Gainesville Super Regional Preview
Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan
Postseason history: 10th super regional appearance (sixth straight). Seeking 12th trip to Omaha (fourth straight).
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Gainesville Regional. Went 3-1, defeating Florida Atlantic 5-2 in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Gators)
“(Jonathan) India is kind of the (Andrew) Benintendi. There always seems to be the guy that stresses you out. But the guy that makes life miserable on you is you get past India and then Wil Dalton’s there. That guy’s a man. He stands in there and looks like he can hit it a long way at any time and he does do that. Several other guys up and down the lineup can get you with the longball, so you never really have any breathing room. A lot of times you play those teams that can drive the ball out of the park and if it’s not an offensive day or if you pitch to them a little bit maybe there’s some swing and miss. But they kind of have the prospect-y type power and the grinder approach at the plate where you might see a guy rattle off an 11- or 12-pitch AB the at bat after he drives a ball. Their offense, I thought, was a headache. We did a nice job pitching to them, but what makes it even more of a headache is you just know going into the game you don’t have a lot of breathing room because you may only score two runs even if you swing the bats as well as you can all year long.
“(Singer) has the good arm, but I think where he’s grown up is – and I’m just guesstimating because he prepared like a 10-year big leaguer – he’s obviously matured, that’s what happens when you go from freshman to junior year. But just the little ins and outs, how you prepare, how you react to bad situations and just how he’s attacking hitters. Because the stuff, he’s always had that stuff. The things that are going on in between pitches and prior to the game are the areas that he’s gotten a lot better. You can just kind of feel it radiating off of him when you’re either watching him on TV or competing against him in person. He’s kind of a professional with the way he goes about it. He’s an assassin, too. He’s not messing around, that’s for sure.
“They have more of that clean-cut (bullpen) deal. Even if one guy was to not get the job done and they were to lose it’s almost like put a quarter in it and it’s a machine that will work. They’re the perfect weekend team. I know there were some crazy skids in there at the end and they didn’t do that well in the (SEC) Tournament, but that is the perfect setup for a super regional or a weekend with the three starters, the lineup with power potential but also guys that can grind away at bats and then on top of it you know every guy is going to play defense the way Sully’s teams play defense.”
First-Year Coaches Steve Holm, Jordan Bischel On Different Paths To Success
Central Michigan's Jordan Bischel and Illinois State's Steve Holm share similarities as first-year head coaches but took different routes to reach this point.
Coach: Butch Thompson
Postseason history: Second super regional appearance (first since 1999). Seeking fifth trip to Omaha and first since 1997.
Postseason route: No. 2 seed in Raleigh Regional. Went 3-0, defeating North Carolina State 15-7 in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Tigers)
“It starts with Casey Mize, but a couple other guys really stepped up. Tanner Burns is pitching like a junior, he’s been awesome. Davis Daniel coming out of the bullpen and Andrew Mitchell emerging as a starter has taken their team to another level. It’s another group that has a bunch of older, steady role players, a bunch of freshmen playing like sophomores and juniors. Edouard Julien and Steven Williams are two of their best hitters. Those guys are high-end, they’re seasoned now and they’re having a real impact. Older experienced players and a couple special freshmen.
“One knock on them is they’re really righthanded. Julien and Steven Williams are really the only two lefthanded bats they play in the lineup. If they face righthanders like Singer that can spin the ball and run it in on them, that’s their biggest kryptonite.
“Will Holland makes some unbelievably acrobatic plays but he’s still learning to be consistent. Anthony and Venter are solid avg. wouldn’t say liability but v avg defensive club
“The thing with Mize that you do know is he pounds the strike zone and everything’s hard. Your hitters know you have to be aggressive. He tunnels his pitches really well. It’s just really late before a hitter can distinguish between his fastball, cutter and splitter. You have to be aggressive.
“Cody Greenhill has been the workhorse and he throws almost all fastballs, but it’s deceptive. He’s been really versatile for them. Daniel has emerged in the bullpen. They tried to start him and then put hm in the ‘pen and his stuff has played up, so he’s been able to help. (Calvin) Coker hasn’t been as sharp lately. They’re kind of pitching six guys and after that it’s pretty big drop off. The thing that helps them is Mize and Burns have been great about pitching seven innings plus.
“Florida is really good, and Auburn is hot right now. I think Auburn will compete well. I think the series will get to the third game and it’ll be tied in the sixth inning.”