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CWS Finals: Vanderbilt wins!

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


Here’s how the finals played out.

  • Game 1 6/24/19: Michigan stud starter Tommy Murray held Vanderbilt to 3 runs on 6 innings while the Michigan offense continued to chug along, beating Vandy’s ace Drake Fellows 7-4 to take game 1.
  • Game 2 6/25/19: Vanderbilt’s super freshman Kumar Rocker saved their day again, giving up 1 run on 3 hits with 11 punchouts in 6 1/3 innings against the best offensive team in the post season to force game 3.
  • Game 3 6/26/19: Vanderbilt got to Michigan’s ace Karl Kaufmann and held on for the 8-2 win and the come-back title.

Your 2019 College World Series Champion: Vanderbilt

Commentary: The final played out like I thought it would, with Michigan stealing a win behind their lefty stud, but then Vandy coming back to win.  Its still a pretty amazing accomplishment for Michigan to have gotten this far, but in the end the better, stronger team won.


This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2018.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college).  I don’t really cover the summer collegiate wood bat leagues: for that I’d suggest NovaBaseball.com, which is really coming into its own in terms of local coverage for all players with local ties.

 

College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 27th, 2019 at 10:01 am

2019 CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


Lets review the CWS group play.  The CWS plays just one or two games a day; a far cry from the first weekend, where 64 teams played hundreds of games over the course of a long weekend.  So this post has been written in one or two sentence increments for a week and a half…

Predictions for the Group stages: Vanderbilt and Texas Tech.


In the Top Bracket (Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State)

  • In the opening games, we got two upsets right out of the box.  Michigan beat TTU 5-3 behind a solid outing from 2nd rounder Karl Kaufmann, while Florida State topped Arkansas in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel.  Nats picks Drew Mendoza went 0-4 for FSU, while Arkansas closer Matt Cronin pitched a scoreless 9th inning.
  • In the first elimination game, Texas Tech beat Arkanasas 5-4 to eliminate the #5 seed.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, 2nd round pick Tommy Henry pitched the game of his life, throwing a 100-pitch 3-hit shutout to blank FSU 2-0 and put Michigan in the driver’s seat.  FSU’s Mendoza went 0-4 with two punchouts against the tough lefty, and badly threw away an easy grounder in the field.    This sets up Michigan and their 2-Ace staff nicely; they don’t play again until Friday, giving their #1 starter Kaufmann 5 full days of rest for that regional final.  And if they have to go to the next game … Murray would have four full days of rest.  Michigan is going to be hard to beat.
  • In the play-in game, Texas Tech eliminated Florida State and sent their legendary manager Mike Martin into retirement without having ever won the CWS, despite dozens of appearances.  The final collegiate game for Mendoza did include a hit (on a questionable scoring call), and his 1B bailed him out of another easy throwing error early.  But FSU is done and Mendoza should be cleared to start negotiating.
  • In the group final, Michigan scored early and often to blitz Texas Tech and advance loss-less to the final.  just an amazing story.

Final Group standings: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, Florida State, #5 Arkansas


In the Bottom Bracket (Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt)

  • In the opening games, Vanderbilt held serve and topped Louisville 3-1, while Mississippi State scored 4 in the 9th to beat Auburn 5-4.
  • In the first elimination game, Louisville took out Auburn across two rain-delayed days to eliminate Auburn.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Vanderbilt got another stellar start from freshman sensation Kumar Rocker, this time throwing “only” 95 pitches and giving up 1 run in 6 complete, to down #6 Mississippi State and take control of the group.
  • In the play-in game, another walk-off win as Louisville spoils a gem of a start from Mississippi State’s J.T. Ginn by scoring 2 in the 7th and 2 in the 9th to win 4-3 and eliminate Mississippi State.
  • In the group final, Karm police took hold of Louisville starter Luke Smith, who pitched 8 stellar innings … and profanely let the Vandy dugout know it, only to lose in the 9th as Vanderbilt walked off for the win.

Final Group standings: #2 Vanderbilt, #7 Louisville,  #6 Mississippi State, Auburn


CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for Mon-Wed 6/24/19 to 6/26/19.

Pitching Match-ups:

  • Game 1: Monday 6/24/19: Vanderbilt’s #1 Drake Fellows (7 days rest) vs Michigan’s #2 Tommy Henry (6 days rest)
  • Game 2: Tuesday 6/25/19: Vanderbilty #2 Kumar Rocker (5 days rest) vs Michigan’s #3 Jeff Criswell (3 days rest from a relief appearance)
  • Game 3: Wednesday 6/26/19: Vanderbilt’s #3 Mason Hickman (4 days rest) vs Michigan’s #1 Karl Kaufmann (4 days rest)

Thoughts: Michigan is the cinderella … but Cinderella had to burn a second CWS start from their ace Kaufmann to get there.  Meanwhile, Vanderbilt advanced to the title without interrupting its rotation whatsoever and has its staff lined up exactly as they want.  Michigan gets the ball to their stud lefty Henry, who shut down FSU and should be pretty effective against Vanderbilt’s lefty-heavy middle of the order.  I’m predicting that Michigan sneaks a win from Henry, but then (as in the super regional) Vanderbilt will explode against the rest of the Michigan staff and runs away with it in three.

Prediction: Vanderbilt in 3


College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2019 at 10:17 am

2019 CWS Super Regional Recaps, CWS Omaha field and performance of Nats draft picks

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


CWS Super Regionals were played this past weekend.

Super Regional Recaps:  I’ve got these ordered by they way they’ll be playing into the CWS field (i.e. by bracket, with former National seeds 1,8,5,4 in the top and 6,3,7,2 in the bottom).  And this is the order they’re listed on d1baseball’s Tourney Central, the quickest way to find results.

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan: In the opener, Michigan shocked UCLA to win game 1 3-2.  Nats 8th rounder Jeremy Ydens went 0-3 playing RF and batting 7th.   UCLA scored one late to take game 2 and force the decider (Ydens batted 8th and went 2-3 with a walk).    Michigan proved game 1 was no upset by going and sweeping UCLA to advance to its first CWS since 1984.   A huge upset, not only having the tournament lose the #1 seed (a team that had basically been #1 the entire season), but an upset by a regional 3rd seed.  Nats pick Ydens did his part in the 2nd, going 3-4, batting 6th and playing RF in likely his final collegiate game.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State; TTU held serve in the opener, winning 8-6.  OSU returned the favor, winning game two 6-5 to force the Sunday decider.  In the final, an amazing back-and-forth game featuring these two very powerful lineups ended up with the host Texas Tech coming out on top to advance.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: Arkansas held serve in the opener winning easily 11-2.  Nats draftee Matt Cronin did not see action, as Arkansas’ starter Isaiah Campbell nearly pitched a CG.  In game 2, Ole Miss reversed the score, trouncing Arkansas 13-5 to force the Monday decider (again, no Cronin appearance).  In the decider, Ole Miss scored in the first…then didn’t score again as Arkansas ran up the score to win 14-1.  Cronin pitched the 9th in the win.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU; Florida State got to Lynchburg’s Zach Hess in the 8th to seal a come-from-behind victory in game 1.  Nats draftee Todd Peterson went 4 1/3rd middle relief innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits.  Nats 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza batted 3rd for FSU and went 0-2 with 3 walks.  In a scintillating Game 2, FSU held off an LSU come-back and Mendoza got a walk-off RBI-single in the 12th to complete the sweep and send Florida State back to the CWS.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC; Auburn surprised UNC 11-7 in game one, and then UNC blanked Auburn 2-0 in game two to force the Monday decider.  In that decider, Auburn scored 13 runs (!!) in the first inning to end it before it started, eventually winning 13-7 to advance to its first CWS trip since 1997.
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford; In Game 1, Mississippi State got to Stanford’s starter early and held on for the upset win in game 1.  Game two wasn’t close, and Mississippi State punched a ticket to Omaha.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: In Game 1, Louisville got to Jake Agnos in the 4th for 4 runs … so ECU pulled him and the bullpen melted, with Louisville winning 14-1.  It wasn’t any prettier in game 2, with Louisville blanking ECU 12-0 to become the first team to punch their ticket.   A pretty amazing performance, winning two games over a top-10 team like ECU by the combined score of 26-1.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke: In the opener, Duke got a flabbergasting win, destroying Vanderbilt 18-5.  In game 2, Kumar Rocker, who was one of the top prep arms in the 2018 draft before falling out of the 1st round and heading to Vanderbilt, threw a 131-pitch, 19 strikeout no-hitter to win game 2 and force the decider.  In the final, Vanderbilt ran away with the win 13-2 and advanced to Omaha, where they’re likely the favorite.

My CWS Predictions vs Actuals:

Predicted: #1 UCLA, #8 Texas Tech, #12 Ole Miss, #13 LSU, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

Actuals: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

I got the entire bottom bracket right, including the Auburn upset of host UNC.  Didn’t get much else right.

 


CWS Field and Profiles

Top Bracket: (records through Super-Regionals)

  • Michigan: 46-20, 16-7 Big 10.  2nd place Big-10 reg season, semis of Big-10 tourney, #3 regional seed.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 44-18, 16-8 Big-12.  Regular season champs, semis of Big-12 tourney
  • #5 Arkansas 46-18, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney.
  • Florida State: 41-21, 17-13 ACC.  3rd Place, ACC Atlantic Division regular season, eliminated in pool play in tourney.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 38-26, 14-16 SEC.  6th in SEC West division regular season, eliminated in 2nd round of SEC tourney.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 51-13, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney
  • #7 Louisville: 49-16, 21-9 ACC.  ACC Atlantic division regular season champ, eliminated in pool play in tourney.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: SEC East division regular season champ.  SEC tournament champ.

CWS field review by the numbers

  • SEC: 4
  • Pac12: 0
  • ACC: 2
  • Big12: 1
  • Big10: 1
  • National top 8 Seeds: 5
  • Regional Hosts (i.e. top 16 seeds): 6
  • First time programs: none

CWS Field thoughts

Lots of big time baseball programs here: Vanderbilt, Louisville, Florida State.  Half the field is SEC teams, fitting b/c 10 of them made the field of 64.

The field looks bottom heavy, with three National seeds advancing and three SEC teams competing with a tough ACC team.  in Regular season play, Mississippi State beat Auburn 2 of 3 and Auburn got swept by Vanderbilt (in addition to getting pounded 11-1 in the SEC tourney), so i’d guess Auburn is finishing last in this bracket.   Mississippi State and Vandy only played once; a 1-0 win by Vandy en route to their SEC tournament title.   The wildcard seems to be Louisville, who powered up to advance to the CWS but struggled when it had to play quality opponents (losing 2 of 3 versus UConn, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and UVA).  I think the bottom bracket goes Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Louisville, Auburn.

Meanwhile, the top features a couple of rather stunning upsets, with two regional #3 seeds advancing to the CWS.  Both the remaining seeded teams were stretched to three games in the Super Regional … though to me Texas Tech (despite being the lower seeded team) looked like the superior team.  Interestingly, Arkansas and Texas Tech also made last year’s CWS … and also faced each other in the group stage.  They also get the weakest team in Omaha first (Michigan).  I think the top bracket goes Texas Tech, Arkansas, Florida State and Michigan.

Quick predictions:

Final: Vanderbilt over Texas Tech.

Player Star power in this CWS: By team, here’s the top-end draft talents still playing.

  • Michigan: three picks in the first 3 rounds: two of their starters in Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann, plus CF Jordan Brewer in the 3rd.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 1st rounder and 8th overall Josh Jung, who was a monster in the Super Regional is the main draft talent.  TTU had 6 other players drafted in rounds 7 onward.
  • #5 Arkansas has two Comp-B round picks in OF Dominic Fletcher and senior starter Isaiah Campbell, in addition to the Nats 4th rounder Cronin.
  • Florida State: Nats 3rd rounder Mendoza, plus 4th rounder OF/closer J.C. Flowers along with an 8th and 9th rounder.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 5th rounder SS Will Holland, 7th rounder RHP Davis Daniel, and 3 lower round picks.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 1st rounder (28th overall) Ethan Small, 4th rounder Jake Mangum.
  • #7 Louisville: 5 guys in the top 7 rounds, including 2nd rounder 1B Logan Wyatt.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: no less than 13 drafted players, led by 4th overall pick J.J. Bleday.

 

Nats 2019 Draftees still playing in the CWS:

  • 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza will have his signing delayed a few more weeks; he’s the key slugger for FSU and will keep slugging in Omaha.
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin got just 1 inning in the Super Regional.

College CWS tournament references:

2019 CWS Regional Results, Super Regional Pairings, Nats picks still playing

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Our CWS coverage for 2019 got a little compressed due to time this year.   We didn’t announce the full field (link to d1baseball’s 64-field announcement), and we’re combining a couple different posts this year upon the completion of Regionals.

Now we’re through the Regionals and the field has been winnowed from 64 to just 16.

 


Regional Recaps

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the larger bracket.  Bold is the host/seed and Bolded Red is the winner.

1. UCLA region finish: UCLA, the top seed in the tourney, survived a scare by sweeping Loyola Marymount out of the losers’ bracket to advance.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4
16. Oregon State region finish: Michigan outlasted Creighton in this upset-filled regional.  Host Oregon State, your defending National champ, was 2-and-out, robbing a national stage for its presumed #1 overall pick Adley Rutschman.  Seed finish: 3-2-4-1

2. Vanderbilt region finish: Vanderbilt cruised to the title in this chalk regional.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4
15. West Virginia region finish: #3 seed Duke got to WVU’s top pick Alex Manoah in the winner’s bracket game and WVU couldn’t recover.  Seed finish: 3-2-1-4

3. Georgia Tech region finish: Auburn takes two close ones to beat the host and 3rd overall seed.  Seed finish: 2-1-3-4
14. UNC region finish: UNC topped all three teams en route to the title in a “familiar” regional of teams who play frequently.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4.

4. Georgia region finish: Florida State advances as a #3 regional seed, battering the field by winnings its 3 games 13-7, 12-3, 10-1.  Seed finish: 3-1-2-4.
13. LSU region finish: LSU held serve and advances.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4

5. Arkansas region finish: Arkansas cruises undefeated to the win.  Last-team-in TCU makes the regional final to prove critics wrong.   Seed finish: 1-3-4-2
12. Ole Miss region finish: Ole Miss fends off the feisty 4th seeded Jacksonville State to advance.   Overseeded Illinois goes 2-and-out.  Seed finish: 1-4-3-2.

6. Mississippi State region finish: Mississippi State takes out Miami, who came out of the loser’s bracket to challenge.  Seed finish chalk 1-2-3-4.
11. Stanford region finish: Stanford  came out of the losers bracket to outlast upstart Fresno State in a monday finish.  Seed finish: 1-3-4-2

7. Louisville region finish: Louisville  came through the loser’s bracket to advance.  This regional marred by a ridiculous “ump show” where the Louisville closer got ejected for saying “that’s horrible” after a close call.  4-game suspension.  For saying two words, basically to himself.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4.
10. ECU region finish: ECU survived an embarrassing opening loss to minnow Quinnipiac to advance past the surprising Campbell, who helped give ACC power NC State an equally embarrassing 2 and out.  Seed finish: 1-3-4-2

8. Texas Tech region finish: Texas Tech won a straightforward regional, where Dallas Baptist beat Florida twice.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4.
9. Oklahoma State region finish: Oklahoma State was extended an extra game by UConn but advanced.  Seed fish: chalk 1-2-3-4 but not straight-forward way to get there.


Predictions versus Actuals: no prediction piece this year for the Regionals.


DC/MD/VA team performance at Regionals

Here’s how teams of note either from the DC/MD/VA or with known players who hail from the region performed at Regionals.

  • Coastal Carolina (which has several VA-tied players) finished 3rd in a tough regional.
  • Liberty got a win, then got crushed by eventual regional champ UNC.
  • Tennessee lost the 1st round behind VA based Garrett Stallings on the mound, but rallied to make the regional final.  they also feature 1B 3rd-4th rounder Andre Lipicus, who hails from Williamsburg and got drafted in the 3rd round.
  • UNC Wilmington (which has several VA-tied players) was 2-and-out in the UNC regional.
  • ECU was a top-10 team all year and the #10th seed here.  NoVa product Jake Agnos (4th round pick) pitched a great winner’s bracket game and gets another start in the Super Regional.
  • West Virginia: has a few MD/VA based freshman this  year.
  • Clemson has some VA-based depth that didn’t appear in the regional.

 


Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • 12 of 16  hosts advanced.  A very chalk-y CWS so far.  Falling Seeds/Hosts: #3 Georgia Tech, #4 Georgia, #16 Oregon State, #15 West Virginia, 
  • 2 of the 8 national seeds fell: Georgia and Georgia Tech.
  • 2 of the 9-16 seeds fell: WVU and OSU.
  • 12 number one seeds, 1 number two seeds, 3 number three seeds, and 0 number four seeds advance to the super regionals.  
  • 5 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional; Cincinnati, Central Connecticut, Jacksonville State, Sacramento State. Quinnipiac.
  • 2: number of #4 seeds to get opening wins.  Cincinnati beat Oregon State, Quinnipaic beat ECU.
  • Most surprising regional winner: Michigan.
  • # of “extended” regionals: 5.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • SEC: Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
  • ACC: FSU, UNC, Louisville, Duke
  • Big12: Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
  • Pac12: UCLA, Stanford
  • Big 10: Michigan
  • Others: ECU (AAC)

Very top heavy; SEC gets 6 of the 16 super regionalists and has a good shot of sending 5 teams to Omaha.


Super Regional Matchups:  the higher ranked team is the host unless otherwise noted (official hosts and start times here)

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke:

Super Regional Thoughts/Predictions

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan: Michigan advanced by beating a top 25  team in Creighton … but should be no match for UCLA.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State: a Big12 showdown; they met in late april, a 3-game sweep at Texas Tech, where this will be hosted.  I see a similar beat down this weekend.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: SEC showdown: despite the seeding and despite home field advantage, Ole Miss took 2 of 3 in Arkansas at the end of March.  The two teams then split games at the SEC tourney, with Ole Miss eliminating the Razorbacks.  I like Ole Miss’ chances here.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU; a great match-up of traditional college baseball powers.  LSU should advance, especially as the host seed even given Florida State’s pedigree.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC: I like Auburn here, who just beat a better ACC team than UNC to advance, despite UNC getting surprise super regional hosting duties.
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford: While I like the Pac12 baseball this year, and at one point Stanford was much higher ranked, I don’t think they can hang with SEC royalty like Mississippi State.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: I don’t think ECU can hang with Louisville, especially after struggling with a relatively weak regional.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke:  a brain-y match-up of two great academic schools that have good baseball pedigree.  But Vanderbilt should trounce Duke here as one of the best teams in the country.

Predictions: #1 UCLA, #8 Texas Tech, #12 Ole Miss, #13 LSU, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville and #2 Vanderbilt


Super Regional Star Power

Lots of top-end draft picks will be playing this weekend, just ahead of the MLB draft which starts on 6/12/17.  (note: I wrote most of the below before the draft and have not updated it with exact picks)  By Super Regional:

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan; 1st rounder Michael Toglia and 2nd rounder Chase Strumpf pace UCLA’s offense.   Two Michigan starters (Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann) were comp-b picks.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State: Mid-1st rounder Josh Jung is TTU’s 3B, and likely 3rd rounder Gabe  Holt is on OF/2B.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: Arkansas’ #1 starter is Isaiah Campbell, likely a 2nd rounder.  Matt Cronin is a LHP likely 3rd rounder, OF Dominic Fletcher likely a 4th rounder.   Ole Miss’ catcher duo of Thomas Diller and Cooper Johnson both project as 3rd rounders.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU:  FSU’s Drew Mendoza was the Nats 3rd round pick..  LSU has three guys projecting in the late 2nd/3rd round: SS Josh Smith, RHP Zach Hess (who hails from Lynchburg VA), and OF Zach Watson.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC: UNC’s 1st baseman Michael Busch is a likely back-of-the-1st rounder.  UNC stater Tyler Baum projects as a 3rd rounder. Auburn SS Will Holland projects as a late 2nd rounder.  Auburn RHP David Daniel likely a 5th-6th rounder.
  • #6 Mississippi State vs #11 Stanford: Mississippi State’s rotation is led by Ethan Small, a LHP likely going in the 2nd round.  Stanford’s CF Kyle Stower was a 2nd round Baltimore pick.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: Louisville’s top bat is 1b Logan Wyatt went early in the 2nd   ECU has several players projected to go in rounds 3-5, including local product Zach Agnos.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke: Vanderbilt’s J.J. Bleday is projecting as a top-5 pick and is probably the highest-ranked collegiate player whose team advanced to the super regionals.  Vandy has a couple other guys projecting as 5th/6th rounders: Drake Fellows RHP and C Philip Clarke.  Duke’s LHP Graeme Stinson projects as a 3rd rounder.

Nats 2019 Draft Picks in the Super Regionals

  • 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza from FSU
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin is in Arkansas’ bullpenn.
  • 7th Rounder Todd Peterson is in LSU’s bullpen as a setup/closer.
  • 8th Rounder Jeremy Ydens is starting in #1 UCLA’s outfield after missing most of the season with injury.

 


CWS Predictions:

Early CWS final prediction:  I like #1 vs #2: UCLA vs Vanderbilt right now, with Vandy coming out on top.


College CWS tournament references:

CWS Finals: Oregon State Wins!

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OSU wins. Photo via d1baseball.com

OSU wins. Photo via d1baseball.com

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2018:


Here’s how the finals played out.

For Reference: Arkansas Stats and Oregon State Stats.

  • Game 1 6/26/18: Arkansas got to Oregon State #1 Luke Heimlich in the 5th, got him for 4 runs and made them stick.
  • Game 2 6/27/18: Oregon State scored 3 in the ninth to steal the title away and force the decider.
  • Game 3 6/28/18: OSU got a stellar game (a 2-hit shutout) from freshman starter Kevin Abel and ran away with the game 5-0.

Your 2018 College World Series Champion: Oregon State

Commentary: Rains moved the entire slate forward one day, which drastically helped Oregon State’s fatigued rotation/bullpen.  Arkansas had Oregon State down to their last strike in game 2 and let a foul pop drop between three defenders before giving away the game.  This seemed to deflate Arkansas and energize OSU, who turned the decider into a no-contest.


This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2018.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college).  I don’t really cover the summer collegiate wood bat leagues: for that I’d suggest NovaBaseball.com, which is really coming into its own in terms of local coverage for all players with local ties.

 

 

 

College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 29th, 2018 at 10:34 am

Posted in College/CWS

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2018 CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2018:


Lets review the CWS group play.  The CWS plays just one or two games a day; a far cry from the first weekend, where 64 teams played hundreds of games over the course of a long weekend.  So this post has been written in one or two sentence increments for a week and a half…

My pre-CWS predictions were #1 Florida from the top and #3 Oregon State from the bottom, but noting that Arkansas and Mississippi State in particular were going to be tough outs.


In the Top Bracket (#1 Florida, #9 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, #13 Texas)

  • In the opening games Arkansas put up 8 in the 6th to easily down Texas 11-5.  Madison HS’ Andy McGuire was called upon for mop-up duty by Texas.  In the nightcap, Texas Tech got to Florida ace Brady Singer and downed the #1 seed 6-3.
  • In the first elimination game, #1 Florida whacked Texas 6-1 behind 1st round pick Jackson Kowar to eliminate Texas.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, #5 Arkansas scored early and often and was in control throughout over Texas Tech.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, Florida got some revenge and eliminated Texas Tech to force their way into the group final.
  • In the group final, Arkansas got a dominant start from #3 starter Isaiah Campbell, who shut down Florida and got Arkansas to their first CWS final since 1979.

Final Group standings: Arkansas, Florida, Texas Tech, Texas


In the Bottom Bracket (#3 Oregon State, #6 UNC, Mississippi State, Washington)

  • In the opening games, UNC got to OSU’s stud Luke Heimlich for 6 runs early, then the game turned into a slow slog eventually won by UNC.  In the night cap, Mississippi State got a walk-off RBI single to squeak by Washington 1-0.
  • In the first elimination game, Oregon State blasted Pac-12 rival Washington 14-5 to make them the first team eliminated.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Mississippi State destroyed UNC 12-2 to continue its amazing late-season run and put themselves in the driver’s seat of this bracket.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, Oregon State scored 8 runs in the last two innings to get revenge and eliminate UNC 11-6.
  • In the group final, Oregon State destroyed Mississippi State 12-2 to force the decider.  There, Oregon State took advantage of some iffy coaching to score 5 two-out runs early and made it stick to advance.

Final Group standings: Oregon State, Mississippi State, UNC, Washington


CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for June 25th-27th.

Pitching Match-ups:

  • Game 1: Monday 6/25/18: Arkansas’s #1 Blaine Knight on 8 days rest vs Oregon State’s #1 Luke Heimlich on 4 days rest
  • Game 2: Tuesday 6/26/18: Arkansas #2 Kacey Murphy on 5 days rest vs Oregon State’s #2 Bryce Fehmel on 4 days rest
  • Game 3: Wednesday 6/27/18: Arkansas #3 Isaiah Campbell on 4 days rest vs Oregon State’s #3 freshman Kevin Abel on 3 days rest (if necessary)

Advantage Arkansas here; their rotation is rested and has been successful in the CWS.  Oregon State cannot say the same:  Heimlich has gotten knocked out early in both his CWS starts and Fehmel didn’t get out of the 4th in his most recent start.  Abel was fantastic against Mississippi State in the decider …. but even if they get to him he’ll be on just 3 days rest and may not even be available.

Prediction: Arkansas in 3.


College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2018 at 6:57 pm

2018 CWS Super-Regionals recap, CWS field and predictions

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(Just realized I forgot to post this earlier this week!  CWS started yesterday; this is a recap of the super regionals with predictions and key names to watch in the CWS).

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2018:


CWS Super Regionals were played this past weekend.

Super Regional Recaps:  I’ve got these ordered by they way they’ll be playing into the CWS field (i.e. by bracket, with former Natioanl seeds 1,8,5,4 in the top and 6,3,7,2 in the bottom).  And this is the order they’re listed on d1baseball’s Tourney Central, the quickest way to find results.

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn: Brady Singer overcame a leg injury in the first to throw a quality start while his offense spoiled Casey Mize‘s likely final collegiate start to get Game 1.  In game 2, Auburn could do nothing with Jackson Kowar, but got two runs late including a walk-off in the 9th to force a decided against Florida’s closer.   The two teams played a classic 3rd game, with Florida eventually advancing on a walk-off homer in the 11th to advance to Omaha for the fourth year in a row.
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech:  Texas Tech got the first game 6-4.   Duke pounded them 11-2 to force the decider.  There, Texas Tech won 6-2 to advance.
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina: Arkansas showed why they’re a tough out, with their offense lighting up in a game one win 9-3.  Nats 10th rounder Carson Shaddy was a huge factor here, hitting a bases-clearing double in the 7th to break open the game.  In game 2, South Carolina got a solid start from Reservoir HS grad Cody Morris to force the deciding 3rd game (Note: Shaddy again had a solid game for Arkansas, and our 15th rounder Evan Lee got into the game as a match-up lefty for one batter).  In the decider, Arkansas jumped on South Carolina early and cruised 14-4 to earn a trip to Omaha.  Shaddy had another huge game with 3 RBIs.
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas: Tennessee Tech upset Texas 5-4 in the opener.  Texas won game two 4-2 to force a deciding third game.  There, Texas took the series against pesky Tennessee Tech to advance.
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota: OSU continued their dominant post-season by beating Minnesota 8-1 in the first game behind nearly a CG from OSU ace and lightening rod Luke Heimlich.  They had to work a bit harder in game 2, but Oregon State still advanced to their 2nd straight CWS 6-3.
  • #6 UNC vs #11 Stetson: UNC got to Stetson 1st rounder Logan Gilbert, putting 4 runs on him in 5 innings and holding on for the game 1 victory.  UNC made quick work of Stetson in Game 2 to advance to the CWS.
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt: In a game dominated by poor pitching and errors, Mississippi State’s junior undrafted outfielder Elijah Macnamee hit a walk-off 2-run homer to take game one.  Vanderbilt scored 3 runs late, including a walk-off homer in the 9th, to take game 2; our two Vandy picks Reid Schaller and Chandler Day got the hold and the win by pitching the 8th and 9th in this gameMississippi State took game 3, getting a couple runs off of Day’s long-relief effort but exploding for four runs in the 11th to advance.
  • Cal State Fullerton vs Washington: UWash got to CSF starter Colton Eastman in the 7th, and put enough runs on the board to make the lead stick in game 1.  Fullerton got revenge in game two 5-2 and forced the decider.  There though, Washington won in extra innings to advance to their first ever CWS.

My CWS Predictions: Florida, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Texas on one side, Oregon State, Stetson, Vanderbilt, Cal-State Fullerton on the other.

Actuals: Florida, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Texas on the top, Oregon State, UNC, Mississippi State, Washington on the bottom.

I got the whole upper bracket right, whiffed on most of the lower bracket.

 


CWS Field and Profiles

Top Bracket:

  • #1 Florida: 47-19 overall, 20-10 in the SEC.  1st place SEC-East regular season.
  • #9 Texas Tech: 44-18 overall, 15-9 in Big-12.  3rd place Big-12 regular season.
  • #5 Arkansas; 43-19 overall, 18-12 in the SEC.  2nd place SEC-West regular season.
  • #13 Texas: 42-21 overall, 17-7 in Big-12.  1st place Big-12 regular season.

Bottom Bracket

  • #3 Oregon State: 49-10-1, 20-9-1 in the Pac-12.   2nd place, Pac-12 regular season.
  • #6 UNC: 43-18 overall, 22-8 in the ACC.  1st Place ACC-Coastal division regular season.
  • Mississippi State; 37-27 overall, 15-15 in the SEC.  5th Place, SEC-West division regular season.
  • Washington: 35-24 overall, 20-10 in the Pac-12

CWS field review by the numbers

  • SEC: 3 teams
  • Pac12: 2 team
  • ACC: 1 teams
  • Big12: 2 teams
  • National top 8 Seeds: 3
  • Regional Hosts (i.e. top 16 seeds): 6
  • First time programs: 1 (Washington)

CWS Field thoughts

An interesting field.   The entire bottom half of the tourney was decided before any of the upper half, as six of the eight super-regionals went the full 3 games.  At first glance, its easy to predict the two best teams here (Florida and Oregon State).  But its hard to not see what Mississippi State has done lately.  They finished 15-15 in SEC play … but that included them sweeping both Arkansas and Florida late just to get their league record up to .500.  They’re incredibly hot, just flipped the script on Vanderbilt, and is not a team i’d want to mess with right now.  The upper bracket has more seeds, but the lower bracket might be a tougher road for the favorite Oregon State.

Florida beat Arkansas 2 of 3 in their season series, but it was in Florida.  On a neutral field its hard to say who might win.  In the bottom , Oregon State will open with conference rival Washington, who they took 2 of 3 against (again at home).   Its hard to see a Texas-Texas Tech rematch but if they do meet, Texas took 2/3 on Texas Tech’s field and should be slightly favored on a neutral field.

Quick predictions:

Final: Oregon State over Florida.

Player Star power in this CWS: By team, here’s the top-end draft talents

  • Florida features top picks Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Jonathan India
  • Texas Tech’s top pick was a Supplemental 2nd rounder Grant Little.
  • Arkansas had three upper round picks: 3rd rounder Blaine Knight, 4th rounder Eric Cole and 5th round C Grant Koch.
  • Texas’ highest draft pick is the son of Roger ClemensKody Clemens, drafted in the 3rd round.  Also features role player Andy McGuire, from Madison HS in Vienna, drafted in the 28th round.
  • Oregon State features Nick Madrigal (#4 overall), plus 1st-day picks Trevor Larnach and Cayden Grenier, as well as the controversial 1st round talent Luke Heimlich.
  • UNC had just one top 10 round pick, RHP 6th rounder Rodney Hutchinson.
  • Mississippi State’s ace Konner Plikington slipped to the 3rd round.
  • Washington had and 8th rounder A.J. Graffiano and a 9th rounder Willie MacIver.

Nats 2018 Draftees in the CWS: thanks to the Nats strategy of drafting only College players, they drafted a ton of guys who are playing in Omaha.  By team:

  • #5 Arkansas features 10th rounder Carson Shaddy, the Arkansas starting 2B as well as our 15th rounder Evan Lee, a role-player on the team this year.  Shaddy had a massive super-Regional at the plate and will look to continue in the CWS.

College CWS tournament references:

2018 Nats Draft Picks in the CWS Super Regionals

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For your weekend viewing, here’s a quick glance at the CWS Super Regional match-ups with the Nats draft picks still playing

Super Regional Nats Draftee list

Lots of top-end draft picks will be playing this weekend, just ahead of the MLB draft which starts on 6/12/17.  By Super Regional:

  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina: 10th rounder Carson Shaddy, the Arkansas starting 2B as well as our 15th rounder Evan Lee, a role-player on the team this year.
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt: 3rd rounder Reid Schaller and 7th rounder Chandler Day, both working out of Vanderbilt’s rotation.

I’m favoring both Arkansas and Vanderbilt to win these series and continue to Omaha, not good news for these four guys in terms of getting them into a short-season squad.  Going to Omaha probably means we don’t see these guys until July.  At best case (a 2-and-out in Omaha) a player isn’t done playing until June 18th or so, while making the CWS finals extends their season until potentially June 27th.   You’d have to think these guys aren’t even thinking about meeting with the team to negotiate/sign deals until they’re done playing, then need a mental break/vacation before starting.  Heck, we didn’t even see some of our CWS-playing draft picks *play* for us last year (Cole Freeman, our 4th rounder, signed on July 7th after his college team LSU made the CWS finals … then debuted in Hagerstown in April of this  year).

Nonetheless; if you want to eyeball our new players, these are the games to watch.

Written by Todd Boss

June 8th, 2018 at 10:00 am

2018 CWS tournament: Regional Results, Super-Regional Pairings

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CWS coverage for 2018:

Now we’re through the Regionals and the field has been winnowed from 64 to just 16.

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the larger bracket.  Bold is the host and Bolded Red is the winner.  We’ll also highlight significant players and/or guys who are big names in the upcoming draft as we get to them.

It was a crazy set of regionals; by Sunday night only 6 of the 16 brackets were decided; a slew of regionals were forced to monday games (two weather delays involved).  And we saw one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.  Read on.


Regional Recaps

1. Florida region finish: Florida, FAU, Jacksonville, Columbia.  FAU gave #1 overall seed a scare, but ultimately lost in the final.  They did put a beat-down on Florida #2 Jackson Kowar, which may have cost him 25 slots in the draft.
16. NC State region finish: Auburn, NC State, Army, Northeastern.  #3 seed Northeastern does not do a good job defending critics of their getting an at-large bid.  NC State inexplicably loses to Army to open the regional and cannot overcome Auburn to lose on its home turf.

2. Stanford region finish: Cal-State Fullerton, Stanford, Baylor, Wright State.  The #2 overall national seed goes out to perennial power Fullerton, losing two close games.  Fullerton advances as a #3 regional seed, probably under-seeded when all is said and done, but Baylor really under-performed here.
15. Coastal Carolina region finish: Washington, UConn, Coastal Carolina, LIU-Brooklyn.   Host CCU out early; they lost to Washington in the winner’s bracket and then Leesburg’s Zack Hopeck gave them 5 solid innings in the elimination game but the bullpen fell apart against UConn.  Pac-12 Washington advances as the #3 regional seed.

3. Oregon State region finish: Oregon State, LSU, Northwestern State, San Diego State; surprise 2-and-out showing from the Mountain West champ.  Oregon State absolutely destroyed this regional, outscoring their opponents 35-4 in three games.  Look out for this team.
14. Minnesota region finish: Minnesota, UCLA, Gonzaga, Canisius.  Minnesota cruised through this regional.

4. Ole Miss region finish: Tennessee Tech, Ole Miss,  Missouri State, St. Louis; huge upset here, with tiny Tennessee Tech ousting the #4 national seed Ole Miss, coming back through the loser’s bracket and beating them in a double header to end the weekend.
13. Texas region finish: Texas, Indiana, TAMU, Texas Southern.  In the end, a chalk finish though Indiana worked their way through the loser’s bracket to get to the regional final before losing a close one.

5. Arkansas region finish: Arkansas, Dallas Baptist, Southern Miss, Oral Roberts; host Arkansas wasn’t pushed til the final, overcoming regional powerhouse Dallas Baptist to advance.
12. ECU region finish: South Carolina, UNC-W, ECU, Ohio State.  Another poor showing from the Big10 as #3 Ohio State falls to CAA team UNC-W in the elimination game.  UNC-W is no slouch team, but its still an upset.  They made the region final as a #4 seed before falling to the SEC power.

6. UNC region finish: UNC, Houston, Purdue, NC A&T: UNC won a slug-fest over regional powerhouse Houston 19-11 to advance.
11. Stetson region finish: Stetson, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Hartford; Stetson dominated this regional and looks like a tough out.

7. Florida State region finish: Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Samford, Florida State.  The #7 national seed goes 2-and-out in its own regional.  There was some talk about Fla State not being as deserving of a national seed as some of its other ACC brothers … but nobody expected this.
10. Clemson region finish: Vanderbilt, Clemson, St. Johns, Morehead State.  Tough regional puts two quality teams together, and the SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt advances.

8. Georgia region finish: Duke, Georgia, Troy, Campbell.  Duke came out of the loser’s bracket after a shock opening game loss to win the regional and send the national #8 seed home.
9. Texas Tech region finish: Texas Tech, Louisville Kent State, New Mexico State; this regional  goes exactly chalk, with Texas Tech never really troubled (it won its three games by 7,6,5).


Predictions versus Actuals

My Predictions: Florida, Auburn, Stanford, Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, Minnesota, Ole Miss, TAMU, Arkansas, South Carolina, UNC, Stetson,  Florida State, Clemson, Georgia, Texas Tech

Actuals; Florida, Auburn, Cal-State Fullerton, Washington,  Oregon State, Minnesota, Tennessee Tech, Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, UNC, Stetson, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Duke, Texas Tech

I got just 9 of 16 right.


Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • Just 8 of 16 hosts advanced.
  • Four of the 8 national seeds fell: #2 Stanford, #4 Ole Miss, #7 Florida State, #8 Georgia
  • #10, #12, #15 and #16 also fell: #10 Clemson, #12 ECU, #15 Coastal Carolina and #16 NC State.
  • 8 number one seeds, 6 number two seeds, 2 number three seeds, and 0 number four seeds advance to the super regionals.  
  • 1 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional; Northwestern State, Dallas Baptist (a strong #4),  Florida Atlantic, UNC-Wilmington, Kent State, Army, Wright State
  • 2: number of #4 seeds to get opening wins.  Army beat #1 seed NC State in the opener, Wright State (who beat Florida State in the opener)
  • Most surprising regional winner: Tennessee Tech, even though they were a #2 regional seed.
  • First time Super Regionalists: Tennessee Tech and Stetson.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • SEC: Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
  • ACC: Duke, UNC
  • Big12: Texas Tech, Texas
  • Pac12: Oregon State, Washington
  • Big 10: Minnesota
  • Big West: Cal State Fullerton
  • Others: Tennessee Tech, Stetson

6 of the 16 remaining teams from the SEC; no other conference has more than two.  Interestingly though, all 6 SEC teams are matched up in the super regionals, guaranteeing 3 of the 8 CWS spots to be from the powerhouse conference.


Super Regional Matchups:  the higher ranked team is the host in each case.  I’ve organized this as they feed into CWS brackets, not 1-16 seeds.  In cases where neither ranked team advanced, the NCAA decides based on suitability of each site.  On 6/5/18 they announced the host sites and I’ve denoted them below.  Basically they decided to give the two more storied schools hosting duties.

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota
  • #6 UNC  vs #11 Stetson
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt (host)
  • Cal State Fullerton (host) vs Washington

 


Super Regional Thoughts/Predictions

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn: Florida took 2 of 3 at home against Auburn in the regular season, beating Casey Mize in the process.  
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech: Duke advanced while other, better ACC teams did not; I don’t know if they can top the powerful Texas Tech team.
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina: Arkansas beat South Carolina in the SEC tourney opener; only time they played this year.
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas; Texas surprised me by coming out of a regional with an SEC team; you’d think they could overcome the tiny Tennessee Tech team.
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota.  Oregon State is my odds-on favorite to make the CWS final and Minnesota isn’t stopping them.
  • #6 UNC vs #11 Stetson: UNC is going to have to work for this one, as they likely get beat by Stetson’s ace Logan Gilbert on Friday.
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt: Vandy swept Mississippi State on their turf late in the season, and probably sweep them this coming weekend.
  • Cal State Fullerton vs Washington; Fullerton just easily beat a better Pac-12 team in Stanford; do we think the 3rd place Pac-12 team is going to fare better?

 

Super Regional Star Power

Lots of top-end draft picks will be playing this weekend, just ahead of the MLB draft which starts on 6/12/17.  By Super Regional:

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn: #1 overall pick Casey Mize, top picks Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Jonathan India (#5 overall) from Florida.  Great pitching match-ups in here.  
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech: Griffin Conine
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota; Nick Madrigal (#4 overall), plus 1st-day picks Trevor Larnach and Cayden Grenier on a stacked OSU team.
  • #6 UNC vs #11 Stetson: Stetson’s ace Logan Gilbert was #14 overall pick.
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt
  • Cal State Fullerton vs Washington

CWS Predictions: Florida, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Texas, Oregon State, Stetson, Vanderbilt, CS-Fullerton

This would probably favor a Florida-Oregon State final from the initial look of it, though Oregon State’s draw is much, much deeper than Florida’s potential path.


College CWS tournament references:

CWS 2018: Field of 64 announced with Regional predictions

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First College Baseball post of the season!   And it comes with the announcement of the field of 64 for the 2018 tournament.

Here’s a nice summary of the field from d1baseball.com, including a conference breakdown.

Quick summary of the field: No Miami, no UVA, no TCU in big surprises for big programs.  The field is also missing perennial powers like Rice and Wichita State this year.  Kentucky seems to be the biggest snub … but they were sub .500 in their league and was one-and-done in the SEC tournament.  One win there and they’re probably in.  Northeastern probably the most controversial at-large bid, having their one-bid conference slot “stolen” by UNC-W but not really having earned it on their season.  There’s some sniffling at the national seeding of (in particular) the ACC teams, but otherwise most of the pundits I read think this is a pretty solid field.

Here’s your National seeds:

1. Florida
2. Stanford
3. Oregon State
4. Ole Miss
5. Arkansas
6. UNC
7. Florida State
8. Georgia

That’s a solid SEC showing; four of the top 8 national seeds and 10 teams overall in the tourney.

Next seeds

9. Texas Tech
10. Clemson
11. Stetson
12. ECU
13. Texas
14. Minnesota
15. Coastal Carolina
16. NC State.


 

Quick predictions (here i’ve put in the teams by Super Regional match-up):

1. Florida; cakewalk regional; their #2 is Jacksonville?  See you in a couple weeks.
16. NC State: Get the seed over Auburn; if they save their Ace NC State could be in the Loser’s bracket really quickly.  I think Auburn advances here.

2. Stanford: got no favors by getting the always-tough Cal State Fullerton team in their regional, but their #2 seed Baylor is manageable.
15. Coastal Carolina: gets UConn as their #2 seed and their tough arm Tim Cate.  Coastal has played tough down the stretch though and should advance.

3. Oregon State; tough regional with LSU and San Diego State; Oregon State will have to earn this.  Part of me hopes they go out early so the Heimlich stories die soon.
14. Minnesota; gets two west coast teams in UCLA and Gonzaga; i do not give Big10 baseball teams much credit … but they might be able to handle UCLA this year.

4. Ole Miss; gets a tough Missouri State team (with top draft prospect Jeremey Eierman), but i’m not sure they’re that scared of their #2 Tennessee Tech.
13. Texas: i’d be more scared of TAMU as a 3-seed than Indiana as a #2 seed this year.  TAMU somehow is a #3 seed despite being a top 16 team by RPI and possibly being in the host discussion.  Meanwhile Texas is not as strong as its #13 seed in this tournament looks … I smell an upset here.

5. Arkansas: gets two traditional smaller-school baseball powers in Southern Miss and Dallas Baptist; does anyone ever know how these teams will fare?
12. ECU: gets a tough #2 in South Carolina; can they survive the SEC power?  I’m not sure they can and think South Carolina advances.

6. UNC: gets a manageable region thanks to a Big10 team as their #2 seed.
11. Stetson: two great arms in this region in Gilbert and McClanahan with USF … but Oklahoma State looms too.

7. Florida State: A solid regional here with SEC and Big12 powers.  Florida State is always a tough out though.
10. Clemson gets Vanderbilt again … which means one good team goes home early, again.

8. Georgia: they should be able to get past Duke in this weaker regional.
9. Texas Tech has to face off against Louisville, who for the first time in a few years doesn’t have a top-10 draft pick leading their line.


 

Local rooting interests in the tournament: amazingly, zero DC/MD/VA colleges made this tournament.  No UVA, no Maryland, no Liberty, no VCU or ODU or any of the CAA teams that sometimes sneak in.  Here’s a quick peek at the DC/MD/VA players I could think of who will be playing:

  • #12 Seed ECU has the former dominant LHP Jake Agnos (Battlefield HS in Haymarket) on their staff; he had 80 Ks in 60 innings split between starting and relief roles and stepped it up in the post-season tourney.
  • LSU moved Zach Hess (Lynchburg/Liberty Christian Academy) into the rotation this year and he was the saturday starter all spring; he went 7-5 with a 4.43 ERA and saw his draft stock drop significantly (he’s a draft-eligible sophomore this year).  I wonder if he stays in school another year to rebuild value as a starter.
  • #15 Coastal Carolina has several Virginia-natives in starting roles, including weekend starter Zack Hopeck (Heritage HS in Leesburg) and starting OF Kieton Rivers (Nansemond River HS in Suffolk).
  • #16 NC State has three VA-natives on their pitching staff, including staff-ERA leading Kent Klyman (Jamestown HS in Williamsburg).
  • South Carolina’s friday starter is Cody Morris, who dominated Maryland prep for Reservoir HS in Laurel.  They also feature a starting catcher Hunter Taylor from Nandua HS in Onley VA.

Significant Draft picks from the top seeds worth noting: here’s some of the guys we’re hearing rumors about being 1st rounders in June:

  • Florida; no wonder they’re #1: they may have three guys taken in the top 10 picks.  Weekend starters Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and clean-up hitter Jonathan India the players to watch, plus Michael Byrne who was All American pre-season as their closer.
  • Stanford: paced by two top-end starters getting 1st round buzz in Kris Bubic and Tristan Beck.
  • Oregon State: Nick Madrigal may be a top 5 guy and be lightening fast to the majors.  Ace is the highly controversial Luke Heimlich (if you don’t know who he is … he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated a few weeks back; google it).  OF Trevor Larnach is getting some 1st round buzz too.
  • Ole Miss; Ace starter Ryan Rolison was the top prospect in the Cape Cod league last  year.
  • Florida State: Tyler Holton was All-American last year and pre-season All American again this year.
  • Auburn: likely 1-1 Casey Mize is their friday starter.
  • Stetson: ace Logan Gilbert has seen his stock fall but is still likely a mid-1st rounder.
  • South Florida’s ace Shane McClanahan could go high.
  • Duke’s Griffin Conine has a famous pedigree and could be a 1st-day pick.
  • Texas Tech’s starter Steve Gingery has a long line of awards behind his name.
  • Clemson’s Seth Beer has been mashing ever since he arrived at school, winning the Dick Howser award as a freshman.  He could be a sleeper pick late in the 1st round.