College Baseball Chat: June 5

Q:  Chip from Alaska asks:
Well the 'Eaters knocked off the #4 seed Texas and match up real favorably with Wichita State. Even though I'm a UC Irvine alum, I was surprised how well Gorgen and Ethridge pitched. Do you think they think they can pull off two more W's against the Shockers? I wasn't too impressed with them in their regional. Zot Zot Zot baby!!!

Aaron Fitt: Sorry for the delay, everyone -- had to take a phone call. As for the Anteaters, I picked them to win next weekend because they're hot and they're very solid, but I'm a little concerned about the matchup. Wichita State has so many good lefthanded hitters and so much speed, that it helps to have lefthanded pitching against them, and Irvine's top guys are righties. The Shockers also have an edge playing at home on the turf, although Irvine isn't afraid to run, either. That's one of the most interesting super-regionals, in my mind. Check back later this week for full scouting reports on both teams, as well as the other 14 super-regional participants.

 Q:  Ryan Luckie from Greenville, SC asks:
Well I've been pretty accpeting of the selections. Im not going to accuse, vent, or throw out conspiracy theories. I think MSU was not-undeserving of a super regional (hey, they beat FSU), but I felt that Clemson was, perhaps, more deserving. What are your thoughts on what appeared to be a bit of a coin flip decision?

Aaron Fitt: I agree with you. I think you can make a case for Mississippi State to host it, but I think Clemson was more deserving, because the Tigers have been the better team down the stretch (they didn't go 0-2 in their conference tournament), they've got a higher RPI, and heck, Clemson has beaten FSU three times this year, MSU has done it just twice. John Manuel said it in the podcast today, and I agree with him: I think the Bulldogs are hosting because their AD is the chairman of the committee. And that's a shame, but that's just how it goes, I guess.

 Q:  Ty from San Diego asks:
Is ASU now the favorite to win it all the way they have been playing the last few weeks?

Aaron Fitt: Now that I've gone down with the Vanderbilt ship, I'm going to swim back to the surface and take Arizona State and North Carolina in the championship series. It's a toss-up who wins from there, but I'm leaning ever so slightly toward ASU right now.

 Q:  Paul from Newport Beach, CA asks:
Aaron ā€“ what two teams surprised you that made it into the final 16? Now it's down to the final 16 (OSU and UVA still to be decided) who do you think will make up the final 8 and will be in Omaha? FYI ā€“ Iā€™m a Fullerton Alum

Aaron Fitt: The biggest surprises to me were Michigan, Louisville, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State. Louisville is probably the least surprising to me, just because of all the veterans on that club and the solid pitching. My picks from here are Oregon State (very tough call), UCLA, Arizona State, UC Irvine (really tough one), Texas A&M (going for the upset), Louisville, Clemson and North Carolina. Of course, if you've seen my bracket, you'd know that picks don't mean much this year. What a crazy, wonderful year for college baseball.

 Q:  Rob from Chicago asks:
The biggest surprise of the Nashville regional was- (a) David Price giving up the GW HR to a freshman PH who was hitting .188 with 1 HR. (b) Pedro Alvarez going just 5-20 with only 3 RBI in 5 games. (c) Vandy losing.

Aaron Fitt: All of the above. Wow.

 Q:  Bertram from Taiwan asks:
What Super-Regional matchup are you most excited about? I cannot wait for the battle of the Carolinas. The way both teams are hitting right now there should be a ton of runs scored. Do you think the S. Carolina bats (especially Smoak who had a great regional) can stay hot and pull the upset?

Aaron Fitt: I am definitely excited about that UNC-USC matchup, and I'll probably be at Boshamer Stadium all weekend. And I expect this to last all weekend -- if this series didn't last three games, I'd be surprised. Two great offensive clubs, both have gotten strong pitching lately, plus all the history between these two programs -- it's going to be an awful lot of fun. What a way to send out the old Boshamer Stadium.

 Q:  Derek from Oxford, MS asks:
What chances are you giving Ole Miss to pull the upset of Arizona State, who on paper are unmatched? 3rd time is the charm, right? After devastating Game 3 losses to Texas and Miami in the past two super regionals, surely this is our time! Hotty Toddy, Go Rebels.

Aaron Fitt: Just looks like a very tough matchup for the Rebels, a pitching-dominated team that will have to go to a hitter's ballpark. The Sun Devils hammer all pitching, but especially righthanded pitching, and as good as Will Kline and Lance Lynn and Cody Satterwhite are, they have one thing in common -- they're all righthanded. I'm sure I won't make any friends in Mississippi by picking against the Rebels and Bulldogs, but at least I won't lose any, since I have none to lose...

 Q:  Pete from Corvallis (OR) asks:
Which confernce has had the strongest showing so far and which has been the biggest disappointment?

Aaron Fitt: This seems like a great time to mention that those amazing Oregon State Beavers have done it again. We've got a final in Charlottesville: OSU 7, Virginia 3. The Beavers will go back to super-regionals--at home, against Michigan. Unbelievable. Let this be a lesson to all of us: don't ever count Pat Casey's team out.

Aaron Fitt: So three of the four regional teams from the Pac-10 have moved on to supers, with just Arizona falling a bit short. That's an awfully good showing. The Big West got two of its four teams to supers, as Fullerton and Irvine pulled off upsets. So if you're counting, that's five teams from the West Coast winning regionals -- pretty impressive. The SEC had a good winning percentage too, as three of its five entrants won regionals. Not so the ACC (2-for-7).

 Q:  Alex from Pinehurst asks:
What a disheartening, gut wrenching loss the ECU Pirates suffered on Saturday night. Had there ace closer in with a 2 run 9th inning lead but could not hold it as he could not find the strike zone. But then again, the umpires did not help either side during the game as their where numerous missed and bad calls throughout.

Aaron Fitt: With two ejections (one from each side), I'm not surprised by the complaints about the umpiring. But I don't think that was a factor for Mathews in the ninth -- he even threw one ball behind a batter. Disappointing way for his season to end.

 Q:  Jerry from Madison, MS asks:
In your mind, do you think that there is anyway that Ole Miss upsets ASU?

Aaron Fitt: Sure, there's a way. Ole Miss is a very solid, experienced club with great pitching. Those arms will have to be at their very best.

 Q:  Jesse from Los Angeles asks:
Hi Aaron, OK, I've been asking your input on UCLA for the last 3 months. I don't think you have respoded because A) Thousands of people write you and B) UCLA was on the bubble. Well, UCLA is off to the super regional. They have had great pitching and defense, along with excelent hitting. These guys have been playing like a team on a mission (Omaha). Do they have a chance to win it all and why? Thank you

Aaron Fitt: UCLA has gotten hot at the right time, and it all starts with the starting pitching. Brummett-Brooks-Murphy is an outstanding 1-2-3, and the latter two have really come on down the stretch. I think the Bruins have more firepower than Fullerton and will win this super-regional. I think UCLA is capable of winning the whole enchilada because of its pitching, but I suspect this team is probably a year away.

 Q:  Drew from Ann Arbor, MI asks:
Hi, I was just wondering why the Super Regional would be at Oregon State if they won over Virginia even though Michigan is ranked and seeded higher?

Aaron Fitt: Simply put, Michigan's stadium isn't ready. That's too bad for the Wolverines, and it's too bad for the NCAA, which would just love to have a super-regional in Ann Arbor.

 Q:  AJ from Ann Arbor asks:
What shot do you give Michigan of advancing out of the Super Regional? And given the new stadium in Ann Arbor and a standardized opening day for all teams, do you think Rich Maloney can build Michigan into a competitive national power?

Aaron Fitt: I think Michigan has a great chance -- I really went back and forth on that Michigan-OSU matchup. Oregon State had to use everything it had to beat Virginia, and its arms are a little tired and won't have as much time as Michigan's to rest up. That is a very solid, balanced Michigan club with athleticism, speed, power, and solid starting pitching. I pick the Beavers only because I'm afraid to ever pick against Pat Casey again.

 Q:  Steve from Starkville asks:
With the way Mississippi State has bounced back from an 2-8 finish in the season to win the Tallahassee Regional, what do you think they have to do to win the super regional against Clemson? Do you like their chances to move on to the CWS?

Aaron Fitt: The Bulldogs got great starting pitching this weekend from Crosswhite, Pigott and Johnson, and Weatherford was strong in relief. They need all of those guys to come up big again, because Clemson's excellent pitching staff won't be easy to score against.

 Q:  Owls Really #1 from Washington DC asks:
Given the results this weekend, can you now look back and think that Vandy's run at No. 1 was misguided? Ever since their back-to-back mid-week loss to two unknowns (Libscomb and Middle Tenn) in mid-April, interspersed with single losses to conference teams, should they really have deserved their #1 status? Couple this with Rice's concurrent 20 game win streak and it seems that the real #1 team has been Rice for at least the past 4-6 weeks. Thoughts?

Aaron Fitt: Give me a break. You're telling me that because of two midweek losses in mid-April, Vanderbilt shouldn't have been No. 1 for the past nine weeks? Look, Vandy got beaten by a good Michigan club, but the Commodores should have won that regional. They did not, so it's clear they no longer deserve to be the No. 1 team. But you cannot seriously look back and say any team other than Vanderbilt deserved to be No. 1 over the last two months.

 Q:  Ryan from Katy,TX asks:
Joe Savery put up a gutsy performance without his best stuff against TCU, and Rice will really look to him as their veteran leader. How has he looked this season after coming off labrum surgery and how much can they rely on him?

Aaron Fitt: He didn't look great two weeks ago in the CUSA tournament, but reports are he was much better this weekend. Rice needs Savery to be at his best to make a run to the title, there's no question about that. He has been solid all year but not explosive, and he has struggled to put batters away. We'll see if he can build on his last start and put together a great stretch when it matters most.

Aaron Fitt: That's all I've got time for today -- check back shortly for our updated top 25 rankings. Enjoy the draft and the super-regionals, and I'll be back next week.