Athens Super Regional Preview, Schedule & Anonymous Coach Scouting Reports


The Athens Super Regional pits Georgia against NC State. The Bulldogs (42-15) have put together an incredible turnaround season under first-year coach Wes Johnson and behind Charlie Condon, who leads the nation in both batting (.445) and home runs (36). A season ago, Georgia went 29-27 and 11-19 in the SEC. This year, they’re the No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and now two wins away from their first trip to the College World Series since 2008.

NC State (36-20) consistently showed the ability to play with—and beat—the best teams in the ACC all season long. It went 7-4 against Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia, the four other ACC teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament. Georgia presents another tough challenge, especially at Foley Field, where the Bulldogs are 32-5, but the Wolfpack have met just about every challenge they’ve faced this season.

Here’s a look at the series schedule:

  • Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
  • Sunday, 12 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
  • Monday, TBD (if necessary)

NC State

Coach: Elliott Avent
Postseason history: Sixth super regional (first since 2021). Seeking fourth trip to the College World Series and first since 2021.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Raleigh. Went 3-0, defeating James Madison in regional final.

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Wolfpack):

“They have a very poised style of play. It seems like a team that plays good at the right time. They have a bunch of older, veteran guys who have been around the block at different places. They’re very lefthanded, but they can beat you in multiple ways. They just play pretty good baseball.

“They’ve got length at the front end of rotation and then they’ve got younger arms that have got good stuff in the ‘pen. It’s a pretty complete team when you look at it. They’re just a good baseball team.

Jacob Cozart behind the dish is gamechanger. He steals more strikes than anyone in the country. He wins that battle. The corner guys can really hit. Alec Makarewicz is having an All-American season. [Shortstop] Brandon Butterworth nails the whole defense down. They’re a pretty good ballclub as a whole.

“There’s nobody to pitch around to get to, that’s what I’d say about those guys. I don’t know how Georgia stacks up on the mound, but if they’re lefthanded at all, they have a chance. If they’re pretty righthanded, they could be in trouble. It’s like five lefties in the lineup so you really have to run lefthanders at them.

“The starters give you so much length, you really have to hit them out of the game. If they get to the fifth and they’re in the ballgame they have enough guys in the ‘pen to get them over the edge.

They’re 11-3 since May 1. How much momentum do they have? “That’s historically them. They won a couple good series and got some momentum going. They’re all doom and gloom early in the year and then at the end of the year, they’re right there. Defensively, they figured some things out. They had some young guys get better the second half of the year, that’s been the big X factor.

“They beat Clemson two out of three on the road, they beat Arkansas on the road to go to Omaha a couple years ago. These guys can win on the road. It’s not a team I would worry about playing away from home.”

Projected Lineup

C: Jacob Cozart
1B: Garrett Pennington
2B: Matt Heavner
3B: Alec Makarewicz
SS: Brandon Butterworth
LF: Luke Nixon
CF: Eli Serrano III
RF: Noah Soles
DH: Alex Sosa
SP: Sam Highfill
SP: Dominic Fritton
SP: Logan Whitaker
RP: Jacob Dudan
RP: Derrick Smith


Coach: Wes Johnson
Postseason history: Fifth super regional (first since 2008). Seeking seventh trip to the College World Series and first since 2008.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Athens. Went 3-0, defeating Georgia Tech in regional final.

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Bulldogs):

“They’re really offensive. There’s power up and down the lineup. They have the best player in college baseball, which obviously Charlie Condon is. There’s no point in even making a comment on him. The guy that makes a huge impact is Corey Collins. I don’t think he gets enough credit for how good a hitter he is and what he does for Condon. Their offense can take off at any time. You have to give their staff credit for developing some hitters. Everyone thought Condon and Collins were great offensive pieces, but guys have rolled in there like Kolby Branch and hit double-digit home runs.

How do you pitch Condon? “You don’t. You throw him balls and you let him go to first base. That’s just kind of the obvious thing. He can hit anything. If you fall into patterns, he’ll hit spin, he’ll hit velocity, he’ll hit the ball away. He’s gotten out some, but I almost thought if we walked the guy every time he would have done less. He’s just that good. You’re talking about a guy being considered 1-1, so it makes sense. He has a very good approach at the plate and he’s got foul pole to foul pole power. The thing any opposing coach is going to do is say, ‘I’m not going to let this guy hurt me’ and he still ends up doing it. I guess that’s what makes him so good.

“They’re pretty solid defensively; they made the routine play. They’ve moved a lot of pieces around, done a good job of getting a lot of guys in the lineup and getting guys at-bats based on matchups. [Fernando Gonzalez] is good behind the plate, everyone else is just solid. They make the routine plays; they play their position well. They play sound, fundamental baseball and don’t get in their own way.

“Wes has done a good job coming into a staff with a lot of question marks, a lot of pieces moving around. He’s used a lot of guys, developed them in different roles, squeezed everything they could out of the staff. Leighton Finley is turning into a real guy with real stuff. If he’s on, he’s a problem. They’re matching up a lot. You look at the staff, it’s how do we use these guys in pieces to get through 27 innings in a weekend. Kolten Smith has gotten better as season has gone on. That’s been the deal through the course of the year—they’ve done a good job of having guys step up and different guys pitch well in good spots. That’s helped them win a lot of games.

“I don’t think NC State’s park is gigantic either. A lot of people make a big deal about the ballpark, but college baseball in general is becoming so much more offensive. There’s a lot that goes into it: Is the baseball livelier? Is the strike zone smaller? Are hitters stronger? And the answer is ‘yes’. It’s a combination of all of that. Can that park play small? Sure, but pick a park in our league that can’t play small. I don’t think it’s a big deal. You look at that matchup and they both play in parks that can play small and give up homers.

Is Georgia’s lack of experience at this stage of the tournament a factor? “It’s hard to know unless you’re in that dugout or clubhouse. It’s all about the mindset of the kids and how loose they are. Part of playing in this league is the weekly grind of it; it’s playoff baseball for every single game of the 30-game SEC season. Playing at home has its advantage. The question is will they play tight? I don’t know. That’s the question every coach wants to figure out about an 18-to-22-year-old kid. If you figure out that answer, you’ll make a lot of money. It’s hard to know unless you’re inside. There have been teams I’ve been around that have experience that could still get tight, and there are teams I’ve been around with zero experience like them and they can win regionals, super regionals. It’s hard to know. That’s the 18-22-year-old psyche in a way. Wes being new, all those guys being new, maybe they’ll play loose. It’s more about figuring out the personality of the team. They’re an older group. I think it always starts with the position players and you’ve got the guy who’s the best player in the game and he seems unfazed by anything. Collins and some of those other guys been around for so long. Eventually, you get to the point where you watch all these other teams you compete against all year in this league go out and win regionals and super regionals and you say, ‘I can do this.’”

Projected Lineup

C: Fernando Gonzalez
1B: Corey Collins
2B: Slate Alford
3B: Charlie Condon
SS: Kolby Branch
LF: Clayton Chadwick
CF: Dillon Carter
RF: Dylan Goldstein
DH: Tre Phelps
SP: Leighton Finley
SP: Kolten Smith
SP: Zachary Harris
RP: Christian Mracna
RP: Brian Zeldin

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