College Baseball Chat: June 5

Q:  Chip from Alaska asks:
the ‘Eaters knocked off the #4 seed Texas and match up real favorably
with Wichita State. Even though I’m a UC Irvine alum, I was surprised
how well Gorgen and Ethridge pitched. Do you think they think they can
pull off two more W’s against the Shockers? I wasn’t too impressed with
them in their regional. Zot Zot Zot baby!!!

Aaron Fitt:
Sorry for the delay, everyone — had to take a phone call. As for the
Anteaters, I picked them to win next weekend because they’re hot and
they’re very solid, but I’m a little concerned about the matchup.
Wichita State has so many good lefthanded hitters and so much speed,
that it helps to have lefthanded pitching against them, and Irvine’s
top guys are righties. The Shockers also have an edge playing at home
on the turf, although Irvine isn’t afraid to run, either. That’s one of
the most interesting super-regionals, in my mind. Check back later this
week for full scouting reports on both teams, as well as the other 14
super-regional participants.

 Q:  Ryan Luckie from Greenville, SC asks:
I’ve been pretty accpeting of the selections. Im not going to accuse,
vent, or throw out conspiracy theories. I think MSU was not-undeserving
of a super regional (hey, they beat FSU), but I felt that Clemson was,
perhaps, more deserving. What are your thoughts on what appeared to be
a bit of a coin flip decision?

Aaron Fitt:
I agree with you. I think you can make a case for Mississippi State to
host it, but I think Clemson was more deserving, because the Tigers
have been the better team down the stretch (they didn’t go 0-2 in their
conference tournament), they’ve got a higher RPI, and heck, Clemson has
beaten FSU three times this year, MSU has done it just twice. John
Manuel said it in the podcast today, and I agree with him: I think the
Bulldogs are hosting because their AD is the chairman of the committee.
And that’s a shame, but that’s just how it goes, I guess.

 Q:  Ty from San Diego asks:
Is ASU now the favorite to win it all the way they have been playing the last few weeks?

Aaron Fitt:
Now that I’ve gone down with the Vanderbilt ship, I’m going to swim
back to the surface and take Arizona State and North Carolina in the
championship series. It’s a toss-up who wins from there, but I’m
leaning ever so slightly toward ASU right now.

 Q:  Paul from Newport Beach, CA asks:
‘" what two teams surprised you that made it into the final 16? Now it’s
down to the final 16 (OSU and UVA still to be decided) who do you think
will make up the final 8 and will be in Omaha? FYI ‘" I’™m a Fullerton

Aaron Fitt:
The biggest surprises to me were Michigan, Louisville, Oklahoma State
and Mississippi State. Louisville is probably the least surprising to
me, just because of all the veterans on that club and the solid
pitching. My picks from here are Oregon State (very tough call), UCLA,
Arizona State, UC Irvine (really tough one), Texas A&M (going for
the upset), Louisville, Clemson and North Carolina. Of course, if
you’ve seen my bracket, you’d know that picks don’t mean much this
year. What a crazy, wonderful year for college baseball.

 Q:  Rob from Chicago asks:
The biggest surprise of the Nashville regional was-
(a) David Price giving up the GW HR to a freshman PH who was hitting .188 with 1 HR.
(b) Pedro Alvarez going just 5-20 with only 3 RBI in 5 games.
(c) Vandy losing.

Aaron Fitt: All of the above. Wow.

 Q:  Bertram from Taiwan asks:
Super-Regional matchup are you most excited about? I cannot wait for
the battle of the Carolinas. The way both teams are hitting right now
there should be a ton of runs scored. Do you think the S. Carolina bats
(especially Smoak who had a great regional) can stay hot and pull the

Aaron Fitt:
I am definitely excited about that UNC-USC matchup, and I’ll probably
be at Boshamer Stadium all weekend. And I expect this to last all
weekend — if this series didn’t last three games, I’d be surprised.
Two great offensive clubs, both have gotten strong pitching lately,
plus all the history between these two programs — it’s going to be an
awful lot of fun. What a way to send out the old Boshamer Stadium.

 Q:  Derek from Oxford, MS asks:
chances are you giving Ole Miss to pull the upset of Arizona State, who
on paper are unmatched? 3rd time is the charm, right? After devastating
Game 3 losses to Texas and Miami in the past two super regionals,
surely this is our time! Hotty Toddy, Go Rebels.

Aaron Fitt:
Just looks like a very tough matchup for the Rebels, a
pitching-dominated team that will have to go to a hitter’s ballpark.
The Sun Devils hammer all pitching, but especially righthanded
pitching, and as good as Will Kline and Lance Lynn and Cody Satterwhite
are, they have one thing in common — they’re all righthanded. I’m sure
I won’t make any friends in Mississippi by picking against the Rebels
and Bulldogs, but at least I won’t lose any, since I have none to

 Q:  Pete from Corvallis (OR) asks:
Which confernce has had the strongest showing so far and which has been the biggest disappointment?

Aaron Fitt:
This seems like a great time to mention that those amazing Oregon State
Beavers have done it again. We’ve got a final in Charlottesville: OSU
7, Virginia 3. The Beavers will go back to super-regionals–at home,
against Michigan. Unbelievable. Let this be a lesson to all of us:
don’t ever count Pat Casey’s team out.

Aaron Fitt: So
three of the four regional teams from the Pac-10 have moved on to
supers, with just Arizona falling a bit short. That’s an awfully good
showing. The Big West got two of its four teams to supers, as Fullerton
and Irvine pulled off upsets. So if you’re counting, that’s five teams
from the West Coast winning regionals — pretty impressive. The SEC had
a good winning percentage too, as three of its five entrants won
regionals. Not so the ACC (2-for-7).

 Q:  Alex from Pinehurst asks:
a disheartening, gut wrenching loss the ECU Pirates suffered on
Saturday night. Had there ace closer in with a 2 run 9th inning lead
but could not hold it as he could not find the strike zone. But then
again, the umpires did not help either side during the game as their
where numerous missed and bad calls throughout.

Aaron Fitt:
With two ejections (one from each side), I’m not surprised by the
complaints about the umpiring. But I don’t think that was a factor for
Mathews in the ninth — he even threw one ball behind a batter.
Disappointing way for his season to end.

 Q:  Jerry from Madison, MS asks:
In your mind, do you think that there is anyway that Ole Miss upsets ASU?

Aaron Fitt:
Sure, there’s a way. Ole Miss is a very solid, experienced club with
great pitching. Those arms will have to be at their very best.

 Q:  Jesse from Los Angeles asks:
OK, I’ve been asking your input on UCLA for the last 3 months. I don’t
think you have respoded because A) Thousands of people write you and B)
UCLA was on the bubble. Well, UCLA is off to the super regional. They
have had great pitching and defense, along with excelent hitting. These
guys have been playing like a team on a mission (Omaha). Do they have a
chance to win it all and why?
Thank you

Aaron Fitt:
UCLA has gotten hot at the right time, and it all starts with the
starting pitching. Brummett-Brooks-Murphy is an outstanding 1-2-3, and
the latter two have really come on down the stretch. I think the Bruins
have more firepower than Fullerton and will win this super-regional. I
think UCLA is capable of winning the whole enchilada because of its
pitching, but I suspect this team is probably a year away.

 Q:  Drew from Ann Arbor, MI asks:
I was just wondering why the Super Regional would be at Oregon State if
they won over Virginia even though Michigan is ranked and seeded higher?

Aaron Fitt:
Simply put, Michigan’s stadium isn’t ready. That’s too bad for the
Wolverines, and it’s too bad for the NCAA, which would just love to
have a super-regional in Ann Arbor.

 Q:  AJ from Ann Arbor asks:
shot do you give Michigan of advancing out of the Super Regional? And
given the new stadium in Ann Arbor and a standardized opening day for
all teams, do you think Rich Maloney can build Michigan into a
competitive national power?

Aaron Fitt:
I think Michigan has a great chance — I really went back and forth on
that Michigan-OSU matchup. Oregon State had to use everything it had to
beat Virginia, and its arms are a little tired and won’t have as much
time as Michigan’s to rest up. That is a very solid, balanced Michigan
club with athleticism, speed, power, and solid starting pitching. I
pick the Beavers only because I’m afraid to ever pick against Pat Casey

 Q:  Steve from Starkville asks:
the way Mississippi State has bounced back from an 2-8 finish in the
season to win the Tallahassee Regional, what do you think they have to
do to win the super regional against Clemson? Do you like their chances
to move on to the CWS?

Aaron Fitt:
The Bulldogs got great starting pitching this weekend from Crosswhite,
Pigott and Johnson, and Weatherford was strong in relief. They need all
of those guys to come up big again, because Clemson’s excellent
pitching staff won’t be easy to score against.

 Q:  Owls Really #1 from Washington DC asks:
the results this weekend, can you now look back and think that Vandy’s
run at No. 1 was misguided? Ever since their back-to-back mid-week loss
to two unknowns (Libscomb and Middle Tenn) in mid-April, interspersed
with single losses to conference teams, should they really have
deserved their #1 status? Couple this with Rice’s concurrent 20 game
win streak and it seems that the real #1 team has been Rice for at
least the past 4-6 weeks. Thoughts?

Aaron Fitt:
Give me a break. You’re telling me that because of two midweek losses
in mid-April, Vanderbilt shouldn’t have been No. 1 for the past nine
weeks? Look, Vandy got beaten by a good Michigan club, but the
Commodores should have won that regional. They did not, so it’s clear
they no longer deserve to be the No. 1 team. But you cannot seriously
look back and say any team other than Vanderbilt deserved to be No. 1
over the last two months.

 Q:  Ryan from Katy,TX asks:
Savery put up a gutsy performance without his best stuff against TCU,
and Rice will really look to him as their veteran leader. How has he
looked this season after coming off labrum surgery and how much can
they rely on him?

Aaron Fitt:
He didn’t look great two weeks ago in the CUSA tournament, but reports
are he was much better this weekend. Rice needs Savery to be at his
best to make a run to the title, there’s no question about that. He has
been solid all year but not explosive, and he has struggled to put
batters away. We’ll see if he can build on his last start and put
together a great stretch when it matters most.

Aaron Fitt:
That’s all I’ve got time for today — check back shortly for our
updated top 25 rankings. Enjoy the draft and the super-regionals, and
I’ll be back next week.