NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (39-22) will leave Wednesday afternoon for Baton Rouge, La. to play in its second straight NCAA Regional Championship this weekend. The Bruins, who will depart the University campus around 1:15 p.m., take on Oregon State at 2:00 p.m. CT Friday in the first round of the regional that also features host LSU and UL-Monroe.
Belmont, in attempting to surpass last season's Regional Runner-Up finish, will look to a number of returning players with experience in last year's championships. There are 12 Bruins in all that played during last season's tournament at Vanderbilt, including junior Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.), who allowed just one run in eight innings to earn Belmont's first NCAA Tournament win over Oklahoma State.
Junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.), who has been on a tear as of late, earning Most Valuable Player accolades for his performance in Belmont's second straight Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and improving his batting average to .339 on the year, also saw success in 2011's version of the NCAA Regional Championships. Akers is the top returning hitter from that weekend after batting .444 against Vandy, Oklahoma State and Troy.
The Bruins will be up against three unfamiliar opponents in Oregon State, LSU, and UL-Monroe. Belmont has never faced any of the three teams in program history. Both the Beavers and the Tigers are perennial national powers, both having won the College World Series within the last six years. The Warhawks will also be a challenge if the Bruins end up facing the Sun Belt Tournament Champions. ULM is 6-4 against teams Belmont played this season.
After playing Oregon State on Friday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, universally regarded as one of the best in college baseball, the Bruins will take on either LSU or ULM Saturday. The winner of the four-team double elimination tournament will move on to play in the Super Regional against the winner of the Coral Gables Region, which features Miami, UCF, Missouri State, and Stony Brook. That event would be a three-game series taking place between June 8 and June 11.
All of Belmont's games in the NCAA Regional will be featured on the Bruin Sports Network with play-by-play from Voice of the Bruins Rich Tiner. The live audio stream can be accessed on your computer or mobile device. We are still awaiting word on video and television for the Baton Rouge Regional, but return to BelmontBruins.com and follow @BelmontBaseball on Twitter for future updates.
Fans will also be able to keep up with all the action through Live Stats at NCAA.com, or by following the Belmont Baseball Twitter feed. The Bruins will be practicing from 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Rose Park before leaving for Louisiana on Wednesday. The team will then practice on Thursday at Alex Box Stadium at 1:00 p.m. CT to prepare for the weekend. All fans looking to purchase tickets should go through the LSU Box Office.