John: First, an appreciation from afar for Michael Roth. So many hard throwers have seen their stuff turned around at the College World Series. So often, the big draft prospect, the No. 1 overall pick or the future No. 1, has gone to the CWS and lost, or been hit hard. Not Roth. He went from lefty specialist to ace starter in 2010 in Rosenblatt, in the old yard, with the old bats. He's dominated now in two CWS trips to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. He deserves to be known as the best pitcher in CWS history because he has earned the title. He's been stellar for championship teams, and now he's thrown in a pair of complete games to boot. What a player. What a career. Congratulations, Michael Roth.
On to the picks . . . I'm taking Arizona. I would pick Florida State if not for Kurt Heyer, but I will take the Wildcats with their ace and their athleticism. If there's any rust, though, look for James Ramsey and the Seminoles to exploit it. Aaron picked the 'Noles to win the bracket, and they have played well, only losing that tight 12-inning game to 'Zona.
In the other bracket, I'm sticking with the Gamecocks to win one and force a game Friday. I don't think it makes a lot of sense to pick South Carolina to win two games, but having to deal wiith the tripleheader is just the kind of thing that will set this potential third championship run apart. Ray Tanner's club isn't really hitting right now, and I'm worried enough about their offense that I don't see the Gamecocks winning a third straight title. But they'll battle enough tonight to stay alive.
John’s Picks: Arizona, South Carolina.
Aaron: I think Florida State will benefit from getting to maintain its rhythm by playing every other day. The Seminoles looked really good in each of their last two wins, and they’re carrying a lot of momentum and confidence into today. I love the veteran leadership on that team—those upperclassmen really led the way against UCLA, and I expect more of the same today, though they’ll have their work cut out for them against Heyer. FSU needs a better start from Brandon Leibrandt today than it got in its CWS opener against the Wildcats. That won’t be easy against Arizona’s dangerous offense, but I think he’s up for the challenge. I’ll keep riding the Seminoles.
Tonight, I’ll go with the Gamecocks. Playing two games in a day won’t faze this group of players; they’ll probably be glad to get back out there and play, because they truly seem to love nothing more than playing baseball. I don’t have a scientific reason for taking South Carolina; John is right that the Gamecocks haven’t exactly lit it up offensively, and Arkansas has looked superb in its first two games. But Roth’s complete game allowed the Gamecocks to keep their bullpen fresh, which gives South Carolina a real chance tonight, even if starter Jordan Montgomery struggles.
Aaron’s Picks: Florida State, South Carolina.
Thursday Morning Record:
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