Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nashville regional preview

The teams
* No. 1 seed Vanderbilt (41-18). 2. Oregon (42-18). 3. Clemson (36-23). 4. Xavier (29-27)

* Vanderbilt is making its 13th NCAA appearance, including its ninth straight under coach Tim Corbin's direction.

* Oregon is making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance, including third straight.

* Clemson is making its 39th NCAA appearance - fifth-most all-time. The Tigers have been in the tournament 27 of the last 28 seasons.

* Xavier is making the second appearance in program history. The other time was in 2009 as the Atlantic 10 Conference champion.

Why Vanderbilt might win
* Fundamentals -- Corbin's teams do the little things right and exploit weaknesses they can expose in an opponent.

* Run 'em ragged -- The Commodores love to steal bases, take the extra base when available and move runners into scoring position with sacrifices.

* Pitching -- Starters; middle relievers; closer; Vanderbilt has it all.

Why Vanderbilt might lose
* Vulnerable Beede -- Baseball America rates Tyler Beede as the No. 6 right-handed pitcher available for the MLB draft and projects him as a mid-first-round selection. But he has a 7-7 record and a 3.49 ERA. He's also walked 41 and hit 12 in 90 1/3 innings. So many free passes are a recipe for disaster.

Why Oregon might win
* Defense -- The Ducks have committed 55 errors, 30 fewer than Clemson. Oregon also has thrown out 25 of 55 runners attempting to steal. Both Vanderbilt and Clemson place emphasis on their base running. Oregon may be able to negate it.

* Pitching -- A combination of solid starters and a deep bullpen usually bodes well come NCAA Tournament time. Oregon fills the bill.

Why Oregon might lose
* Offense -- Oregon is batting .259 as a team. That's not too hot even in what's a dead ball era for the college game.. 

Why Clemson might win
* Pitching --Starters Matthew Crownover and Daniel Gossett have been lights-out for most of the season. Clate Schmidt and Zack Erwin have bounced back and forth between starting and relief as needrf and both have had more good outings than bad. Closer Matt Campbell has been dependable when called upon.

* It ain't Columbia -- The Tigers certainly wouldn't have been intimidated if they had been sent to Columbia, but their recent struggles against South Carolina might have been in the back of their minds if they had been assigned there  and something went wrong early. There's no 500-pound Gamecock in the room in Nashville. 

Why Clemson might lose
* Defense -- The Tigers have committed 85 errors, the most of the four teams in the regionals, and many have come back to bite them.

Why Xavier might win
* Outside of the other three teams being declared ineligible at the last minute, I'm still looking.

Why Xavier might lose
* The Musketeers got an NCAA bid by winning the Big East Tournament. Their pitching doesn't seem likely to be able to hold up in a regional for four days against three quality teams.

* Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin was an assistant coach under Jack Leggett at Clemson from 1994-2002.

The schedule (all games on ESPN3):
Game 1: Clemson vs. Oregon, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Old Dominion vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. 
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 8 p.m.
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 6; Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 8 p.m.
Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner (if both teams have one loss), 7 p.m.

Palmetto State Baseball prediction: Vanderbilt advances to a super regional, but don't count out Oregon or Clemson because of their pitching. Clemson could steal the show if it continues to get starting pitching like it has in recent weeks.

Next: Gainesville regional (College of Charleston)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for write up and a quick synopsis of the teams.

Vanderbilt should win I agree, as I think they're the strongest team but I don't feel using batting average as the determination to say Oregon won't win is misleading. They actually have a higher OBP then both Vandy and Clemson and scored more runs on the season, so they produce runs, just go about it in a different way.

For me, the reason I'd say Oregon won't win is due to losing Sat/Sun starters Irvin and Krook. That's really affected bullpen depth as both Gold and whoever Sunday starter is (Tessar or Paddon), should be coming out of bullpen. Thorpe is legit, but then it drops off after that.

Anyway, should be fun and I'm hoping for some competitive games.

Rudy Jones said...

Thanks! You've given me some insight on the pitching situation.