2017 NCAA Super Regional Preview: Wake Forest-Florida


Hosted by Florida • Alfred A. McKethan Stadium • Gainesville, FL
Follow the action on Twitter: @GatorsBB | @WakeBaseball

Wake Forest (42-18) at Florida (44-17)
3 p.m. (ESPN)
3 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2)


Jackson Kowar (Photo by Cliff Welch)

Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan
Postseason History: Ninth super regional appearance (fifth straight). Seeking 11th trip to Omaha (third straight).
Postseason Route: No. 1 seed in Gainesville Regional (No. 3 national seed). Went 3-1 defeating Bethune-Cookman 6-1 in the regional final.

Scouting Report
(anonymous coach breaks down the Gators)

“As good a three starters as there are in the country, a very athletic team. (The starters) are all good. They’re all dudes. A very athletic team that can really defend, they’re just starting to swing the bat better toward the back end of the year. Obviously a very completive team, a very talented team. Byrne has done a great job at the back end of it. That’s what makes them go, their starting pitching, their athleticism and their ability to defend, Offensively, they’re starting to click, they’ve got a guy at the back end that can close.

“The only question mark you can have on Florida is its bullpen. It’s solid, it’s not bad, but it’s not as good as maybe it’s been in years past. It’s probably just an average ‘pen. They’re going to run out some quality arms and whatnot. Faedo’s going to go in the first round, Singer’s going to go in the first round next year, Kowar’s got a chance to. So you’re talking about three first round arms, the closer’s done a great job. The guys in the middle are probably solid college arms. They’re not bad at all, they’ve got some guys with serious stuff, some arm angle, it’s a solid ‘pen. But after you face three first rounders, anything’s a drop off.

“(Faedo) commands the slider really well. I think you have to hunt a particular pitch, and I think it depends on the hitter. Some guys can sit on the slider but never hit it. For most hitters, it’s ‘Hey, when we get a fastball, we’re not going to miss it.’ The slider is what it is. I think you’ve got to attack the fastball and hope you can get enough of them and be on time and ready for enough of them. That’s what makes him so good. It’s a good fastball, 91-95 mph, and a real slider, like a plus-plus slider that he commands. If he’s on, good luck, he’s going to win unless something happens and you beat him 1-0. That’s why he’s going to go in the first round.

“(Singer is) a premium strike thrower. He is going to fill up the strike zone. He’s very competitive. The fastball at times seems like it has more run than actual sink. It’s a good slider, it’s not a Faedo slider, but it’s a good slider. And he is a tough, tough completive kid. He’ll fight you out there. If anything, you try to get good swings off. He’s not going to walk you, so you have to go up there ready to hit. He’s not going to back away. You get a base hit, he’s going to try to run the next one in there and get a ground ball and get a two-ball because they can really pick it up in the infield. You have to be ready for the fastball and be ready to hit it. It’s why you talk about them being in first round. When they’re really on and really commanding it, it’s tough. If they make some mistakes and open themselves up, you’ve got to take advantage of them.

“They’re all athletic, they all can pick up a groundball, there’s some guys in the outfield who can go track it down. They’re very consistent, they’re very fundamental and they have a lot of confidence. You can tell it’s something they take pride in. It’s a game changer for them. Their identity this year is they’ve really pitched it and defended it and they’re really comfortable in the 2-1, 1-0 close game because of what they can do defensively and what they can do on the mound. It’s just confidence, man. They’ve got some older guys that have confidence and that can really play. You couple that with the offense coming alive for them toward the end of the year and you can see how they’ve taken off, how they’ve played so well. Really good start pitching, really good defense and timely hitting, that’s a pretty good formula to win a lot of baseball games.”

Pos. Name Bats Yr. Avg. OBP SLG HR RBI BB SO SB
C Mike Rivera R Jr. .238 .338 .349 2 23 16 13 1
1B JJ Schwarz R Jr. .274 .372 .457 10 50 35 52 6
2B Deacon Liput L So. .215 .308 .288 1 27 30 57 12
3B Jonathan India R So. .277 .367 .446 6 32 22 30 10
SS Dalton Guthrie R Jr. .268 .349 .359 4 20 25 35 10
OF Nelson Maldonado R So. .320 .462 .471 6 31 45 19 4
OF Austin Langworthy L Fr. .241 .360 .343 3 23 31 35 6
OF Ryan Larson R Sr. .318 .406 .478 5 23 16 35 7
DH Mark Kolozsvary R Jr. .277 .381 .446 3 26 17 28 2
Pos. Name Throws Yr. W L SV ERA IP BB SO AVG
SP Alex Faedo R Jr. 7 2 0 2.70 103.1 34 123 .221
SP Brady Singer R So. 7 5 0 3.48 106 29 97 .254
SP Jackson Kowar R So. 12 0 0 3.72 96.2 39 68 .270
RP Michael Byrne R So. 3 4 16 1.55 63.2 12 74 .210

Gavin Sheets (Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Wake Forest

Coach: Tom Walter
Postseason History: Second super regional appearance (first since 1999). Seeking third trip to Omaha (first since 1955).
Postseason Route: No. 1 seed in Winston-Salem Regional. Went 3-0, defeated West Virginia 12-8 in regional final.

Scouting Report
(anonymous coach breaks down the Demon Deacons)

“There’s a drastic difference on the road. These guys can hit—I’m not taking that away. But as a little bit of an example, when you look at ballpark factors, we found that (Wake’s ballpark) has a park factor of 150. That means it has 50 percent more offense than the average (Division I park). Florida, for example, is basically about 100. So every stat is inflated by about 50 percent. You’re still talking about a team that can hit, but then you factor that in . . .

“The park is so small . . . and they recruit guys who can hit. They’re not very good defensively, but they’re built for that ballpark. It’s the opposite of the 1980s Cardinals who had Willie McGee and Vince Coleman who could all fly and the turf was so fast. They’ve done the opposite of that. I don’t blame them; that’s what I would do, too.”

“It’s a hard place to win because of academics. But they play wiffle ball in a wiffle ball park and they’ve recruited right to it. But I wouldn’t want to pitch there.”

“Still, good pitching beats good hitting. It’s hard to factor the difference between a team like Florida, which is supposed to go to Omaha (and Wake). Maybe they play tight, or maybe they play loose because they think, ‘Hey nobody expected us here.'”

Pos. Name Bats Yr. Avg. OBP SLG HR RBI BB SO SB
C Ben Breazeale L Sr. .342 .410 .523 8 47 27 33 0
1B Gavin Sheets L Jr. .322 .429 .634 20 81 44 33 1
2B Jake Mueller R So. .358 .429 .449 2 34 24 29 6
3B Johnny Aiello R So. .329 .422 .636 18 51 25 71 4
SS Bruce Steel R So. .272 .386 .555 13 38 32 54 4
OF Stuart Fairchild R Jr. .359 .438 .645 17 67 29 49 20
OF Jonathan Pryor L Sr. .347 .441 .474 4 35 34 47 5
OF Keegan Maronpot R Jr. .213 .323 .420 12 41 31 79 1
DH Logan Harvey R So. .264 .393 .368 3 26 38 50 0
Pos. Name Throws Yr. W L SV ERA IP BB SO AVG
SP Connor Johnstone R Sr. 8 0 0 3.36 88.1 32 63 .248
SP Parker Dunshee R Sr. 9 1 0 4.14 95.2 27 103 .259
SP Donnie Sellers R Jr. 3 5 0 4.81 78.2 28 57 .260
RP Griffin Roberts R So. 2 4 8 2.15 50.1 29 75 .164

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