Starkville Super Regional: Anonymous Coaches Break Down Mississippi State, Notre Dame
Coach: Chris Lemonis
Postseason history: 10th super regional appearance (fifth consecutive). Seeking 12th trip to Omaha and third consecutive.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Starkville Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Campbell in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Bulldogs)
“They have a real 1-2 punch in the rotation and a real ninth inning guy. If you don’t have the lead you’re not going to score on Landon Sims. They have real, high-end, top-two round starters. Against us, they defended well, had some length to the lineup—I was really impressed. Tanner Allen, Rowdy Jordan at the top of the lineup is tough. They’re a complete team.
“Christian Macleod and Will Bednar have stuff and pitchability. It seems like nowadays, you have stuff but not command or you have feel and the stuff isn’t there. Those two guys pound the strike zone and have above-average secondary pitches. MacLeod doesn’t have the fastball of Bednar and Sims, but it’s his third pitch. Bednar tunnels well with his fastball and slider. The slider has late bite and it’s hard to see.
“You have to be aggressive against Sims. He’s a two-pitch guy coming out of the bullpen. But you’re talking about two strikeouts per inning and he doesn’t walk you. You have to be ready to hit, you have to be aggressive. His fastball has ride to it and he holds his plane well. Our guys were missing under the fastball repeatedly. The breaking ball—usually hitters swing over the top and our guys were swinging under it. There’s some type of deception to it. He has really strong intangibles, he’s got a really confident, aggressive mound presence and great tempo. He’s an absolute bulldog in every way, shape and form. The maturity and intensity that he pitches with rubs off on other guys.
“They have a nice mix of left and right in the lineup, some strength, some athleticism and Tanner Allen and Rowdey Jordan are the two guys. Logan Tanner is going to hit a mistake out of the park, Luke Hancock is a threat and Kamren James, they’re all double-dight home run guys. You’ve got to make pitches, too. They’re tough to strike out. A lot of teams in our league struck out over 500 times—they struck out 369. They don’t chase, they foul off more pitches than your typical Power Five Conference team. That allows them to see more pitches, get in your bullpen earlier.
“They defended great. Logan Forsyth made some errors early, but I think the game has slowed down for him. He’s starting to play like a sophomore.
“Dudy Noble, it’s one of those places in our league, especially in the West Division, they’re tough places to go in and win. What you’ve got to do is get to game three. Split the first two and make them burn Sims. He hasn’t pitched twice on a weekend much. Mostly, he throws once a weekend with a long save. I’m not sure how effective he is if he has to close back-to-back games. You’ve got to find a way to split and get to game three. That’s been a revolving door for them. If you beat them or even if you lose, you’ve got to keep it close and make Sims come in the game.”
Coach: Link Jarrett
Postseason history: Second super regional appearance (first since 2002). Seeking third trip to Omaha and first since 2002.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in South Bend Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Central Michigan in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Fighting Irish)
“The weird thing about Notre Dame is they just kind of beat you. Niko Kavadas can do damage. They have guys on the mound that throw strikes, they get ahead, they play great defense and they beat you.
“They catch the balls that are hit at them. They make the routine plays. They just are hard to beat. They throw strikes, they have good at-bats and if you make a mistake to Kavadas he hits it out. They have some other guys that hit home runs but nobody else with that kind of power.
“They started to believe. You could see it during the regular season, and they believe now. They’re veteran, they’re really old. Stuff just doesn’t faze them.
“You have to attack Kavadas hard in. When you go in, you’ve got to get in. When you go up, you’ve got to get up because he wants to extend. If you go in and don’t get in, he does damage. If you go up and don’t get up, he does damage. And he hits breaking balls. When you spin, you’ve got to go strike to ball.
“They can do whatever with their top six guys on the mound. If you get past those guys, there’s not much else. But those six guys give you length. They get creative. If they throw the ball well, they don’t need anybody else. They’re all stretched out.
“They’re good baseball players that have gotten better. They play hard, they believe, they play together.”
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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.
Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Sunday, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2 or ESPNU)
Monday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2 or ESPNU)