Bryce Ortega

Bryce Ortega and the Wildcats are hoping for a happier ending this year.
Photo by Deirdre Hamill/The Arizona Republic

The college baseball tournament is here!

Six Pac-10 teams play today, competing against 58 other squads trying to survive the weekend and make it to the round of 16. Who got a good draw? Who is hating their bracket?

What time do the Arizona Wildcats play and what are their chances?

Get ready for June Looniness!

This time of year it’s win or go (into the loser’s bracket and then win or go) home and TWIT-Pac will be following the conference’s selected six as they start down the road to the College World Series in Omaha.

All times Arizona/Pacific.

ARIZONA (36-19)
Seed/Regional: #2 – College Station, TX
Friday Opponent: #3 Seton Hall (33-23)
Game Time: 10:35 a.m.
Webcast: Free on AggieAthletics.com
Other Game: #4 Wright State (36-17) at #1 Texas A&M (42-18)

It’s brunch with the Cats! If the thrill of the college baseball tournament doesn’t wake you up, Seton Hall’s uniforms will.

Arizona State (39-16)
Seed/Regional: #1 – Tempe, AZ
Friday Opponent: #4 New Mexico (20-39)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Webcast: FoxSportsArizona.com
Other Game: #2 Arkansas (38-20) vs. #3 Charlotte (42-14)

The Sun Devils drew the team with the worst record in the field but they couldn’t have been happy to see an Arkansas team that many thought would host its own regional.

UCLA (33-22)
Seed/Regional: #1 – Los Angeles, CA
Friday Opponent: #4 San Francisco (31-23)
Game Time: 6 p.m.
Webcast: UCLABruins.com
Other Game: #2 Fresno State (40-14) vs. #3 UC Irvine (39-16)

I finally figured out the method to UCLA coach John Savage’s madness. All year he’s been setting his rotation for the regional! Now he’ll start his second-best pitcher against the 4-seed and have ace Trevor Bauer ready for the Fresno/Irvine winner. Genius!

Oregon State (38-17)
Seed/Regional: #1 – Corvallis, OR
Friday Opponent: #4 Arkansas-Little Rock (24-32)
Game Time: 6 p.m.
Webcast: ESPN3.com
Other Game: #2 Creighton (44-14) vs. #3 Georgia (31-30)

OSU is riding a five-game losing streak and they’re hosting a red hot mid-major and an SEC team that played a brutal schedule. I’m not feeling too good about the Beaver Believers.

Stanford (32-20)
Seed/Regional: #2 – Fullerton, CA
Friday Opponent: #3 Kansas State (36-23)
Game Time: 4 p.m.
TV/Webcast: ESPNU, ESPN3.com
Other Game: #4 Illinois (28-25) at #1 Cal State Fullerton (40-15)

We knew a Pac-10 team would end up in this regional and the Cardinal got the call. The short trip is nice but trying to beat a Titan team that knows its way to Omaha is not.

California (31-20)
Seed/Regional: #3 – Houston, TX
Friday Opponent: #2 Baylor (29-26)
Game Time: 12 p.m.
Webcast: RiceOwls.com
Other Game: #4 Alcorn State (27-28) at #1 Rice (41-19)

Considering Cal is a 3-seed the Bears got a decent draw. Their 2-seed opponent doesn’t even have 30 wins after going oh-fer in the Big 12 tournament. Look for Cal in the winner’s bracket, if they don’t melt in the Houston heat.

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For last year’s freshman-heavy Arizona team the big accomplishment was just making the tournament. The 2012 Wildcats will be loaded with juniors and expected to make a deep run.

But what about right now?

Winning the regional would please everybody. Exiting after three games like last year wouldn’t make anyone happy. Somewhere in between is what’s expected of a 2-seed.

Kurt Heyer is the key. He needs to go deep into Friday’s game, pick up the win and save the entire bullpen to back up Kyle Simon against Texas A&M on Saturday.

The Aggies are short a starting pitcher due to injury and it happens to be their best one. That didn’t stop them from winning four straight games to take the Big 12 tournament but their staff was aided by a day off in the middle. Things could get interesting if A&M is forced into a fourth or fifth game this weekend.

Then again, the UA’s Andy Lopez has been using just a five-man pitching staff for the latter part of the year. Before Tyler Hale threw 1.1 innings in the season finale the Wildcats had gone 12 games against Pac-10 teams with a total of two appearances from pitchers outside of K Cubed, Matt Chaffee and Bryce Bandilla.

Maybe the Seton Hall Pirates and their uniforms don’t look so bad after all.

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