Lexington Super Regional Preview, Schedule & Anonymous Coach Scouting Reports


The Lexington Super Regional pits Kentucky against Oregon State. The Wildcats (43-14) are the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and are looking to break through to the College World Series for the first time in program history. This has already been a historic season for Kentucky, and this year’s team has a chance to really cement its legacy with a series win this weekend.

The Beavers (45-14) have been one of the best teams in the country from wire-to-wire this season. Led by All-American Travis Bazzana, one of the leading candidates to be the first overall pick in this year’s draft, Oregon State is looking to get back to Omaha for the first time since winning the 2018 national championship. The Beavers are perhaps also looking to make a statement after last summer’s conference realignment led to the breakup of the Pac-12. The fallout from those moves means Oregon State will play next season as an independent. Ending this era in the CWS would be a sweet feeling for the Beavers.

Here’s a look at the series schedule:

  • Saturday, 6 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
  • Sunday, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
  • Monday, TBD (if necessary)

Oregon State

Coach: Mitch Canham
Postseason history: Ninth super regional (first since 2022). Seeking eighth trip to the College World Series and first since 2018.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Corvallis. Went 3-0, defeating UC Irvine in regional final.

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Beavers)

“Their starting pitching stands out. Aiden May, I thought he was best starting pitcher in the Pac-12 by far. The composure, the confidence he shows out there, it’s like you’re not getting a hit. With him out there, they feel like they’re going to win because you’re not going to get runs off of him. The way they use the bullpen, they’ve got a lot of guys. They’ve got a lot of different looks back there. That allows them to match up well. For them, its who’s going to execute and who’s going to get the job done? It’s not ever a matter of do they have enough stuff.

“Everyone knows about Travis Bazzana, he’s a stud. The approach has to be, ‘If he gets on base, it’s only a single, he never gets to second base unless he steals.’ The approach has to be he can’t beat you and you go after the other guys. I know they’re getting healthy. But you’ve got to take your chances with the other guys. It’s important to get the bottom-part-of-the-order guys out so there’s no one on base for him. They have a lot of pop, and there’s guys who can homer throughout the lineup.

“You have to pitch Bazzana different every time. Don’t throw him strikes. He’s got a 3-0 green light; he’s going to swing. You’ve got to pick your battles. You’ve got to be giving up a single or a walk and that’s what you’re good with. He’s their emotional star, their sparkplug—he’s their everything. If you pitch to him with runners on base—I’d almost walk him. I don’t care. If someone else beats us I can sleep at night. If this guy does I can’t. That’s how I’d make my decision.

“The key point for me is what are Jacob Kmatz and Eric Segura going to do for them [in the rotation]. Kmatz being good last weekend is good, he can get some momentum going. He’s one of those guys if you’re going to get to him, you have to get him early. When he starts pitching and he gets all his pitches going, it’s like playing a video game.

“I feel like they are playing with a chip. It’s only fitting for a team that’s as decorated as they have been and for that to happen, I’d be playing with a chip on my shoulder if I was a player or a coach. I don’t know if they feel left out, but for what they’ve been able to accomplish there has to be some part of animosity. Hopefully that’s a part of their fuel.”

Projected Lineup

C: Tanner Smith
1B: Mason Guerra
2B: Travis Bazzana
3B: Trent Caraway
SS: Elijah Hainline
LF: Dallas Macias
CF: Micah McDowell
RF: Brady Kasper
DH: Gavin Turley
SP: Aiden May
SP: Jacob Kmatz
SP: Eric Segura
RP: Bridger Holmes
RP: Nelson Keljo


Coach: Nick Mingione
Postseason history: Third super regional (second straight). Seeking first trip to the College World Series.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Lexington. Went 3-0, defeating Indiana State in regional final.

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Wildcats)

“They gelled early, and they performed early. They developed a distinct identity early. The team we’re seeing play now is the same team we saw earlier this year. They’ve played well all year. They’ve done a great job with the two older transfers in the rotation in Trey Pooser and Dominic Niman. They’ve got really good bullpen pieces, and the majority of their identity comes from their athleticism. They steal bases, they put pressure on defenses, and you can’t overlook the fact they can hit the ball out of the park. They can beat you 4-3, they can beat you with the short game, they can beat you with long ball.

“They pitch to contact, keep the ball down in the zone, move the fastball in and out, land the breaking ball when they need to, play solid defense. They’re good at playing team offense and they have a handful of guys with double-digit home runs. It’s a multi-dimensional offense, with a consistent pitching and defense combination.

“You know what they’re going to do [offensively]. You can defend it if you execute but you have to be buttoned up. You have to be able to hold runners, vary looks at second base, pick in the middle of the field and do all of that while making a pitch. They can distract a pitcher and take advantage of someone who’s not ready. But you can’t give it too much attention because that will distract your pitcher and they get better pitches to hit because of it. The good teams, they all know who they are right now.

How do you pitch Ryan Waldschmidt? “Not the way everyone else has been pitching him, that’s where I’d start. The better the hitter, the more you have to keep him honest in. You have to mix and not get too predictable. It’s still baseball, right? If any hitter sees it come out of a pitcher’s hand and he’s not sure what it’ll be and where it’ll be, that’s a way to slow offenses down.

“With Niman, it’s a good mix. He’s lefthanded, has feel, has power, he can pitch and he has stuff. Pooser’s the one that’s done a great job of pitching. When you watch him start, nothing overwhelms you. You feel like you can get to him, but he’s done a good job wiggling. Niman has a chance to slow down the best lineups with the best hitters.

“The bullpen has some good looks in the middle of the game that are a bit different. They’ve got some older, experienced guys that are ready for the moment. You have to give credit to them for coming in on the attack.

“Familiarity is huge. Baseball players play better for the most part when they’re at home because they’re familiar. You see huge advantages to home teams, No. 1, and then you see advantages in a lot of cases to teams that have been there before. To get somewhere and get stopped and be right back at the same spot, usually that’s when you see people knock the door down.

‘The interesting thing about this team is a handful of them are brand new. Devin Burkes, Emilien Pietre, Mason Moore, they were there last year. But one or two of the best hitters and two or three of the best pitchers weren’t there, so the question is how do those guys do something new? But from a program standpoint, I’d bet on them knocking it down.

Are the dugout antics a factor? “There wouldn’t be a lot of it if they were losing. When a team’s feeling good and having a lot of success, there’s going to be a lot of momentum. I always think the best way to stop it is to get a lead and play well. Nobody wants to see other people in the other dugout having a blast because they’re beating you. The way to stop them is to beat them.”

Projected Lineup

C: Devin Burkes
1B: Ryan Nicholson
2B: Emilien Pitre
3B: Mitchell Daly
SS: Grant Smith
LF: Ryan Waldschmidt
CF: Nolan McCarthy
RF: James McCoy
DH: Nick Lopez
SP: Dominic Niman
SP: Trey Pooser
SP: Mason Moore
RP: Ryan Hagenow
RP: Robert Hogan

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