The Columbia Regional will open on Friday with the 2nd-seeded Seahawks squaring off with the Duke Blue Devils. This is UNCW's eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Seahawks come into the Regional at 39-17 (16-6 CAA). The played a decent non-conference schedule, going 1-1 against both UNC and NC State and dropping two midweek games to Coastal Carolina. UNCW only lost two conference series and they were the regular season Colonial Athletic Association champions. The Seahawks played for the CAA tournament championship as well, but lost to William & Mary.
UNCW has a strong offense and their .322 batting average is in the top ten in the country. The Seahawks are also in the top five in the country in home runs with 82 on the season and, unsurprisingly, their .520 slugging percentage is the second best in the country. They also have a .401 OBP and have successfully stolen 76 bases in 98 attempts. The UNCW lineup is full of dangerous hitters. The Seahawks have seven regular starters hitting over .300, and they're led by Steven Linkous (.386/.471/.508). The player that really stands out is sophomore Nick Feight (.358/.419/.757), who was named the CAA Player of the Year. Feight leads the nation in RBI with 90 this season and leads his team in home runs with 21. The Seahawks also have two players with 13 home runs so far this year in Brian Mims (.367/.444/.600) and Gavin Stupienski (.350/.448/.587).
The numbers for UNCW's defense and pitching are considerably less eye-popping than their offensive numbers. The Seahawks don't have a particularly impressive defense and are fielding .964 for the season. The team's ERA is 4.36 and they have a 1.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio. UNCW's ace is senior Ryan Foster, who earned CAA Pitcher of the Year honors. Foster has a 2.41 ERA and is tied for the most wins in the country with 12. The Seahawks have a few other pitchers who have thrown well, but their pitching staff doesn't have a ton of depth.
The other teams in the Columbia Regional will have their hands full trying to limit the UNCW offense and if the pitching shows up as well the Seahawks are going to be a tough team to face this weekend.