loss.46. Coastal Carolina: Senior Connor Owings, has been able to overcome a kidney disease, is hitting .406 in his last 10 games and has reached base safely in 52 of 57 games played this year. Owings’ brother, Chris, plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks.47. California: Cal is making its first NCAA appearance since reaching Omaha in 2011. The Golden Bears tied a program record with 18 conference wins.48. Texas Southern: The last time the Tigers were in the tourney (2008), they shocked the baseball world by defeating host, defending national champion and No. 6 national seed Rice 4-3.Champaign Regional49. Illinois: Illinois was one of the stories of the year, rattling off a Big Ten-record 27-game winning streak that ended in the Big Ten Tournament.50. Notre Dame: Conor and Cavan Biggio, the sons of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, play for the Irish. Torii Hunter Jr., son of star Torii Hunter, plays football and joined the baseball team this spring. Ryan Lidge’s cousin is former Irish and major league pitcher Brad Lidge.51. Wright State: Greg Lovelady was the catcher for on two national championship teams for Miami.52. Ohio: Righty Connor Sitz led a tremendous pitching effort (three earned runs in four MAC tourney games) by tossing a no-hitter against Bowling Green.Nashville Regional53. Vanderbilt: Carson Fulmer, named SEC pitcher of the year and first-team All-SEC, won the Triple Crown of pitching leading the SEC in wins (11), ERA (1.51) and strikeouts (132) during the regular season.54. Radford: Coach Joe Raccuia inherited a program that had won 32 games combined in the three seasons before he arrived, and he’s averaged 30 wins a year his eight seasons at his alma mater. This is the school's first tournament appearance55. Indiana: This is the first time in school history IU has been to three straight tourneys. The Hoosiers have won 11 of 14 and claim 15 wins against Top 50 RPI teams.56. Lipscomb: The Bisons appear in the NCAA tourney for the second time, with the only other appearance in 2008 — that time, they upset No. 1 seed Georgia before dropping games to Georgia Tech and Georgia.Louisville Regional57. Louisville: In their first year in the ACC, the Cardinals set a league record and a school record for conference wins in a season with 25 and earned the top seed in the ACC Tournament.58. Bradley: It’s the seventh all-time appearance by the Braves, who haven’t won a tourney game since beating Wyoming in the 1956 College World

Series.59. Michigan: In 2007, Michigan shocked Vanderbilt to reach the Corvallis Super Regional, where it lost to Oregon State. Coach Erik Bakich was an assistant on the Vanderbilt team and was the head coach at Maryland before coming to Michigan.60. Morehead State: The Eagles lead the nation in average, runs and slugging, thanks in part to a very hitter-friendly park. Catcher Chris Robinson ranks fifth in the nation in hitting, second in runs, fourth in RBI and has 98 hits on the year (second in the nation).Fullerton Regional61. Cal State Fullerton: Thomas Eshelman will go down as one of the most efficient pitchers in college baseball. For his career, the junior has struck out 293 and walked 17. He was named the Big West Pitcher of the Year.62. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are led by music lover and former Indiana skipper Tracy Smith, who guided the Hoosiers to the 2013 College World Series.          63. Clemson: Catcher Chris Okey’s father, Chuck, played football at Presbyterian College and his mother, Kim, was a cheerleader at Clemson. His grandfather was president of IPTAY, the school’s athletics fundraising arm, at Clemson.64. Pepperdine: Coach Steve Rodriguez played on Pepperdine’s 1992 national championship team and reached the big leagues with Boston and Detroit in 1995.       SN contributor Sean Ryan is the co-founder and editor of , which has covered Division I college baseball since 2002. A former college baseball player, sportswriter and business journalist, he works for public relations firm The Hodges Partnership (named after Gil Hodges, who should be in the Hall of Fame) and has been a high school head baseball coach for 14 years. Follow him on Twitter at @collbaseball.

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