OMAHA–More than four months after it began, the college baseball season will end today–assuming the weather cooperates. Today is one of the hottest, muggiest days of the CWS, and the temperature at first pitch will be close to 90 degrees. Once again, there are scattered thunderstorms in the forecast for this evening. But if all goes well, Fresno State or Georgia will be crowned national champion in the next six hours or so.
Both teams are starting lefthanders on three days’ rest, though Georgia’s Nathan Moreau threw less than half as many pitches as Fresno’s Justin Wilson on Saturday. There won’t be any surprises in Georgia’s bullpen: Coach David Perno said yesterday exactly who he’s going to throw after Moreau today. It’ll be Dean Weaver, Alex McRee and Joshua Fields, the team’s three bullpen mainstays all year long. Fresno closer Brandon Burke got a much-needed day off yesterday and will throw at least an inning today, maybe two or three; it is the national championship game, after all. Here are today’s picks:
John’s Pick: "Usually, I prefer to be in Omaha for CWS games, but last night’s 19-10 one was a good example of the rare game that’s better watched at home, with a digital recorder. I focused more on my Futures Game player writeups than the game itself, and when something happened, I rewound. Fresno State hit well even in reverse . . . but when it gets down to it, as good as Fresno State has been, I’m still picking Georgia. It still has fresher pitching and plays better defense. Fresno State has had a run for the ages, and it might be foolhardy to pick against the plucky West Coast team here, seeing as how Oregon State basically did this last year, only as defending national champ and with fewer losses. Fresno State has earned all kinds of respect and would be a worthy national champion; I just think Georgia will win tonight."
John’ Pick: Georgia
Aaron’s Pick: I’ve gone back and forth on this one since last night, because really, I have no idea who’s going to win tonight. One thing that struck me last night was how relaxed Georgia seemed in the postgame press conference, even after blowing a five-run lead with a national title on the line. Fresno carried itself similarly after each of its losses in Omaha, and each time it responded the next day with a win. I’m also a little concerned about Wilson today; he’s not one of those guys who can turn in an economical five- or six-inning outing. He runs up pitch counts because he always issues his share of walks (he has issued 10 in his two CWS starts), and that’s not a great recipe for a guy going on short rest. I think Georgia’s mature hitters will work the count and chase him fairly early, then break through against an overworked Fresno bullpen that has really overachieved to this point in the postseason. Moreau was rusty in his last start after a lengthy layoff, but I think he’ll be much better today.
Aaron’s Pick: Georgia.
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