Record: 34-21 (12-12 Big 12)
Coach: Steve Rodriguez (2nd year, 55-50; 14 years overall, 459-350)
NCAA tournament appearances: 19
Last appearance: 2012
Top players: 1B Aaron Dodson (.335, 10 HRs, 38 RBIs); C Shea Langeliers (.324, 10 HRs, 38 RBIs); RF Kameron Esthay (.283, 35 RBIs); SP Montana Parsons (5-3, 2.81 ERA); RP Troy Montemayor (1.08 ERA, 12 saves)
Breakdown: With 19 newcomers on the roster, many college baseball pundits didn’t see Baylor’s resurgence coming. Even Rodriguez admitted that the Bears exceeded expectations, helped along by a lineup that produced the program’s most home runs (49) since 2010. … This will mark the fifth time that Baylor has played in an NCAA regional in the city of Houston, though the previous four times the Bears traveled to Rice’s Reckling Park. The Bears have never won a regional in Houston. … Seven BU players hail from the Houston area, including Friday’s starting pitcher Montana Parsons, who played at The Woodlands College Park and at San Jacinto College.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Record: 36-21 (16-14 SEC)
Coach: Rob Childress (12th year: 494-259-2)
NCAA tournament appearances: 33
Last appearance: 2016
Top players: 2B Braden Shewmake (.343, 10 HRs, 65 RBIs); CF Nick Choruby (.307, 51 runs, 11 steals); 1B Hunter Coleman (.300, 25 runs); RP Kaylor Chafin (7-2, 2.51 ERA); SP Brigham Hill (7-3, 2.96 ERA, 95 Ks)
Breakdown: A&M is an NCAA tournament regular. This year’s trip extends the Aggies’ school-record run of regional appearances to 11 in a row. That said, the Aggies were sweating it out on Selection Monday, and were listed as one of the last four at-large teams in the field by the selection committee. “It did get dicey,” coach Rob Childress admitted. … It’s been something of a youth movement for Childress’s club this year. Second baseman Braden Shewmake won the SEC Freshman of the Year honor, while his teammates Hunter Coleman and Logan Foster joined him on the SEC all-frosh squad.
Record: 40-19 (15-9 American)
Coach: Todd Whitting (7th year: 248-169-1)
NCAA tournament appearances: 21
Last appearance: 2015
Top players: 3B Jake Scheiner (.347, 17 HRs, 57 RBIs); C Connor Wong (.297, 11 HRs, 25 SBs); CF Corey Julks (.323, 41 RBIs, 14 SBs); SP Trey Cumbie (10-1, 1.18 ERA, 80 Ks); RP Aaron Fletcher (2.19 ERA, 8 saves)
Breakdown: After an NCAA tournament absence last year, the Cougars left no doubt this season. Houston claimed both the American Athletic Conference regular-season title and the tournament crown. It will host a regional for the fourth time in program history. … You could call Houston Southpaw U, as it boasts some of the top left-handed hurlers in the country. The team’s top starter Trey Cumbie and closer Aaron Fletcher are both lefties, as is starter John King (7-1, 2.99 ERA). … The Cougars put pressure on teams on the basepaths as well, with 80 steals in 97 attempts.
Record: 38-20 (15-9 Big Ten)
Coach: Rick Heller (4th year: 139-87)
NCAA tournament appearances: 5
Last appearance: 2015
Top players: 1B Jake Adams (.339, 27 HRs, 70 RBIs); SS Mason McCoy (.328, 54 runs, 34 RBIs); RF Robert Neustrom (.313, 54 RBIs); SP Nick Gallagher (5-0, 2.37 ERA)
Breakdown: The Hawkeyes don’t own a long or storied NCAA history, but they’re starting to build something under Heller. The fourth-year coach has guided Iowa to three of the program’s five all-time NCAA regional appearances. “The goal is to get in the regionals every year, and then when the stars line up and everything goes your way you end up in Omaha,” Heller said. … Junior slugger Jake Adams ranks as one of the most fearsome hitters in the country. Adams shares the national lead in home runs (27, with Morehead State’s Niko Hulsizer), is seventh in RBIs (70) and fourth in slugging percentage (.747). … Iowa won its first Big Ten tournament title by pounding out 34 runs in five games.