OMAHA–For Fresno State and North Carolina, there is no tomorrow; it’s win tonight or go home. I’m in the same boat, but we’ll get to that shortly. The Tar Heels will start Adam Warren on four days’ rest today, and Fresno plans to go with Clayton Allison, assuming he can get loose before the game without any pain. It’s a matchup of two veteran righthanders who won’t overpower but will throw strikes and get a lot of ground balls when they’re on. The Bulldogs are in better shape in the bullpen, because they haven’t used closer Brandon Burke since Tuesday. UNC closer Rob Wooten has thrown 40 pitches over the last two days, and ace Alex White has thrown 63 pitches over the last two days. Wooten should be able to bounce back to throw at least an inning today, but using White three straight days might be pushing it. Let’s get to the picks, starting with John, who e-mailed along this breakdown this morning:
John’s Pick: "I’m going to continue riding the Tar Heels. Adam Warren only has lost twice in his career; I know he’s not a stud but he’s a Good College Pitcher, and he’s pitched three times in Omaha. Fresno is relying on a wing and a hope with Clayton Allison and his tender right arm. I believe the Bulldogs blew their chance last night not using Brandon Burke in the eighth inning; they had all the karma, and now I think Carolina has it, with two late home runs to win games. Carolina also has the best pitcher in the event in Alex White, as we’ve said before, and now we’ve seen how White can dominate even on short rest, just dominating off his fastball. Fresno is certainly worthy of the CWS Finals, but I will take UNC because it’s been the better team all year, it has more talent, it has the momentum and it has the CWS experience."
John’s Pick: North Carolina
Aaron’s Pick: Since leveling my record at 4-4, I’ve hit a dreadful skid, missing my last four picks. I’m three games behind John with three or four games to play. If I’m going to win this thing, I’ve got to get out of the kiddie pool and start making some moves. I’m not playing for the tie–as Herman Edwards would say, you play to win the game–so I have no choice but to pick Fresno State today. I’m comfortable with the Bulldogs, who have been a very resilient bunch over the last six weeks or so. Remember, they won their first two games at the Long Beach regional but were blown out by San Diego, 15-1, in their first attempt to clinch. Fresno responded by dominating the Toreros in a 5-1 win the next day. The Bulldogs also dropped their first game against Arizona State in the Tempe super-regional but bounced back to win their next two. Saturday’s loss had to be heart-breaking, but don’t expect these guys to wilt.
Aaron’s Pick: Fresno State
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