The School: The University of San Diego Bullfighters. The school was a Roman Catholic women’s college (San Diego College for Women), originally chartered in 1949, which merged with San Diego University in 1972 when they realized there wasn’t as much of a market for a beachfront nunnery as was previously assumed. Currently, they have a 81% graduation rate, which means the percentage of nuns who surf is much higher than I thought. I knew they could fly, but this is impressive. Well done, brides of Christ.
Location: I’ll let San Diego’s own legendary Anchorman, Ron Burgundy, explain the origins of the old German city.
The Mascot: A creepy human Mickey Mouse constantly tying damsels to train tracks:
*Note: I’m being told it is actually “Diego Torero,” a fancy public mass murderer of bulls. Mea culpa.
Record: 36-18 (17-10 West Coast Conference).
How’d they get here? The Matadors swept through the WCC conference tournament, planting the final blade death stab in Gonzaga in the 11th inning of the Tourney Finals, winning 15-12. They probably needed that, as well, as their RPI of 46 might have put them on the wrong side of the bubble in the eyes of the selection committee.
Best win: It’s every win in the WCC tourney, especially the last two against 27 RPI #2 seed in Blacksburg Regional Gonzaga (see above). Aside from that, they took 3 of 4 in a season opening series against a very similar team, the Oregon Mighty Ducks (28 RPI #2 seed in Louisville Regional).
Worst loss: The German for a Whale’s Vagina Matadors don’t really have many bad losses. Probably their worst is losing a series 2 games to 1 to conference foe San Francisco (28-29, 14-13 WCC, 153 RPI). That’s not really all that bad, though. In other words, they’re a team without a marquee win, or a damning loss.
Player to Watch: #19 Jr. C Caleb “Vitamin D Deficiency” Ricketts (.375/.427/.676 with 13 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 53 RBI, and 0-4 steals—likely due to the imperfect calcification and softening of his leg bones as a child).
Anchor of Gold Tiger Beat Hottest Pitcher: #35 So. LHP Brycen “Utah Girl’s Name” Mautz (9-2 4.09 ERA). The sophomore southpaw with a name that is redolent of the 13th Utah daughter of a quiverfull cult family which gave everyone weirdly spelled made up names starting with “Bry” is the Whale’s Vagina Matadors undisputed Ace. You just know there’s a Bryndee, Bryckinrydge, and Brynda in that group of dead behind the eyes weirdos.
We’ll see him Friday, unless HC Brock Ungricht (which, I’ve been told is a real, human name, and not a German Californian boxer from the video game Punchout) pulls some weird gamesmanship. Don’t overthink it... we’ll face their Friday Ace.
Mautz is a draft-eligible sophomore likely to go in the first three rounds of the 2022 MLB Draft in July. He’s the #66 ranked player, and here is his mlb.com scouting report:
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Mautz spent the first two years of his career at the University of San Diego largely pitching out of the bullpen, though he did make five starts in 2021. He pitched well, again in a relief role, in the Northwoods League last summer, but has taken a huge step forward with a move into the rotation, serving as a very effective Saturday starter for the Toreros in 2022.
The 6-foot-4 left-hander has always had swing-and-miss stuff, but has stepped it up to an entirely different level this spring. His fastball sits in the low 90s more often than not and has topped out at 95 mph as a starter this year, though he’s been up to 96-97 mph in shorter stints in the past. Coming from a very deceptive three-quarters arm slot with excellent arm speed, the pitch features a ton of sink and hard, running life, getting a lot of ground-ball outs along with missing bats. He tunnels his low-80s slider off of his fastball very well, a big reason for his huge strikeout rate, as hitters don’t see it well and he gets them to chase the pitch frequently. He doesn’t throw his changeup much, but it’s shown enough action to fool hitters at times.
More than anything, it’s been Mautz’s ability to find the strike zone much more consistently that has led to his success. He’s cut his walk rate by more than half this spring, and while there is some concern about his unorthodox delivery, he’s been repeating it and the new strike-throwing ability provides more hope he can start at the next level.
The important thing to note is he can reach 95 mph, so he is not, I repeat not, a soft-tossing lefty.
Best NCAA Tournament result: This will be the 9th time the Whale’s Vagina Matadors have made postseason play since 2002 (they had never made it prior to 2002, which is not surprising, as surfing nuns are notoriously bad at baseball). They have never advanced to the super-regional stage, despite being the #8 National Seed in 2007, and then landing Kris Bryant the following year.
Should Vanderbilt be scared? Vanderbilt should not be frightened of this team. Rather, much like our horrendous ouster in the SEC tourney at the hands of Kentucky, we should only be scared if we look into the abyss and the abyss looks back into us. As long as we keep our eye on their decorative swords, and away from the fluttering red cape, we should be good.