It's Super Regional weekend in college baseball. Here I preview the eight matchups and the final sixteen got here. I'll also provide my pick of who reaches the College World Series.
#4 Vanderbilt vs #13 East Carolina (Fri. & Sat. NoonET/9amPT ESPN2, Sun. (if nec.) 3ET/NoonPT)
These two teams both escaped their own regionals. Vanderbilt went a clean 3-0 as did the Pirates so these two teams both come in hot. The Commodores rode a dominant pitching staff allowing only three runs over their first two games, including a shutout. They also scored double digit runs in two of their three games. An eleven run effort from the pitching staff in the regional final against Georgia Tech is of some concern should Kumar Rocker or Jack Leiter blink in one of the first two games of this series. East Carolina will need their offense to continue hitting and their pitching to step up after a string of three games where they needed at least six runs to win.
#8 Texas Tech vs #9 Stanford (Fri. & Sat. 3ET/NoonPT ESPNU, Sun. (if nec.) 3ET/NoonPT)
Another matchup of national seeds in Lubbock. The Red Raiders went 3-0 at their regional while the Cardinal needed an extra game to dispatch UC Irvine in Palo Alto. The Texas Tech pitching staff gave up two, three, and two runs in each of their respective three wins. Meanwhile Stanford scored nine, twelve, and eleven in their three wins, four in their loss. They did concede eight runs in each of the last two games against Irvine, but Irvine also had an eighteen run outburst in the regional.
Pick: Texas Tech
#1 Arkansas vs NC State (Fri. 6ET/3PT ESPNU, Sat. 3ET/NoonPT ESPN2, Sun. (if nec.) 6ET/3PT)
Fayetteville will look to be electric again this weekend. The top-seeded Razorbacks staved off Nebraska after the Huskers forced a winner take all on Monday. The Wolfpack went into Ruston and gave hosts Louisiana Tech a couple of bad beats en route to a 3-0 regional. Arkansas pitching dominated after an early clunker against NJIT to open the regional. Kevin Kopps stars for the staff as a hardworking bullpen arm. He went seven shutout innings with eight punchouts to clinch the regional. This just two days after four scoreless innings of relief. NC State’s offense is hot, however, averaging 10.0 runs per their three games. They’ll look to play spoiler in Arkansas’ quest to be the first top seed to win the College World Series since Miami did it in 1999.
#5 Arizona vs #12 Ole Miss (Fri. 9ET/6PT ESPNU, Sat. 10ET/7PT, Sun. (if nec.) 9ET/6PT)
Another super regional, another PitchingNinja star. Arizona comes in with hot pitching after buzzsawing their way through the Tucson regional. The Rebels needed their offense to hold off Southern Miss in the Oxford Regional. Arizona’s regional included a complete game shutout by lefty Garrett Irvin against UCSB last Saturday. The Wildcats stifled UCSB again in the regional final winning 5-2. Doug Nikhazy is the big name for Ole Miss on the mound. The southpaw struck out sixteen Florida State hitters on Saturday in a win. Tim Elko hit two grand slams on the weekend, double the amount of intact ACLs he has.
Virginia vs Dallas Baptist (Sat. (ESPNU) & Sun. NoonET/9amPT, Mon. (if nec.) 1ET/10amPT ESPNU)
The only matchup between non-seeded teams will take place in Columbia, South Carolina rather than Dallas or Charlottesville. Virginia had to wait until Tuesday to defeat Old Dominion in the Columbia regional. Dallas Baptist took a win-or-go-home game against Oregon State in the Fort Worth regional. Virginia is the first team we’ve looked at who battled out of the loser bracket in their regional. They are on a four game win streak where, outside of a 13-8 win in the 0-1 game, they allowed no more than three runs per game. Dallas Baptist rode a steady offense to support a pitching corps which didn’t allow less than five runs in any of their four games.
#7 Mississippi St vs #10 Notre Dame (Sat. 2ET/11amPT ESPN, Sun. 6ET/3PT, Mon. (if nec.) 7ET/4PT)
The Bulldogs cruised through most of their regional going 3-0. The Fighting Irish went scorched earth in South Bend to earn the trip to Starkville. Mississippi State’s offense provided plenty to the tune of 10.0 runs per game. They needed a 10th inning to dispatch Campbell in the final, but their pitching has been solid enough with the run support. Notre Dame put up ten, twenty-six, and fourteen runs in their three games! They outscored their opponents 50-5. Not bad if I say so myself.
Pick: Notre Dame
#3 Tennessee vs LSU (Sat. 7ET/4PT ESPN2, Sun. 9ET/6PT, Mon. (if nec.) TBD)
An All-SEC matchup at the fourth SEC-hosted super regional (fifth if you count Columbia). The Volunteers provided the highlight of the weekend with a walkoff grand slam to kick off their regional in Knoxville. The Tigers survived a 0-1 start in Eugene and took two straight from the Ducks to win the regional. Tennessee’s pitching was solid in their two games against Liberty after surrendering eight in the opener to Wright State. LSU got the offense kicked into gear scoring nine runs twice in their final three games, including the regional final, after getting shutout in their postseason opener.
#2 Texas vs South Florida (Sat. (ESPNU) & Sun. 9ET/6PT, Mon. (if nec.) TBD)
The last super regional to get underway on the weekend is not without intrigue. The Longhorns bullied their way through the Austin regional. The Bulls were pushed to a decisive game against South Alabama in Gainesville. Texas outscored their three regional opponents 33-5. They got a trio of deep starts from their pitchers and are easily the hottest team not named Notre Dame. South Florida’s bats performed well, only being held down in their first battle with the surprising South Alabama pitching staff. They came back the next day and put up six in their clincher over the Jaguars.
(Those with no channels listed probably ESPN3 (free online with TV subscription) or TBD)