2023 NCAA Tournament Eugene Super Regional Preview

Image credit: Colby Shade (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Friday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Saturday, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sunday, TBD (If necessary)


Coach: Mark Wasikowski

Postseason history: Second super regional (first since 2012). Seeking second trip to the College World Series and first since 1954.

Postseason route: No. 2 seed in Nashville Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Xavier in regional final.

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Ducks)

“They’re a veteran team. The lineup is solid. It’s definitely solid at the top and they still have some dangerous guys as you move down the order, too. The veteran presence they have and the guys that have the ability to hurt you stand out. It’s a tough lineup. You’ve got to make your pitches. They’ve got some older guys, Drew Cowley has been around forever. Colby Shade and Sabin Ceballos are dangerous. Rikuu Nishida, he’s a tough out. You might have to pitch him differently at-bat to at-bat. He knows how to put the ball in play and take pitches and can also beat out a groundball to short. It’s a pretty solid lineup overall. You can pitch to them but even a guy like Jacob Walsh, I know he hasn’t had the greatest year but if he barrels a ball, he’s got a chance to leave the yard.

“They play good defense, too. They can defend. They can make plays in the outfield, in the infield. They don’t give up freebies defensively. It’s one of the reasons they’ve been solid.

“The pitching has been part of the reason they’ve been up and down. They’ve relied on their offense. They’ve had their ups and downs with the pitching. They’re playing really well right now. When they’re doing that, they can beat anybody.

“They’ve had some injuries (on the mound). It seems like when they were struggling for a little bit managing that; they’re still trying to do that a little bit. I feel like if they can hand it off to some of the guys in the back end of the bullpen like Austin Anderson and Josh Mollerus and Matt Dallas—when he’s going good—I feel like if they can hand it to those guys, they’re in a good spot. It’s just about getting it in their hand with the lead. If they can do that, they’re probably in a pretty good position. How you beat them is you keep it out of the backend guys with the lead. I don’t know that they have the true starters to get it there.

“When the weather is good, the ball jumps a little bit (at PK Park). The fences back before they changed them, when it was wet and cold it was a non-offensive place. Now, when it’s a warm day, it can be live. That could be a factor that could potentially help them. It’s noticeably different when it’s warm and the fences are in.”

Projected Lineup

C: Bennett Thompson
1B: Jacob Walsh
2B: Gavin Grant
3B: Sabin Ceballos
SS: Drew Cowley
LF: Tanner Smith
CF: Colby Shade
RF: Rikuu Nishida
DH: Drew Smith

SP: Logan Mercado
SP: Turner Spoljaric
SP: Grayson Grinsell
RP: Austin Anderson
RP: Josh Mollerus

Oral Roberts

Coach: Ryan Folmar

Postseason history: Second super regional (first since 2006). Seeking second trip to the College World Series and first since 1978.

Postseason route: No. 4 seed in Stillwater Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Dallas Baptist in regional final.

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Golden Eagles)

“For me, the big thing was they seemed like they were extremely focused and a team on a mission. They do all the little things right, they’re extremely veteran. It was like you saw the look that they were on a mission to prove something this year. They were upset about not winning the regular season title last year. They had a renewed energy.

“They do everything well in all three phases. In the lineup, there’s not too many holes. The bullpen has to be one of the best in the country. They can do a little of everything, they even stole some bases and that’s something they never did in the past.

“Their starters are good, just not plus. If they can beat up starters a bit to not allow Oral Roberts to get to the bullpen with the lead, that’s huge. (Closer Cade Denton stands out for) his ability to throw a strike first and foremost. With his stuff, that’s not something you’re finding all over the country anymore. Maybe you find a guy with that stuff but it’s all over the zone. He hasn’t even walked double-digit guys. He has a two-pitch mix, real good feel for his breaking ball. He’s been in those situations at the back of games, he’s got the moxie and the ability to command the zone and he’s not beating himself. (Jacob) Widener has maybe even better stuff wise but he’s more erratic around the zone.

“They’re tough because you got to mix patterns. Jonah Cox is a really good bat-to-ball guy, he doesn’t strike out, he fouls off pitches, I think he guesses pitches or sits on patterns. But it’s not like he’s slapping the other way. He’s got some power. He makes them go. Matt Hogan can make you pay for mistakes. They have a lineup where I think you’ve got to get above the barrel as much as possible. If you elevate a fastball and have a good changeup, you’ve got a shot. They see spin all the time. They’re a momentum-type offense, trying to thrive off big innings. When they do score, they’re trying to make sure they get four, five, six runs, not just a one spot. You have to make sure you get the bottom half of the order out so it doesn’t lead to Cox or Hogan driving runs in.

“They’re really good defensively at every spot. One guy that sets them apart that people don’t think about is Jake McMurray at first. He sets the tone, the way he plays the game with an edge and his ability to pick up the infield with errant throws. Max McCroskey is a good defender at shortstop. They don’t beat themselves. The outfield is all good. They do all the little things right.

“I don’t think they’re afraid of anyone. They’re playing with a ton of confidence, too. They have 10, 11, 12 seniors making an impact for them in the lineup and on the mound. They’ve been in tougher environments too. They’re a team that has that look about them want to prove how good they are.”

Projected Lineup

C: Jacob Godman
1B: Jake McMurray
2B: Blaze Brothers
3B: Holden Breeze
SS: Mac McCroskey
LF: Justin Quinn
CF: Jonah Cox
RF: Matt Hogan
DH: Drew Stahl

SP: Jakob Hall
SP: Harley Gollert
SP: Brooks Fowler
RP: Cade Denton
RP: Jacob Widener

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