Baseball Super Regionals Breakdowns

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Baseball Super Regionals Breakdowns

Gainesville Super Regional Breakdown - Florida vs. North Carolina State
The Florida Gators made quick work of their opposition going 3-0 and not being tested too much throughout the weekend. The Gators clinched another Super Regional berth under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. They beat Georgia Tech twice after a no-hitter on Friday night against Bethune Cookman. Mike Zunino hit his 18th homerun in the championship game against the Yellow Jackets as part of a 15-3 rout. The Gators, as the number one national seed, are a very balanced squad and when dialed in, as they were last weekend, are very difficult to beat.

NC State comes in off arguably the most entertaining of the Regionals as they rallied from a Saturday loss against Vanderbilt to come back through the loser’s bracket and beat Vanderbilt twice in dramatic fashion to advance to Gainesville. Freshman Carlos Rodon will be a fascinating matchup in game one and if he can dominate like he has most of the season, will set the tone for a potentially epic three game battle for the right to punch a ticket to Omaha and the College World Series.


Columbia Super Regional Breakdown - South Carolina vs. Oklahoma
The South Carolina Gamecocks continue their run of excellence in postseason play over the last three years. With a 3-0 record in the Columbia Regional the Gamecocks have won 19 straight postseason contests. Michael Roth anchors a solid pitching staff and offensively they find a way to get the key hit when they need it most. They were tested by Clemson as it took an extra inning rally on Saturday to win and they outlasted Clemson in the Columbia Regional Championship game 4-3.

Oklahoma comes in as winners of the Charlottesville Regional. This will be a rematch of some epic 2010 College World Series battles between these two squads. The Sooners rallied back from losing the opener in the Charlottesville Regional to Appalachian State to win four straight games, including knocking out Virginia to advance back to the Super Regional. Max White leads the way offensively for the Sooners, along with a very solid pitching staff with enough depth to get through a winner take all third game against South Carolina. It should be an interesting Super Regional between these two squads.


Eugene Super Regional Breakdown – Oregon vs. Kent State
Oregon hosts a best-of-three super-regional that is a perfect illustration of the phrase “that’s why you play the game.” PK Park plays host as the Ducks welcome Kent State, the surprise winners of the Gary Regional.  Kent State (44-17) began its regional with the memorable 7-6 win over Kentucky, a game that lasted 21 innings. The Golden Flashes then shocked Big Ten champion Purdue, 7-3. If the first win over Kentucky wasn’t shocking enough, Kent State pulled off another big shocker when it upended Kentucky 3-2 to capture the first regional championship in the school’s history. Kent State pulled off the trip to super-regionals after 11 previous tournament misses. Evan Campbell’s three-run homer in the eighth inning was the big blow in the regional clincher.

Oregon (45-17) hasn’t faced Kent State at all this season, but the Ducks had a similar successful role. Oregon almost had its upset game when it faced Austin Peay the first time, but the Ducks won 6-5. They then topped Cal State Fullerton 7-5 before blowing out Austin Peay 8-1 in the regional final and earning the super-regional bid. This was Oregon’s first super-regional trip since 1954, and it is owed in part to freshman pitcher Jake Reed, who struck out eight batters and earned the win. Two teams unfamiliar with each other, and each with no super-regional experience, should make for an interesting series.


Waco Super Regional Breakdown – Arkansas vs. Baylor
The Southeastern Conference takes on the Big 12 as two baseball powerhouses meet in what should be a strong best of three series. Arkansas (42-19) got past Southland Conference power Sam Houston State 5-4 in the first game and then stunned Rice, a top 10 favorite, with a 1-0 shutout. Another win over Sam Houston State, 5-1, sent Arkansas to the round of 16. This is the Razorbacks’ fifth trip to the Super Regional in the program’s history and the third time in the last four years. Led by Matt Reynolds (.343-7-42) and Tim Carver (.307-2-30) and pitcher Brandon Moore (5-2, 2.63), Arkansas has grown into an elite baseball power. The Razorbacks have not seen Baylor this season, but they will have plenty of study time before the series gets underway.  

Baylor (48-15), the champions of the Big 12, actually lost its tournament opener when the Bears were shocked by Summit League representative Oral Roberts, 4-2. Baylor then beat UT-Arlington 11-6 and came back for victories over Oral Roberts (5-2) and Dallas Baptist (9-2 and 8-2). In short, the Bears worked hard to get where they were in the tournament and all of that hard work might pay off with a trip to the College World Series.  The Bears are led by the crushing bat of Josh Ludy (.368-15-69) and the strong pitching of Josh Turley (9-1, 1.83, 75 strikeouts) and Trent Blank (10-1, 2.32, 56 strikeouts).


Tallahassee Super Regional Breakdown - Florida State vs. Stanford
The Seminoles bounced back very nicely from a tough ACC Tournament going 3-0 in the Tallahassee Regional thanks to excellent pitching all weekend long. Brandon Leibrandt had the best outing of the weekend shutting out Samford, an explosive offensive club, with 8 shutout innings. Overall, opponents scored just four runs in the three games and if they can have another pitching weekend like that against a tough Stanford, which will start Number 1 overall MLB draft pick Mark Appel in game one, the Seminoles will have a very strong chance to advance.

The Cardinal outlasted a tough Pepperdine squad in two one-run contests en route to a 3-0 weekend to secure the Stanford Regional Championship. The ability to get the big inning was huge for Stanford as a five-run fourth inning was the difference in being able to hold off the Waves comeback. Stanford is balanced offensively, led by Eric Smith hitting .330 and Brian Ragira who has driven in 50 runs on the season. The key to the series will be Appel and whether or not he can get game one for the Cardinal and put the pressure on Florida State. If that happens we could very well have a dramatic three game Super Regional on our hands.


Tucson Super Regional Breakdown - Arizona vs. St. John's
This is a Super Regional of two teams coming in flying high momentum wise. The Arizona Wildcats just absolutely pounded the ball offensively destroying a good Louisville team twice with 15 plus run performances to make quick work of the Tucson Regional. The Wildcats should be a heavy favorite to get back to the College World Series with the way they are hitting right now.  They were led by Johnnie Field’s 4 for 6 performance with 7 RBIs to seal the Regional Championship. James Farris went the distance on the mound scattering 12 hits against a strong Louisville Cardinal offense.

St. John’s comes into the Tucson Regional by going into Chapel Hill and upsetting North Carolina twice enroute to a 3-0 record in clinching the Chapel Hill Regional. The Red Storm had a flare for the dramatic with a walk-off homerun in the Saturday winners’ bracket game to put them in the driver’s seat to advance. The biggest challenge for St. John’s will be pitching to that explosive Wildcat lineup in Hi Corbett Field, a hitter’s paradise.  But this should also suit this Red Storm squad. They had a 14 hit attack in the Chapel Hill Regional Championship game on Sunday night led by a 5 for 5 performance by Frank Schwindel. If the Red Storm can pitch reasonably they can hang with Arizona. It definitely should be an offensive fireworks display in Tucson.


Baton Rouge Super Regional Breakdown – Stony Brook vs. LSU
In what could be characterized as a major surprise, it is the expected against the unexpected. Let’s start with LSU (46-16), one of the Southeastern Conference’s top teams. The Tigers marched right through their regional tournament, which was also held in Baton Rouge, with three straight victories over UL-Monroe (4-1) and Oregon State (7-1 and 6-5, the latter in 10 innings). LSU’s Raph Rhymes (.452-4-52) carries a potent bat, with 99 hits in just 219 trips to the plate, and Mason Katz (.323-11-49) has the power. Kevin Gausman (11-1, 2.72, 128 strikeouts) will make a mean major-league pitcher someday, but for now his lone goal is to get the Tigers to Omaha. LSU has not faced Stony Brook this season.

Speaking of Stony Brook (50-12)… if you are still scratching your head and wondering how the America East Conference champions won 50 games and got to the Super round for the first time, you’re not alone. No offense to Stony Brook, which has a solid program, but here is what Stony Brook had to do to make it to Baton Rouge… Beat Miami (10-2), lost to UCF (9-8), beat Missouri State (10-7) and then beat UCF twice (12-5 and 10-6) to reach the Super round. Travis Jankowski (.417-5-46), a recent draft selection of the San Diego Padres, leads a powerful offense, and William Carmona (.393-12-70) carries a lot of pop. Stony Brook has beaten Kansas and Minnesota, but its schedule largely consists of smaller East Coast schools and that could hamper the Seawolves. Still, you have to wonder…


Los Angeles Super Regional Breakdown – UCLA vs. TCU
Another Pac-12 power made it to the Super Regional round, and UCLA gets to face the Mountain West power, TCU, in a best-of-three showdown this weekend. These teams, like the Super-Regionals above, feature teams that have not faced each other during the regular season. UCLA is in the Super round for the third time in six years. The Bruins (45-14) began their tournament run with a 3-0 shutout of Creighton before going on to a 7-1 victory over New Mexico. UCLA then topped Creighton once again, 13-5, to qualify for the round of 16. The Bruins’ Jeff Gelalich blasted two home runs and drove in four runs in the final game against Creighton. Gelalich (.372-11-46) is the team’s leading hitter, and Adam Plutko (10-3, 2.56, 85 strikeouts) is one of the anchors on a solid pitching staff.

At first glance you might say “Who the heck is TCU?” but the reality is the Horned Frogs are one of the baseball powerhouses. They are in the Super round for the third time in the last four seasons thanks to a tournament showing where TCU (40-20) overcame an opening-game loss. TCU lost to Ole Miss 6-2 before it beat Dayton 28-12 and Texas A&M 10-2. The Horned Frogs then beat Ole Miss twice, 5-2 and 7-4, to win the double-elimination tournament and qualify for the Super round. Kyle Von Tungeln, Josh Elander, Jantzen White and Brance Rivera are among the Horned Frogs’ hottest hitters.