Austin Super Regional: Anonymous Coaches Break Down Texas, South Florida
Coach: David Pierce
Postseason history: 11th super regional appearance (first since 2018). Seeking 37th trip to Omaha and first since 2018.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Austin Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Fairfield in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Longhorns)
“I think the cohesiveness that they have—you look at Zach Zubia to Trey Faltine to Cam Williams to Eric Kennedy there’s a lot of experience. Even Mike Antico, it’s his first year at Texas, but he’s older. The only inexperienced guy is Mitchell Daly and he’s played for them nonstop this year. The pitching is as experienced as anyone in the country. They’re so experienced at the top and then you get to the back end of the bullpen and it’s the freshmen, the two prized recruits of Aaron Nixon and Tanner Witt. There’s not a lot of holes, but when you look on paper outside of Madden there’s not a lot of star power. Not in a bad way, they just have guys that can really do it.
“To me, if you look at a lot of what Madden does, he doesn’t pitch inside a lot. His comfort level is to throw 95-97 mph away. He wants to elevate the fastball and he’s going to throw the slider when he’s ahead. It’s like 95-97 but plays up a tick because he’s so competitive. You’ve got to try to take away his fastball if you can. You’ve got to make him work a little bit. To me, you’ve got to make him work. You can’t let him go three fastballs away and get to the next hitter. You can’t give him 8-10 pitch innings. You’ve got to make him work because he is one of those typical Texas fireballers who’s going to give you 120 pitches. You have to make him work and hope he’s at 100 pitches by the fifth inning, not 120 pitches after eight. You’d almost rather wait him out because his stuff is that good.
“They have a true combination of guys in the lineup. They’ve got speed with Kennedy, Antico and Douglas Hodo. They’ve got power with Ivan Melendez, Zubia and Williams. You’ve got the steadiness of Daly, Faltine and Ardoin. It’s a really good combination of those type of guys. It’s not like it’s all power or all speed. It’s a true combination of all of the above. I think that’s what makes them good. All those guys know their roles. They’ve got guys that are run producers, they’ve got guys that set the table for those guys. They know their roles and they do them well. Three power, three speed, three gritty ballplayer-type guys. There’s no real weakness because they can exploit those three areas.
“Defensively, Faltine is good. Williams at times can stray, he’s the only guy that does a little bit. To me he’s still a plus defender. Hodo is plus. Zubia is a nice piece at first base. Especially at their park, their turf plays real slow and they know how to play on that turf. They’re always in (the) right position. They’re as fundamentally sound as it gets.”
Coach: Billy Mohl
Postseason history: First super regional appearance. Seeking first trip to Omaha.
Postseason route: No. 4 seed in Gainesville Regional. Went 3-1, defeating South Alabama in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Bulls)
“They can really pitch. They have four legit starters. They’ve really developed the pitching staff over the course of the year. Offensively, the top few guys are really good players, they’ve just gotten guys hot through the lineup. Jarrett Eaton was great this weekend, Jake Sullivan got hot in the tournament. Carmine Lane is a really good hitter, Riley Hogan is a really good hitter. When Daniel Cantu is hot it’s scary because he’s a lefthanded hitter with power. Offensively, after that, they’re nothing special, they’re just hot.
“Collin Sullivan is really good, Jack Jasiak is really good, Brad Lord is more inconsistent than other guys but maybe has better stuff than all of them. They don’t have top 3-4 round stuff where it’s 95 or 96. Sullivan is 90-93 with a good cutter that’s hard on righthanded hitters and a changeup that’s tough on lefties. He commands his fastball well. All the starting pitchers are three-pitch mix guys, they keep you off-balance. It’s not like its 85-88 and they trick you. It’s 90-93 with three pitches that are average to above-average with good command.
“Orion Kerkering is really good at the end of the game. He’s 94-97 with a legit breaking ball. That’s the best back-end guy in our league in terms of stuff. Logan Lyle is a really good piece in the back end. You’ve got to get their starters out of the game and extend the bullpen, that’s their weakness. If they go starter, Kerkering and Lyle every time, you’re going to be in trouble to score a lot of runs. You have to tax the starting pitchers, you have to get them out of the game early. Whether that helps you win that game or the next game. The depth of the bullpen is not very good but their top six guys are really good.
“Hogan is a tough switch hitter. Roberto Pena can do damage but he’s pitchable. Cantu is the X-factor because when he goes, it’s another power bat. When he’s good (it) makes (the) lineup deeper.
“Any time you start to win games you get confident. I saw a lot of growth from them the whole season. Early in the season, the pitchers weren’t great, offensively they were doing a lot of trying to manufacture runs—they didn’t do any of that at the end of the year. They got more experience and more confident and midway through the year pitchers really figured it out. Even the bullpen guys, Kerkering got lit up early in the year and then he just got the experience. He’s still a freshman. I thought (pitching coach Karsten Whitson) did a great job developing those guys. As a team, they got more confident and started to play better. Carmine and Riley, they were good, but then you had other pieces that started to figure things out. They lost Drew Butcher, but other guys stepped up. Sullivan started to hit, Eaton started to hit. Guys started getting hot and they added with the guys at the top of the lineup that are good, and confidence started to spread through the offense and the pitchers kept doing their thing. They’re super confident right now.”
The 90th Percentile: Travis Bazzana's Journey From Australia
In the season two premiere, host Geoff Pontes sits down to chat with Oregon State standout Travis Bazzana.
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