OMAHA–North Carolina coach Mike Fox didn’t have a lot of time to think ahead after his team’s breathless win over Louisiana State on Friday night, but he did give some indication about his thinking for Saturday’s rematch against Fresno State. Fox seemed to be leaning toward starting freshman righthander Matt Harvey again, a day after Harvey threw 29 pitches in two innings against LSU before a weather delay ended his outing. When asked if Adam Warren was an option, Fox initially responded that Warren would not be available, before softening his stance and saying he would have to talk to the junior righty. Ace righthander Alex White threw 29 pitches at the end of the game and should be available again either today or tomorrow. Let’s get to the picks:
John’s Picks: John likes Stanford to force another game against Georgia in Saturday’s first game. He said he believes Stanford is just on a roll, and he expects Jeremy Bleich to turn in a solid outing for the Cardinal. In the nightcap, John is taking North Carolina. He expects Tim Federowicz’s ninth-inning grand slam yesterday to break the logjam and lead to more offense today from UNC, and he trusts the Tar Heels’ pitching depth.
John’s Picks: Stanford, North Carolina
Aaron’s Picks: I can’t imagine that four-day layoff was easy on Georgia, which won two pretty intense games to start the CWS but was unable to keep that momentum going with a regular playing schedule. Like John said, Stanford is on a roll right now, and I’m always leery of pitchers making their first starts after abnormally long layoffs like Georgia’s Nathan Moreau will be doing today. Oftentimes, guys in those situations tend to be too fired up and overthrow. I don’t think Stanford’s lefthanded hitters will be stymied by the lefthanded Moreau, and I really like the way Jeremy Bleich has thrown in the postseason. And as good as Georgia’s bullpen has been, Stanford’s hasn’t been too shabby, either. I’ll take the Cardinal.
In the nightcap, I’ve had a number of e-mails from fans of both teams asking me to continue picking against their team–something about it being good karma. I didn’t realize I had the power to affect the outcome of sporting events, but if you believe in that sort of thing, North Carolina fans should be pleased, because I’m going with Fresno State. Unlike Georgia, which really had to battle to pull out its first two wins, Fresno seemed in complete control of its first two games, and I have yet to see a crack in its armor. As loose as those guys are, I don’t see the layoff affecting them too much. And I like the way a rested Justin Wilson matches up with those dangerous lefthanded hitters in North Carolina’s lineup. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point, and it’s hard to pick against the Tar Heels after last night’s emotional win, but you’ve got to pick somebody, and I believe in the Bulldogs.
Aaron’s Picks: Stanford, Fresno State
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