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NCAA Baseball Regional Preview: San Diego State faces UC Santa Barbara

The Aztecs travel to Lake Elsinore for their opening round contest against UC Santa Barbara on Friday.

SDSU Athletics

The San Diego State Aztecs, who won the 2015 Mountain West Tournament title on Sunday, were assigned to the Lake Elsinore region where in their first game of the region, they will face the host school UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Friday.

The Aztecs  enter the Lake Elsinore region on an offensive tear. In the six games the Aztecs played in the Mountain West Tournament, the Aztecs had a batting average of .342 with a slugging percentage of .622 and the key player for the Aztecs is junior Seby Zavala. During the Mountain West tournament, Zavala had a batting average of .435 with five home runs and 11 RBIs and during the week, Zavala had a slugging percentage of 1.174 and a on base percentage of .536. For his work in the tournament last week,Zavala won a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week.

Along with Zavala, the Aztecs have other players who add to their offensive firepower. Steven Pallares is batting .341 with eight home runs while Ty France is batting .346 with four home runs.  On the pitching front, the Aztecs ace Bubba Derby (7-4 3.35 ERA) will start on Friday and the Aztecs will need the bullpen to help him and Mark Seyler out because the Aztecs has the worst team ERA (4.07) of the four teams playing in the Lake Elsinore region.

The Gauchos come into the regional with 40 wins for the first time since 2001 and are hosting a regional for the first time in school history. The Gauchos are led by their pitching as they have a team ERA of 2.39 which is third best in the nation. Their ace is All-American Dillion Tate (8-4 2.08 ERA) who has 100 strikeouts for the season and has allowed five hits per nine innings which is tenth in the nation. Along with Tate, Justin Jacome (7-4  2.53 ERA) and Shane Bieber  (8-4  2.26 ERA) round out a very talented Gauchos bullpen.

While the Gauchos are not the offensive juggernaut like San Diego State, they do have a batting order, led by Cameron Newell, that contains contact hitters who can move the baserunners in scoring position.

This will be a game that features the best pitching staff in the nation versus a team whose offense has  been on a hot streak for a week. We will see if the Aztecs bats stay hot on Friday at 7pm PST.