Super Regional Preview: Arizona-Mississippi State


Hosted by Mississippi State (No. 6 national seed) • Dudy Noble Field • Starkville, Miss.
Follow the action on Twitter: @HailStateBB | @ArizonaBaseball

Arizona (42-21) at No. 6 Mississippi State (44-16)

6 p.m., (ESPN2)
6 p.m. (ESPNU)
6 p.m. (ESPN2 or ESPNU)

Coach: Jay Johnson
Postseason History: fourth super regional appearance (first since 2012). Seeking 17th trip to Omaha.
Postseason Route: No 2 seed in Lafayette Regional. Won in five games, beating Louisiana-Lafayette in the final.

C  Cesar Salazar  L  So. .283  .324 .346  0 27  12 16  1
1B  Ryan Aguilar  L  Sr.  .314  .387  .504  7  46  30  42  12
2B  Cody Ramer  L  Sr.  .354  .452  .502  2  37  43  37  8
3B  Bobby Dalbec  R  Jr.  .259  .372  .433  6  37  32  73  7
SS  Louis Boyd  R  Jr.  .253  .399  .295  0  19  32  32  9
OF  Alonso Rivas  L  Fr.  .272  .350  .346  1  25  14  25  1
OF  Jared Oliva  R  So.  .237  .281  .390  3  28  10  37  13
OF  Zach Gibbons  R  Sr.  .383  .470  .443  0  39  35  23  9
DH  J.J. Matijevic  L  So.  .294  .332  .434  4  35  13  36  2
Pos. Name Throws Yr. W L SV ERA IP BB SO AVG
SP  Nathan Bannister  R  Sr.  10  2  0  2.56  120  25  88  .200
SP  J.C. Cloney  L  Jr.  6  4  0  2.86  94  17  53  .253
SP  Kevin Ginkel  R  Jr.  3  1  2  2.06  47  16  29  .228
RP  Bobby Dalbec  R Jr.  9 4  7 3.28  71 29  61 .238

Scouting Report
(anonymous coach breaks down the Wildcats)

“I thought playing them—whether it’s just the way they played all year or just that weekend—they were the best team we played all season. We were playing well, too . . . They were the best team we played just from an athletic standpoint. Tremendous team speed, which they’re able to use up and down the lineup, and they’re able to utilize the west coast style of baseball with that speed, and they’ll always do something. And you better keep the leadoff guy off base. What’s funny is that we actually did a pretty good job of that all weekend. They were just as locked in offensively as any team we had played in a long time.

“The lineup against us, we were really worried about the lefties in their lineup. And Ramer, at the top of the order, he wasn’t swinging it well when we played them. But Gibbons in the two-hole absolutely wore us out. I mean, he had five hits the first night. It was absolutely ridiculous. We had heard that you’ve got to keep Ramer off base, and they’re going to run with everybody except for Aguilar and Rivas. And Aguilar’s got 12 stolen bases. He didn’t swing it that well against us, but the rest of the lineup just wore us out. And Dalbec, while he can be pitched to, especially if you have some velocity, if you leave something over the plate, there’s nobody that we played all year that has the pop that he has. It’s impressive.

“And they just do a good job of using that team speed. I think that team speed helps them on defense as much as it does on offense, frankly. They really ran down some balls. They played very well defensively against us. And they’re just athletic. They’re the most athletic team we played this year.

“Getting through the regional, I was wondering if they were going to have the pitching depth, especially going through the loser’s bracket. But they obviously were able to do that. But we’ll see if Bannister’s got anything left. I kind of question their pitching depth, but the guys they have, they throw strikes. Bannister’s good. Cloney, he’s really interesting because when you see him, you’re like, ‘Why are we not hitting this guy?’ Because he’s just kind of an 86-90 (mph) lefty with a loopy breaking ball. But I’m looking at the scouting report, and he throws strikes, and the fastball’s sneaky . . . Ginkel started game three against us, and he was throwing a bunch of 94s against us. He was bringing it. He was struggling a little more as far as command against us, but he was good. The stuff was above average . . . If you get into their ‘pen, I think they’re vulnerable, but the guys are still going to throw strikes. They’re going to make you beat them.

“Jay (Johnson’s) done a good job. They’re going to play the slow down, the ultra west coast slow down game, which if you let it, can get to you a little bit. They’re going to take their time with everything they do. They’re going to step out and try to take time in between pitches and just do all the stuff that Jay learned from (San Diego head coach) Rich Hill.”

Mississippi State
Coach: John Cohen
Postseason History: sixth super regional appearance (first since 2013). Seeking 10th trip to Omaha.
Postseason Route: No. 1 seed in Starkville Regional. Won in three games, beating Louisiana Tech in the final.

C  Jack Kruger  R Jr.  .350  .435 .562  8  40 28  29 6
1B  Nathaniel Lowe  L  Jr.  .358  .429  .504  5  49  30  30  2
2B  John Holland  L  Sr.  .227  .277  .282  0  12  4  22  2
3B  Gavin Collins  R  Jr.  .301  .404  .512  10  38  29  33  0
SS  Ryan Gridley  R  So.  .284  .336  .342  2  32  11  21  1
OF  Reid Humphreys  R  Jr.  .317  .404  .503  5  44  24  48  0
OF  Jacob Robson  L  Jr.  .335  .430  .432  1  24  30  34  18
OF  Jake Mangum  B  Fr.  .418  .470  .520  1  27  14  17  6
DH  Brent Rooker  R  So.  .320  .371  .553  9  51  15  46  2
Pos. Name Throws Yr. W L SV ERA IP BB SO AVG
SP  Dakota Hudson  R  Jr.  9  4  0  2.62  107  34  109  .246
SP  Austin Sexton  R  Jr.  8  3  0  3.67  96  24  92  .260
SP  Zac Houston  R  Jr.  6  0  0  1.63  39  19  42  .201
RP  Reid Humphreys  R  Jr.  0 1  7  5.48 21  6 28  .286

Scouting Report
(anonymous coach breaks down the Bulldogs)

“They are a good club, above average in all three areas. I don’t think they have Florida’s pitching or Texas A&M’s offense. Good offense, good pitching staff, good defense—that’s why they’re still playing.

“Offensively, I think they’ve come into their own. They have a lot of guys that truly know who they are as players. They don’t have little guys trying to play big. They have a nice balance of left and right. They don’t have automatic outs in their lineup. They have some guys hitting 5-6-7-8 that put together good at-bats. They’re solid across the board. I like their team. Nobody you can sleep on. They have a really clear identity collectively.

“(Mangum has) just been so consistent. A lot of times freshmen get to May and they get a little tired or come down to earth, but he has not lost a bit of steam. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He was a really tough out every at-bat, he didn’t give an at-bat away. I don’t think he’s a fluke. I think he’s a real player. I was glad to see him get some postseason recognition, a lot of times freshmen don’t get that just because he’s a freshman.

“Robson is probably above-average in center field—he really runs things down. They’re gritty, gutty in the infield. I don’t want to take anything away from their ability—they just make plays consistently. They play catch. Balls that are hit that are supposed to be outs generally are outs. I will tip my cap to Robson in center field. He can catch doubles and triples in the gap.

“They do have some (pitching) depth, but those starters have done a good job pitching into the seventh inning or deeper. Nobody wants to go to the ‘pen in the fifth inning. Hudson and Sexton have done such a good job, and Houston has come on. Those guys are pitching deep. When you can bring relievers in and they only have to get two or three outs, it makes the biggest difference. If you’re chasing a run or two in the ninth, you’re not screwed. But those guys have only had to get one or two outs lately. That’s such a big difference for relievers.”

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