CENTRAL FLORIDA (20-6)
No. 9 UCF has been the hottest team in the conference with wins over a bevy of Top 25 teams. The Knights are widely expected to be in the hunt to host a regional if they can maintain momentum in conference play.
A program that has reached the NCAA tournament just once since 1995 is off to a hot start, but it’s been mostly against mediocre competition. The Tigers are the only team in the league ranked in the top-3 in both ERA and batting average.
Ranked No. 19, the Cougars have reeled off 10 consecutive wins to complete the non-conference portion of the schedule, regaining the form that won the Baton Rouge regional a year ago and a Top 10 preseason ranking.
SOUTH FLORIDA (17-8-1)
First-year coach and former Tulane assistant Mark Kingston is trying to bring the Bulls back to the postseason for the first time since 2002 and is off to a good start, but the American schedule will be a significant step up in competition for the Bulls.
One of the baseball powers from the former Big East conference, UConn is still a threat to reach the postseason, thanks to the arm of 6-foot-6 pitcher Carson Cross, who has recorded a 1.74 ERA and is holding opponents to a .099 batting average.
EAST CAROLINA (16-10)
ECU fired nine-year coach Billy Godwin this offseason and replaced him former Ole Miss hitting coach Cliff Godwin, who has helped raise the Pirates batting average to .301 this season, good enough for second in the league.
Coach Ty Neal has struggled to turn Cincinnati’s struggling program around this season, currently languishing in last place in both ERA and batting average in the American. The Bearcats haven’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1974 and that drought doesn’t look like it will end this year.