Super Regional Capsules, Part 2

Scouting reports on the series that begin on Saturday

College coaches break down the super-regional teams. Sources were given anonymity in exchange for their candor. All times are Eastern. Rankings indicate national seeds.

Coastal Carolina (50-12) at No. 2 North Carolina (49-12)
Saturday: Noon (ESPNU)
Sunday: 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
Monday: 12:30p.m/7 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)

Coastal Carolina (50-12)
Coach (Record with school): Gary Gilmore (507-275).
CWS History: Never been to Omaha.
CWS Route: Won Conway regional in three games, beating East Carolina in the final.
C Dock Doyle Jr. .365/.436/.681 16 72 4
1B Adam Rice So. .341/.411/.502 8 43 13
2B Rico Noel Fr. .248/.337/.342 2 26 16
3B Scott Woodward Fr. .368/.539/.541 7 45 42
SS Tyler Bortnick Jr. .340/.455/.493 6 38 8
LF Chance Gilmore So. .222/.355/.413 5 26 10
CF David Sappelt Jr. .355/.422/.649 18 67 7
RF Tommy Baldridge Sr. .352/.435/.559 10 44 2
DH David Anderson Jr. .345/.396/.559 20 59 1
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
RHP Nick McCully So. 10-2 3.09 87 72-26
RHP Bobby Gagg Jr. 6-2 3.33 81 53-8
LHP Cody Wheeler Fr. 6-0 5.21 65 65-45
RHP Pete Andrelczyk Jr. 6-1 (9 sv) 3.40 45 56-11


David Sappelt
"I think the key is you've got to get to them early, because they're really tough when they have it set up in the bullpen with (senior righthander) Joey Haug. (He's) a breaking ball guy, throws a lot of breaking balls and is a bulldog, then (they) follow him with Andrelczyk, he's 92-94, and he has about an 88 mph slider, he's a power arm. So they're pretty good from about the sixth inning on. Their best pitcher is probably Nick McCully, he's 88-92 with a good slider, he throws strikes and he's good. They've got Bobby Gagg, a big-time strike-thrower and competitor, but McCully's their best guy. We didn't have a problem with Gagg or Wheeler, and (righty) David Anderson doesn't strike guys out. (Junior righty) Austin Fleet, we hit him hard, but with their big guys they have in the pen, if they do have the lead or are one behind or tied, they'll probably bring in Haug in the fifth or sixth.

"They're offensive too. They've got some power, they've got some speed. They've got a solid catcher, and probably six or seven guys in that lineup that can hit. The Woodward kid is the fastest guy we've faced all year. He gets on base, either with an HBP or walks, then all of a sudden he's standing on second base. Then come the three big guys: Sappelt, Baldrige and Anderson are their main power guys, along with Dock Doyle. We had better success against them with our lefthanders. They're a free-swinging deal, especially David Sappelt. He's a guy that we first threw him a ton of breaking balls, and he didn't hit us very well, so we just kept throwing them. David Anderson is a right-center-field power guy, you've got to jam him up, he wants to get extension. But he got hot late in the year, hit close to 20 homers. It's a big swing so you might be able to get in on him. Woodward stands up on the plate. You want to throw him in because he bars out his arm, but then you hit him, and he steals second and third. The guy had a really good year, and he can hit a little bit too. Him and Dock Doyle and Sappelt are their top three guys.

"They're just OK defensively. They're steady but they're not spectacular. Baldridge had a knee injury so he's a little slow out there in the outfield. Sappelt can catch the ball and has a good arm. Woodward can come in on the bunt, and he's really quick. Doyle's a hard-nosed kid. He's kind of lean and thin for a catcher, but he's lefthanded and can throw guys out; I could see him being a pretty good draft pick. He looked like a leader, wanted to win. He's very vocal sometimes, and he threw guys out this year too. They're average defensively.

"I know North Carolina's got really good pitching, so I would think the bigger the park, the more advantageous for North Carolina. They haven't played the schedule North Carolina has played, but they played some good midweek games and they beat those guys earlier this year. Obviously going in North Carolina's the favorite, but maybe this is the year Coastal can break through. They've done a really good job."

North Carolina (49-12)
Coach (Record with school): Mike Fox (447-188-1).
CWS History: Seven trips to Omaha, last in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Cary regional in three games, beating UNC Wilmington in the final.
C Tim Federowicz Jr. .304/.376/.443 4 39 1
1B Dustin Ackley So. .405/.495/.599 7 47 18
2B Kyle Seager So. .357/.426/.622 9 70 5
3B Chad Flack Sr. .279/.354/.429 6 43 12
SS Ryan Graepel So. .240/.322/.293 0 6 1
LF Kyle Shelton Sr. .328/.389/.510 4 37 4
CF Seth Williams Sr. .309/.427/.522 7 38 3
RF Tim Fedroff Sr. .402/.468/.654 12 67 13
DH Garrett Gore Jr. .277/.310/.362 2 35 4
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
RHP Alex White So. 9-3 2.66 81 95-37
RHP Adam Warren Jr. 8-1 4.42 71 65-36
RHP Matt Harvey Fr. 7-2 2.52 60 74-44
RHP Rob Wooten Sr. 6-2 (4sv) 1.93 51 62-23


Dustin Ackley
"I think top to bottom, they're one of the best teams in the country. If not for Miami—I think Miami has a legit chance to win a national championship—but North Carolina is right there. North Carolina has very good offense one through nine, not what Miami's is, but solid. And their arms—that's where they may end up beating Miami, because they're a little deeper on the mound. Miami uses its bullpen very well with (Kyle) Bellamy and (Carlos) Gutierrez, but if you can get to them in the sixth or seventh, they could be in some trouble. If White or Warren don't get to the sixth or seventh, they've got guys in the middle who can get you to the end. I have to give all the credit to their coaching staff. We were playing Harvey, as soon as he got into trouble, they got (lefthander Brian) Moran up and he's dealing, and you've got (righty Colin) Bates and Wooten. So they've got enough arms in case their starter doesn't go deep into the games. (Righty Tyler) Trice really good too. Everybody they threw against us was legit—they had very good pitching.

"I think with White, his velocity is so good, 94-96, and even in the conference tournament, he was very wild, but he settled down against Virginia, and the next thing you know they only have three hits, three runs going into the seventh. Virginia had him on the ropes, but next thing you know you look up and it's the seventh inning and he's settled down. Harvey and Warren are up and down. Harvey is a typical freshman, he can give you a good outing, but you're on pins and needles, you don't know what you'll get. That's where their bullpen comes in if he gets in trouble. Warren is a guy you can get to, little funky arm action, not overpowering, but he's got a decent breaking ball. He'll be 87-91 with a little breaking ball. Sometimes he doesn't have great command; if you're patient with him, he'll walk you a little bit.

"Seager absolutely killed us. Ackley does a good job, he's an unorthodox-looking kid, but he can absolutely hit and absolutely run, he starts that thing off. Fedroff is a legit No. 3 hitter in the ACC; he's got a very good approach and power gap to gap. Seager was hitting balls out to left field, pulling balls out to right field. Chad Flack has been up and down but has some experience, same with Garrett Gore. They've got some experience to help them get through that lineup. If you rank the top three lineups in our conference, I think you still go Miami, Floria State and then North Carolina, but it's not a bad lineup by any means, it's a very good lineup. Flack, you can get him with a breaking ball. He will hit a mistake, but he's also there for the heroics, will get the big hit for them, like he did against Alabama two years ago. You can get him out with a good breaking ball, but if you hang one or leave one out over the plate, he can hurt you a little bit.

"From a pitching standpoint, you have to make sure Ackley doesn't get on base, and make sure Seager and Fedroff don't hurt you. The other guys—Federowicz, Flack, Shelton—they don't scare you as much. If you can contain those three sophomores, you'll be OK. They don't give up a lot of runs, so you've got to scrap and get your runs when you can. If you can get them early, that's going to help you. Get to those starters early and get a lead—it's a lot easier to play with a lead on those guys."

Texas A&M (46-17) at Rice (45-13)
Saturday: 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sunday: 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Monday: 12:30 p.m./7 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)

Texas A&M (46-17)
Coach (Record with school): Rob Childress (119-66).
CWS History: Four trips to Omaha, last in 1999.
CWS Route: Won College Station regional in four games, beating Houston in the final.
C Kevin Gonzalez Fr. .260/.343/.353 3 28 1
1B Luke Anders Jr. .344/.480/.660 15 56 3
2B Blake Stouffer Sr. .256/.395/.379 5 37 16
3B Dane Carter Sr. .379/.452/.602 8 60 15
SS Jose Duran Jr. .382/.440/.558 6 67 14
LF Brodie Greene So. .283/.364/.457 4 26 6
CF Kyle Colligan Jr. .318/.418/.568 14 38 12
RF Brian Ruggiano Jr. .319/.385/.523 9 45 3
DH Darby Brown Sr. .338/.413/.572 12 68 2
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
RHP Barret Loux Fr. 5-2 4.27 84 80-34
LHP Brooks Raley Fr. 7-2 4.33 89 67-25
RHP Clayton Ehlert So. 6-2 3.41 68 48-10
RHP Travis Starling So. 8-1 (9 sv) 3.55 46 39-14


Blake Stouffer
"I like their team. They definitely run bases. They've got guys like Carter, older guys, then Stouffer, who hasn't had the greatest year but is a threat. Ruggiano is an older guy who knows how to play. They have some lefthanded hitters, Luke Anders and Darby Brown, who can hurt you if you bring in righthanded pitchers. I just think they stubbed their toe down the stretch, but I like their club. I like the guys they put on the mound, those guys compete. Raley is a big-time competitor for a young kid. Their guys like to play behind him because he's a fighter. Raley can move his fastball in and out, and he had feel for a changeup when we saw him. I'm not comparing him to Aaron Crow, but when guys get on and they're in scoring position, that son of a buck gets out of it. He makes the right pitches at the right time. That's impressive for a freshman. Loux, he's been good all year long. He's going to be a good one. He's probably got a lot more in there. He was throwing a fastball, a cutter, sometimes a two-seamer that would run in on our hands against righthanded hitters. He got in trouble when he sometimes tried to overpower us and stuff straightened out. We didn't see a bunch of changeups from him, but I heard he's throwing it more. He was arm-side run with his fastball and a good slider.

"I really like Starling. (Righthanded reliever Kyle) Thebeau's been there, he's been through the wars and has good stuff. And Starling's really good. We couldn't get any patterns on him. He'll throw fastball in, fastball away, changeup in, changeup away. A&M is one of the clubs that will throw a right-on-right changeup, left-on-left changeup—they're not afraid to do it. I like their depth, and when you get guys on, they'll change the game a little bit, they'll pick, they'll pick, they'll step off, they'll call time. they'll slow it down and mess with your rhythm.

"(Offensively), they're a pressure club. They'll run anytime, anywhere. They'll run first and second, no outs, one out, two outs, they don't care. They're going to run. And then they've got some guys with some thunder in the middle that can hurt you. Everybody forgets about Dane Carter, the little third baseman. He stands in there like a big dog. He's about 5-8, 5-9, but when he loads up, he's going to put a hurt on something. Colligan leading off is a threat if he gets on. Then they've got Duran, the Big 12 player of the year, then Carter, then if you're righthanded it's Anders and Darby Brown running in there. It's not an easy deal, that's for sure.

"I think to beat A&M, you have to beat them at their own game. A&M wants to get up on you early. They want to get a three-, four-, five-run lead, and then they'll just keep fast-breaking you. If you can do that to them, that slows them down a little bit. They're not as free to do some hit-and-running and squeezes and stuff like that. So I think you have to jump on them early. I think you have to give the nod to Rice out of the 'pen, even though I like Starling and Thebeau. Plus Rice is at home. But if that wind shifts to where it's blowing out, A&M can do some damage.

"They've got a real good club. It'll be a great matchup with Rice. I think A&M's more offensive than Rice is. They can do more offensively. Because A&M's had such a good offensive year, people might take their pitching for granted, but they've got good pitching too."

Rice (45-13)
Coach (Record with school): Wayne Graham (785-297).
CWS History: Six trips to Omaha, last in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Houston regional in three games, beating Texas in the final.
C Adam Zornes Jr. .306/.393/.524 11 52 2
1B J.P. Padron Sr. .355/.437/.477 5 40 7
2B Jimmy Comerota So. .293/.373/.337 0 27 11
3B Diego Seastrunk So. .363/.404/.513 5 56 1
SS Rick Hague Fr. .346/.407/.558 8 48 4
LF Aaron Luna Jr. .319/.473/.512 9 52 12
CF Jared Gayhart Jr. .318/.446/.493 6 45 10
RF Chad Mozingo Fr. .298/.382/.385 2 30 4
DH Derek Myers Sr. .234/.355/.416 3 16 2
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
RHP Ryan Berry So. 8-4 3.00 96 84-26
RHP Chris Kelley Sr. 5-1 3.28 68 59-19
RHP Mike Ojala
So. 5-0 4.41 51 60-17
LHP Cole St.Clair Sr. 9-2 (5 sv) 2.65 54 60-16


Cole St.Clair
"What I like about Rice is they're a classic Wayne Graham club: hard-nosed baseball, tougher than nails. Wayne's always going to have them like that. They have a very veteran club that can really pitch. At the back end with St.Clair they've got a good one. Their Sunday starter is as good as most Friday night guys. They have veterans on the corners and they've got that great freshman at short, Hague—I like him a lot. Defensively he made every play, but offensively, he's that guy. You try to pitch around Padron or Seastrunk, but then you run into this kid. All of a sudden he's got a double into the gap or turns on the ball and it's a two-run homer. And he makes the plays in the middle. I think he's a hard-nosed kid, just watching him.

"Padron is an RBI guy, tough guy to pitch to, taxes your pitching staff. Seastrunk, you can't make a mistake to him, he'll make you pay. You just can't leave a ball over the plate. Their lineup isn't as potent as some they've had, but they're balanced enough, and that shortstop helped them do that. If you don't do a good job of stopping it they'll run on you. They're not locked into beating you with the long ball, they'll gadget a little bit and steal a run from you.

"Defensively they're very sound. Zornes played really well against us behind the plate. They're good in the outfield, very solid. Berry on Friday nights is hard. Him and Ojala have good 12-to-6 breakers, change-the-plane type pitches, that's not easy to deal with. Ojala might have the best stuff of all those guys, even better than Berry. He's he's 90-92 with a very tight breaking ball, maybe even more depth than what Berry had. He's good, had good mound presence too. Kelley didn't have his best stuff against us.

"Here's the way I feel about their bullpen: They walked more guys against us than they had. But they made a pitch when they had to make a pitch, we could never stretch the lead. So is it as talented as it has been in recent years? Maybe not. Is it competitive, is it good enough? Yes it is. (Righthander Bryan) Price was 90-94 with a slider, and he sinks his fastball. They pitch, so you can't give up a bunch."

UC Irvine (41-16) at No. 7 LSU (46-16-1)
Saturday: 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sunday: 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Monday: 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
UC Irvine (41-16)
Coach (Record with school): Mike Gillespie (41-16).
CWS History: One trip to Omaha, in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Lincoln regional in three games, beating Oral Roberts in the final.
C Francis Larson So. .320/.373/.500 7 40 5
1B Jeff Cusick So. .347/.446/.456 0 26 4
2B Casey Stevenson So. .300/.380/.392 3 14 1
3B Eric Deragisch Jr. .297/.355/.341 0 14 6
SS Ben Orloff Jr. .344/.444/.423 0 26 19
LF Dillon Bell So. .312/.368/.449 4 27 2
CF Ollie Linton Jr. .323/.420/.414 4 35 39
RF Sean Madigan So. .333/.419/.459 1 21 6
DH Tony Asaro Jr. .326/.383/.568 4 19 0
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
RHP Scott Gorgen Jr. 11-3 2.31 109 115-36
RHP Bryce Stowell So. 8-2 2.77 87 101-35
LHP Daniel Bibona So. 9-3 3.03 95 89-20
RHP Eric Pettis So. 4-2 (17 sv) 1.65 43 50-17


Scott Gorgen
"Irvine does have a couple of those guys that can dominate you a little bit. Obviously they have one of the best guys in the Big West in Gorgen. He's always going to give you a chance to win, and it seems like even when he's a little off, he still only gives up two or three runs. Their staff throws strikes, they're not going to walk you. Orloff is a great shortstop—he didn't make an error in conference play. They're a team that has to work just like Fullerton with the short game, the hit and run, getting guys over to score runs. I look at Irvine and Fullerton as teams that will get it done with pitching and defense and find ways to score runs.

"All indications to me are they're just going to keep pitching like they usually do against LSU. (The Tigers) won't be able to hit it out of the ballpark at will like maybe they have been able to. But Irvine is going to pitch. Pitching and defense, they bring those things to the ballpark every time. So I think they'll be able to neutralize offenses a little bit. But teams that pitch, you still have to score some runs.

"There's not a better one-two punch than Linton and Orloff. To me their offense goes as those two guys go. If they get going, they'll be all right, because everyone feeds off it. There's probably not a better leadoff guy in the country than Linton. He'll get on base, you'll get him down 0-2 and try to do something with him and he'll hit that 0-2 pitch somewhere. He's solid, and then when you get on base, you know he's going to run. You're concerned about it, your pitcher knows about it, and their next guy will get better pitches to hit because he's up there. Orloff's great at the short game. For me he's a better hit-and-run guy than a bunt guy. He's very good at all the things you want a No. 2 hitter to be good at. Bell in the middle there is a very good hitter and is going to be very good. He's a little bit young so he's got some holes where you can pitch to him a little bit. But he's a solid middle guy. The rest are execute-type guys who can do a good job, nothing overwhelming about them. They're going to get the job done.

"Bibona is very good, he's just a lefthander who has a lot of deception in his delivery and knows how to pitch. I think a lot of teams will look at him out on the mound and say, 'We're going to hit this guy,' then seven innings later they're wondering how'd that guy do that? They're just very solid on the mound, all those guys. Pettis comes in and throws a really heavy, sinking ball and gets ground ball outs. (Righthanded reliever Christian) Bergmann is good, he does feature that running, sinking fastball.

"They're going to play good defense. I think the second baseman has changed a little bit for them as the year has gone on, they've also looked for offense at that position. They've gone to Stevenson now. In that lineup, I felt like there were some younger guys who were going to be very good down the road who weren't quite there yet. Stevenson, Bell, (infielder Ryan) Fisher, who I thought had a chance to be a very good player. Cusick is a very good hitter in the middle of that lineup. Now that he's back (from injury), that makes them a little more solid."

Louisiana State (46-16-1)
Coach (Record with school): Paul Mainieri (75-42-2).
CWS History: 13 trips to Omaha, last in 2004.
CWS Route: Won Baton Rouge regional in three games, beating Southern Mississippi in the final.
C Micah Gibbs Fr. .306/.390/.408 1 30 2
1B Matt Clark Jr. .340/.433/.770 25 58 1
2B Ryan Schimpf So. .304/.408/.551 10 48 16
3B Mike Hollander Sr. .307/.385/.472 5 42 9
SS D.J. LeMahieu Fr. .336/.386/.455 5 38 10
LF Jared Mitchell So. .295/.360/.477 5 26 13
CF Leon Landry Fr. .287/.322/.467 5 24 11
RF Derek Helenihi Jr. .303/.365/.427 3 41 11
DH Blake Dean So. .351/.432/.659 19 66 4
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
LHP Blake Martin Jr. 5-3 4.88 83 77-35
LHP Ryan Verdugo Jr. 9-2 3.81 87 79-33
RHP Jordan Brown Jr. 4-0 5.32 54 56-17
RHP Jared Bradford Sr. 10-4 (5 sv) 4.05 80 73-20


Blake Dean
"To win that many in a row (23), you have to be good and lucky and have all that mojo going, and they've got all that going right now. They're a good club, a very good offensive club with a nice mix of left and right and speed and power. It's very deep, and there's not an automatic out in the lineup. The kids in the bottom of the order are not as good as the kids in the middle, but you can't relax when you get to Nos. 7, 8, 9. Blake Dean has got to be the hottest hitter in the country right now. He is unconscious. He hit some home runs last year but has really come into his own with that part. He's a good hitter, he's balanced, doesn't miss a mistake very often. Clark has real power, but he's struck out a bunch, 56 times I think. He'll have a couple of bad swings, but when he runs into it, he gets all of it. For a while, he wasn't even playing against lefthanded pitching. At least for part of the year he wasn't putting good swings on lefthanded curveballs or lefthanded pitching. They just have eight or nine guys in the lineup that can get a hit. Dean and Clark are the two that you remember the most, but even guys like Helenihi, LeMahieu, Hollander's just an older scrappy kid, Mitchell and Landry—there's a lot of depth throughout the lineup.

"Verdugo and Bradford are good, but LSU doesn't really have the buzz-saw that a lot of teams have that are still playing right now. They don't have a guy who can throw 96 or an automatic win on Friday. But they have a lot of guys who throw strikes and a lot of different looks out of the bullpen. Bradford has been really impressive whether he's starting or in relief. With Martin and Verdugo pitching so well the last four to six weeks it has allowed Bradford to pitch at the end of games and be very effective. (Righthanded reliever Louis) Coleman kind of struggled two years ago, was better last year, but he has been throwing well this year. Jordan Brown is just a solid college pitcher. Not to downplay those three guys, but they're just solid college guys, they all throw strikes, they mix it up, but none of them have big-time swing-and-miss pitches or big time velocity. But if you just throw strikes, play good defense and bang it around a bit, you'll have a good chance to score more than other team, which they do.

"They're solid defensively. Hollander's just a good, scrappy older kid, been through the league for three years. I would say he's probably an above-average defender over there. LeMahieu's had a nice year at shortstop, especially for a freshman. Schimpf at second base has been solid. Clark is a little heavy-footed. (First baseman/catcher Sean) Ochinko came in as a catcher; those guys (at first) did fine when we played them, but I would imagine Irvine's going to pressure those guys with the push bunt. Gibbs is solid. He's a stocky, strong-bodied freshman. He's pretty much caught every game. A lot of times we see freshmen play that much and they wear down, but he's a solid receiver, solid thrower. I'm sure he'll get tested this weekend, but he was just fine against us.

"You've got to pitch to beat them. That's the strength of their club is the offensive part of the game. You've got to hold them to four or five runs, you can't let them bang it around like they have been. That'll be an interesting matchup because they have two totally different styles of play. Irvine's the California short game-type deal, they're going to be playing in Alex Box Stadium, where the ball travels well—it's a hitter's ballpark. LSU definitely has more power, so Irvine will definitely have to keep the ball in the yard. It's hard to pick against a team that's won 23 in a row and is playing at home. I like LSU. They're a good team and hot—there's a lot to like."

Fresno State (40-28) at No. 3 Arizona State (48-11)
Saturday: 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sunday: 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Monday: 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Fresno State (40-28)
Coach (Record with school): Mike Batesole (212-162).
CWS History: Three trips to Omaha, last in 1991.
CWS Route: Won Long Beach regional in four games, beating San Diego in the final.
C Danny Grubb Jr. .156/.288/.195 0 10 1
1B Alan Ahmady So. .382/.463/.590 12 81 1
2B Erik Wetzel Jr. .361/.453/.500 6 33 10
3B Tommy Mendonca So. .278/.354/.475 14 55 6
SS Danny Muno Fr. .329/.438/.411 2 22 10
LF Steve Susdorf Sr. .342/.440/.573 10 77 13
CF Gavin Hedstrom Jr. .311/.341/.435 6 26 4
RF Steve Detwiler So. .267/.396/.431 8 46 4
DH Jake Johnson Fr. .216/.259/.333 1 5 0
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
LHP Justin Wilson Jr. 7-4 4.17 99 83-53
RHP Clayton Allison Sr. 3-5 3.74 86 47-17
RHP Justin Miller Jr. 6-3 4.72 74 70-43
RHP Brandon Burke Sr. 4-5 (11 sv) 3.08 64 37-18


Justin Wilson
"They're swinging the bats real well. They weren't even close to that early in the year. I think that they really got on a roll at the end. Them playing in their conference tournament, they really gelled as a team. Wilson was really good, anywhere from 89-93, pounding the strike zone. Offensively, they're really coming alive. They're putting the ball in play, they all believe. Wetzel and Susdorf really make them go. The thing that I think has changed them is their chemistry. Once Muno got in the lineup every day, their team changed a little bit. He's made 23 errors, so it's not like he totally stabilizes the infield. But he's a competitive out, he's not going to be a strikeout necessarily, and he's gotten some big hits. He balances them out a bit in that he can also hit lefthanded. They were pretty righthanded.

"For some reason they look different than they did early. Early they struggled with the fastball away, struggled with offspeed. Maybe they're still similar to that a little bit, they struggled with Kyle Blair—even though he has enough fastball. He's more offspeed. He has the fastball, but doesn't have to throw the fastball. Mendonca really struggled early (and leads the nation in strikeouts), but he's up to .280, so he's been swinging real well. Susdorf and Muno have been real good for them, Hedstrom got a couple big hits this week. They believe in themselves.

"I think it's rough for them. I just think ASU plays so well at home. Even if you match up well with ASU, I think it's hard to pick anybody against them."

Arizona State (48-11)
Coach (Record with school): Pat Murphy (529-257).
CWS History: 20 trips to Omaha, last in 2007.
CWS Route: Won Tempe regional in three games, beating Oklahoma in the final.
C Petey Paramore Jr. .361/.500/.515 7 49 4
1B Ike Davis Jr. .394/.468/.778 16 73 5
2B Raoul Torrez So. .333/.424/.474 2 34 12
3B Brett Wallace Jr. .414/.531/.762 21 81 16
SS Greg Bordes Jr. .272/.366/.333 0 19 1
LF Ryan Sontag Sr. .390/.482/.526 4 36 6
CF Jason Kipnis So. .363/.484/.677 14 69 24
RF Matt Newman Fr. .321/.516/.415 1 26 2
DH Kiel Roling Jr. .344/.441/.566 8 50 5
Pos. Name Yr. W-L ERA IP K-BB
RHP Mike Leake So. 10-2 3.12 112 100-18
LHP Josh Satow Sr. 9-3 4.58 90 71-45
RHP Seth Blair Fr. 4-2 7.00 54 33-22
RHP Tommy Rafferty Sr. 12-0 (4 sv) 3.65 69 65-17


Brett Wallace
"Brett Wallace has been on fire all year, Davis has been on fire all year. The biggest difference for them this year is Kipnis. He brings a lot, he adds speed along with power, and he adds another big bat at the start of their lineup, which allows them to do a lot of things before Ike and Brett. Kipnis seems to be on base all the time; he's patient at the plate, so he'll walk. He had about 24 stolen bases. He can just as easily drag or push as hit a homer, so he causes you a lot of problems, especially with how hot that field plays. Paramore just adds that third special bat in the middle of that lineup, which is tough to deal with. Petey takes a walk, he's patient at the plate, and that's what they do up and down their lineup. They have a tremendous amount of power, but they take a walk, with their big bangers too. You can't really get them to chase because they don't chase, so that forces you to come into the zone. If you don't have plus lefthanded pitching and strikeout stuff, you're in trouble. (Fresno State lefty Justin) Wilson could give them trouble a little bit, but I still give the advantage to ASU. They're too tough and they're too locked in. ASU can win with the big ball, but they can also manufacture runs, bunt, run, push. And the field plays to their strengths—it's a very, very offensive yard, and it plays to their strengths. I think they're a much different team on the road than they are at home. If this was in a neutral site, it would be a different story. But at home, I would be surprised if A-State doesn't win both games and be done.

"And that doesn't take anything away from Fresno, but that's how good ASU is. They're going to throw Leake and Satow those first two games. I think Leake just competes, he really, really competes. I don't think it's a matter of his stuff as much as his competitive nature. You have to force Leake to get the ball elevated, because otherwise you'll pound it into the ground, because he sinks it in on you. It makes it easy on him when he knows he's going to get six runs, so he can make a couple of mistakes, and he's fearless in the strike zone. With Josh, you have to know you're going to get a changeup, buy into that you're going to get a changeup, and you have to go the other way. The fastball, you can still fight it off even if you're expecting changeup, and the breaking ball is just a setup pitch. I think lefties might have more success against Josh than righthanded hitters. He really likes to pitch to the arm side, not nearly as much to the glove side. And if you can get into their pen early, I think their pen is a little bit vulnerable. Rafferty's been good all year, (righthander Reyes) Dorado was banged up late. (Righthander Stephen) Sauer's been up and down. Davis has been a guy for them at the end, and he pitched an inning in the regional.

"I think (stabilizing the middle infield) is one of the reasons you saw Bordes take over at short (for Marcel Champagnie). Not many teams could sit a guy hitting .375 for an extended period of time for a guy hitting .260. Bordes is steady defensively. That's what they needed, someone steady. I wouldn't say Marcel's terrible (defensively), he has a cannon for an arm, and some of his errors were on the throws. Bordes just kind of stabilized the infield. They just need a guy who can field it and throw across and move on, but don't need to extend innings. That's what Torrez is: nothing flashy, but steady. Newman is real good in the outfield, Kipnis and Sontag are good out there. They're way more athletic in the outfield (than they were last year). Kipnis is really good. As an all-around player, he's just really good. And it allows Roling to be a DH. Paramore's fine behind the plate, Davis is good at first, Wallace is way better than anybody thought he'd be at third. They threw strikes and really hit."