Oxford Regional 2014 preview: Washington

Make no mistake about it, the Huskies are a serious contender to beat out Ole Miss in this regional.

There's been a lot of talk about how Ole Miss got shammed with this regional -- missing out on a national seed then drawing one of the tougher groups of the first round. The primary reason people are so upset is because of Washington, easily one of the best 2-seeds of the tournament.

The Huskies finished second in the Pac-12 only behind Oregon State, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, and boast one of the most dangerous aces in the country. Let's take a look at this team and figure out how worried Rebel fans should be.

Washington - 2-seed

Conference: Pac-12
2014 record: 39-15-1 (21-9 conf.)
Road record: 15-5
Opening matchup: #3 Georgia Tech
Right fielder's name: Brian Wolfe

Why they'll win the regional

Two words: Tyler Davis. As in ace pitcher, Golden Spikes Award semifinalist Tyler Davis. He racked up double digit wins this season, holds a sub-2.00 ERA and is not somebody the Rebels would like to see in a potential Day 2 matchup.

There's more to this team than Davis though. After all, they still have 29 wins after you take away the 10 he's credited with. Outside of a slide at the tail end, the Huskies have been impressive all season, hovering around the top 15 in the rankings for a good bit of that time (they were No. 19 in the latest Coaches' Poll).

The first two days of a regional are crucial. If Davis can out-duel Ellis or Trent and knock Ole Miss into the losers' bracket, the Rebs would have an uphill climb to come back up and beat them twice on Sunday and Monday.

Why they won't win the regional

The Georgia Tech site is reporting that Davis will go against them in Game 1, which would spare the Rebs from seeing him until a potential close out game on Monday. That hasn't been confirmed by Washington, and Davis has been their Saturday pitcher all year. But if Ole Miss can avoid him, the rest of Washington's rotation is underwhelming. You'd love your chances with Ellis or Trent against Jared Fisher, who's just 6-4 with a 4.17 ERA.

There are a few scary guys dotting the lineup, but overall their hitting is relatively tame. They've been cold at the plate recently, having been blanked in three of their last five games. As a matter of fact, they closed the season with consecutive series losses.

If the bats stay quiet and the Rebels can avoid Davis, they should be able come out of Oxford ahead of the Huskies.

Kimbrel_mediumWashington ace Tyler Davis - Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures

Team stats comparisons

Offense
Washington (Pac-12 rank) Ole Miss (SEC rank)
Batting avg .280 (2nd) .303 (1st)
Slugging % .383 (2nd) .417 (2nd)
OBP .366 (3rd) .370 (2nd)
Runs/game 5.62 (3rd) 6.09 (3rd)
HRs 25 (3rd) 36 (4th)
sb-att 39-55 (7th) 87-114 (3rd)
Pitching
Washington (Pac-12 rank) Ole Miss (SEC rank)
ERA 3.23 (3rd) 2.76 (5th)
W-L 38-15 41-18
Opp avg .252 (6th) .247 (8th)
SO 313 (11th) 431 (5th)
BB 163 (4th) 158 (3rd)
HRs allowed 15 (6th) 19 (5th)

Projected lineup

Player Avg AB H HR RBI Slg% OBP sb-att
Braden Bishop - CF .296 203 60 0 25 .355 .381 19-21
Andrew Ely - 2B .306 193 59 2 31 .409 .398 2-3
Robert Pehl - LF .259 205 53 5 32 .400 .338 2-3
Brian Wolfe - RF .361 166 60 5 35 .512 .417 2-4
Trevor Mitsui - DH .335 182 61 5 32 .467 .419 1-2
Alex Schmidt - 3B .234 171 40 5 26 .363 .318 0-1
Austin Rei - C .329 140 46 2 27 .471 .421 1-1
Branden Berry - 1B .243 148 36 1 17 .318 .327 2-2
Erik Forgione - SS .231 160 37 0 21 .294 .332 4-8

Starting pitching


Player ERA Record IP BB SO Opp avg
1 Jared Fisher 4.17 6-4 90.2 43 58 .267
2 Tyler Davis 1.75 10-2 97.2 15 54 .241
3 Jeff Brigham 2.93 5-4 83.0 20 41 .247
4 Henry Baker 7.31 1-0 16.0 13 6 .283
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