College coaches break down
the super-regional teams. Sources were given anonymity in exchange for their
candor. All times are Eastern. Rankings indicate national seeds.
|Coastal Carolina (50-12)|
Coach (Record with school): Gary Gilmore (507-275).
CWS History: Never been to Omaha.
CWS Route: Won Conway regional in three games, beating East Carolina in the final.
|RHP||Pete Andrelczyk||Jr.||6-1 (9 sv)||3.40||45||56-11|
"They're offensive too. They've got some power, they've got some speed. They've got a solid catcher, and probably six or seven guys in that lineup that can hit. The Woodward kid is the fastest guy we've faced all year. He gets on base, either with an HBP or walks, then all of a sudden he's standing on second base. Then come the three big guys: Sappelt, Baldrige and Anderson are their main power guys, along with Dock Doyle. We had better success against them with our lefthanders. They're a free-swinging deal, especially David Sappelt. He's a guy that we first threw him a ton of breaking balls, and he didn't hit us very well, so we just kept throwing them. David Anderson is a right-center-field power guy, you've got to jam him up, he wants to get extension. But he got hot late in the year, hit close to 20 homers. It's a big swing so you might be able to get in on him. Woodward stands up on the plate. You want to throw him in because he bars out his arm, but then you hit him, and he steals second and third. The guy had a really good year, and he can hit a little bit too. Him and Dock Doyle and Sappelt are their top three guys.
"They're just OK defensively. They're steady but they're not spectacular. Baldridge had a knee injury so he's a little slow out there in the outfield. Sappelt can catch the ball and has a good arm. Woodward can come in on the bunt, and he's really quick. Doyle's a hard-nosed kid. He's kind of lean and thin for a catcher, but he's lefthanded and can throw guys out; I could see him being a pretty good draft pick. He looked like a leader, wanted to win. He's very vocal sometimes, and he threw guys out this year too. They're average defensively.
"I know North Carolina's got really good pitching, so I would think the bigger the park, the more advantageous for North Carolina. They haven't played the schedule North Carolina has played, but they played some good midweek games and they beat those guys earlier this year. Obviously going in North Carolina's the favorite, but maybe this is the year Coastal can break through. They've done a really good job."
|North Carolina (49-12)|
Coach (Record with school): Mike Fox (447-188-1).
CWS History: Seven trips to Omaha, last in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Cary regional in three games, beating UNC Wilmington in the final.
|RHP||Rob Wooten||Sr.||6-2 (4sv)||1.93||51||62-23|
"I think with White, his velocity is so good, 94-96, and even in the conference tournament, he was very wild, but he settled down against Virginia, and the next thing you know they only have three hits, three runs going into the seventh. Virginia had him on the ropes, but next thing you know you look up and it's the seventh inning and he's settled down. Harvey and Warren are up and down. Harvey is a typical freshman, he can give you a good outing, but you're on pins and needles, you don't know what you'll get. That's where their bullpen comes in if he gets in trouble. Warren is a guy you can get to, little funky arm action, not overpowering, but he's got a decent breaking ball. He'll be 87-91 with a little breaking ball. Sometimes he doesn't have great command; if you're patient with him, he'll walk you a little bit.
"Seager absolutely killed us. Ackley does a good job, he's an unorthodox-looking kid, but he can absolutely hit and absolutely run, he starts that thing off. Fedroff is a legit No. 3 hitter in the ACC; he's got a very good approach and power gap to gap. Seager was hitting balls out to left field, pulling balls out to right field. Chad Flack has been up and down but has some experience, same with Garrett Gore. They've got some experience to help them get through that lineup. If you rank the top three lineups in our conference, I think you still go Miami, Floria State and then North Carolina, but it's not a bad lineup by any means, it's a very good lineup. Flack, you can get him with a breaking ball. He will hit a mistake, but he's also there for the heroics, will get the big hit for them, like he did against Alabama two years ago. You can get him out with a good breaking ball, but if you hang one or leave one out over the plate, he can hurt you a little bit.
"From a pitching standpoint, you have to make sure Ackley doesn't get on base, and make sure Seager and Fedroff don't hurt you. The other guys—Federowicz, Flack, Shelton—they don't scare you as much. If you can contain those three sophomores, you'll be OK. They don't give up a lot of runs, so you've got to scrap and get your runs when you can. If you can get them early, that's going to help you. Get to those starters early and get a lead—it's a lot easier to play with a lead on those guys."
|Texas A&M (46-17)|
Coach (Record with school): Rob Childress (119-66).
CWS History: Four trips to Omaha, last in 1999.
CWS Route: Won College Station regional in four games, beating Houston in the final.
|RHP||Travis Starling||So.||8-1 (9 sv)||3.55||46||39-14|
Coach (Record with school): Wayne Graham (785-297).
CWS History: Six trips to Omaha, last in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Houston regional in three games, beating Texas in the final.
|LHP||Cole St.Clair||Sr.||9-2 (5 sv)||2.65||54||60-16|
"Padron is an RBI guy, tough guy to pitch to, taxes your pitching staff. Seastrunk, you can't make a mistake to him, he'll make you pay. You just can't leave a ball over the plate. Their lineup isn't as potent as some they've had, but they're balanced enough, and that shortstop helped them do that. If you don't do a good job of stopping it they'll run on you. They're not locked into beating you with the long ball, they'll gadget a little bit and steal a run from you.
"Defensively they're very sound. Zornes played really well against us behind the plate. They're good in the outfield, very solid. Berry on Friday nights is hard. Him and Ojala have good 12-to-6 breakers, change-the-plane type pitches, that's not easy to deal with. Ojala might have the best stuff of all those guys, even better than Berry. He's he's 90-92 with a very tight breaking ball, maybe even more depth than what Berry had. He's good, had good mound presence too. Kelley didn't have his best stuff against us.
"Here's the way I feel about their bullpen: They walked more guys against us than they had. But they made a pitch when they had to make a pitch, we could never stretch the lead. So is it as talented as it has been in recent years? Maybe not. Is it competitive, is it good enough? Yes it is. (Righthander Bryan) Price was 90-94 with a slider, and he sinks his fastball. They pitch, so you can't give up a bunch."
|UC Irvine (41-16)|
Coach (Record with school): Mike Gillespie (41-16).
CWS History: One trip to Omaha, in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Lincoln regional in three games, beating Oral Roberts in the final.
|RHP||Eric Pettis||So.||4-2 (17 sv)||1.65||43||50-17|
"All indications to me are they're just going to keep pitching like they usually do against LSU. (The Tigers) won't be able to hit it out of the ballpark at will like maybe they have been able to. But Irvine is going to pitch. Pitching and defense, they bring those things to the ballpark every time. So I think they'll be able to neutralize offenses a little bit. But teams that pitch, you still have to score some runs.
"There's not a better one-two punch than Linton and Orloff. To me their offense goes as those two guys go. If they get going, they'll be all right, because everyone feeds off it. There's probably not a better leadoff guy in the country than Linton. He'll get on base, you'll get him down 0-2 and try to do something with him and he'll hit that 0-2 pitch somewhere. He's solid, and then when you get on base, you know he's going to run. You're concerned about it, your pitcher knows about it, and their next guy will get better pitches to hit because he's up there. Orloff's great at the short game. For me he's a better hit-and-run guy than a bunt guy. He's very good at all the things you want a No. 2 hitter to be good at. Bell in the middle there is a very good hitter and is going to be very good. He's a little bit young so he's got some holes where you can pitch to him a little bit. But he's a solid middle guy. The rest are execute-type guys who can do a good job, nothing overwhelming about them. They're going to get the job done.
"Bibona is very good, he's just a lefthander who has a lot of deception in his delivery and knows how to pitch. I think a lot of teams will look at him out on the mound and say, 'We're going to hit this guy,' then seven innings later they're wondering how'd that guy do that? They're just very solid on the mound, all those guys. Pettis comes in and throws a really heavy, sinking ball and gets ground ball outs. (Righthanded reliever Christian) Bergmann is good, he does feature that running, sinking fastball.
"They're going to play good defense. I think the second baseman has changed a little bit for them as the year has gone on, they've also looked for offense at that position. They've gone to Stevenson now. In that lineup, I felt like there were some younger guys who were going to be very good down the road who weren't quite there yet. Stevenson, Bell, (infielder Ryan) Fisher, who I thought had a chance to be a very good player. Cusick is a very good hitter in the middle of that lineup. Now that he's back (from injury), that makes them a little more solid."
|Louisiana State (46-16-1)|
Coach (Record with school): Paul Mainieri (75-42-2).
CWS History: 13 trips to Omaha, last in 2004.
CWS Route: Won Baton Rouge regional in three games, beating Southern Mississippi in the final.
|RHP||Jared Bradford||Sr.||10-4 (5 sv)||4.05||80||73-20|
"Verdugo and Bradford are good, but LSU doesn't really have the buzz-saw that a lot of teams have that are still playing right now. They don't have a guy who can throw 96 or an automatic win on Friday. But they have a lot of guys who throw strikes and a lot of different looks out of the bullpen. Bradford has been really impressive whether he's starting or in relief. With Martin and Verdugo pitching so well the last four to six weeks it has allowed Bradford to pitch at the end of games and be very effective. (Righthanded reliever Louis) Coleman kind of struggled two years ago, was better last year, but he has been throwing well this year. Jordan Brown is just a solid college pitcher. Not to downplay those three guys, but they're just solid college guys, they all throw strikes, they mix it up, but none of them have big-time swing-and-miss pitches or big time velocity. But if you just throw strikes, play good defense and bang it around a bit, you'll have a good chance to score more than other team, which they do.
"They're solid defensively. Hollander's just a good, scrappy older kid, been through the league for three years. I would say he's probably an above-average defender over there. LeMahieu's had a nice year at shortstop, especially for a freshman. Schimpf at second base has been solid. Clark is a little heavy-footed. (First baseman/catcher Sean) Ochinko came in as a catcher; those guys (at first) did fine when we played them, but I would imagine Irvine's going to pressure those guys with the push bunt. Gibbs is solid. He's a stocky, strong-bodied freshman. He's pretty much caught every game. A lot of times we see freshmen play that much and they wear down, but he's a solid receiver, solid thrower. I'm sure he'll get tested this weekend, but he was just fine against us.
"You've got to pitch to beat them. That's the strength of their club is the offensive part of the game. You've got to hold them to four or five runs, you can't let them bang it around like they have been. That'll be an interesting matchup because they have two totally different styles of play. Irvine's the California short game-type deal, they're going to be playing in Alex Box Stadium, where the ball travels well—it's a hitter's ballpark. LSU definitely has more power, so Irvine will definitely have to keep the ball in the yard. It's hard to pick against a team that's won 23 in a row and is playing at home. I like LSU. They're a good team and hot—there's a lot to like."
|Fresno State (40-28)|
Coach (Record with school): Mike Batesole (212-162).
CWS History: Three trips to Omaha, last in 1991.
CWS Route: Won Long Beach regional in four games, beating San Diego in the final.
|RHP||Brandon Burke||Sr.||4-5 (11 sv)||3.08||64||37-18|
|Arizona State (48-11)|
Coach (Record with school): Pat Murphy (529-257).
CWS History: 20 trips to Omaha, last in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Tempe regional in three games, beating Oklahoma in the final.
|RHP||Tommy Rafferty||Sr.||12-0 (4 sv)||3.65||69||65-17|