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College Baseball stays B1G: Previewing the Super Regionals

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

After a wild weekend of baseball, the Road to Omaha continues with Eight Super Regionals to determine the eight qualifiers for the CWS that will be held in Omaha at TD Ameritrade park starting on June 13th. As DJ wrote the other day, each Super Regional is a best of three format played at a host school (generally the higher ranking seed). With two Big Ten schools left, the Maryland Terrapins and Illinois Fighting Illini, we brought back - see: begged him to keep writing - Doc1028, and got ourselves a preview together. So, here's a look at the teams left in it, who should make it to Omaha, why that's probably not going to happen, and why you should care.

Charlottesville Super Regional

Maryland (42-22) at Virginia (37-22)

Game Times and TV viewing information:

TV: It’s all on ESPNU

Game 1: Friday, June 5 at 4pm EST

Game 2: Saturday, June 6 at 3pm EST

Game 3, if necessary: Sunday, June 7 at 3pm EST

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

Well, first off Maryland is the odds on favorite to win, posting better odds to advance to Omaha to advance in the last lines available from various betting sites.  Maryland will most likely start Mike Schawaryn on Friday, a first team All-American pitcher who is most likely going to go in the 1st or 2nd round when he enters the draft.  Maryland has also boasted great pitching deep into the rotation along with a pitching by committee approach from some long term relief pitchers when needed.  On the other side of the diamond, Virginia will most likely put Connor Jones on the mound as their ace, who tossed a gem last weekend against USC but otherwise youth and injuries has been the downfalls of Virginia this year.  Virginia has a bona fide ace in Nathan Kirby, but he was hurt towards the end of the year and it is up in the air whether he will pitch this weekend.  If he does, that could change things.  Maryland will try to keep to the game plan of playing small ball against Virginia and keeping a low scoring game, which boded well for them in the LA Regional.

Why does that seem like a really bad idea?

Virginia started the season off in the Top 5 for a reason.  If Kirby comes back, Virginia will have two legitimate top of the lineup aces to put on the mound against Maryland.  Maryland isn’t going to put up a ton of runs, so going against two studs and not being a huge offensive team in the first place is not exactly the combination for success.  Maryland lost to Virginia last year in this same super regional when they couldn’t put up enough runs on the board to keep up with Virginia’s offense and that could very well happen again.

Remember us Northerner’s don’t like baseball...why should we care?

From what I gather, you northerners like to win at all things, so bringing Maryland into the conference gives another legit threat to get into the CWS.  Illinois sort of lucked out with a Top 5 pick in their rotation to help them out, but getting depth was a major concern for B1G baseball.  Now that Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska are clicking as well, the B1G could actually become contenders in the CWS and stop sending exactly nobody there.

Gainesville Super Regional

Florida St. (44-19) at No. 4 Florida (47-16)

Game times and viewing information:

TV: It’s all on ESPN2, they’re both Top 10 teams

Game 1: Friday, June 5 at 7:30pm EST

Game 2: Saturday, June 6 at 5pm EST

Game 3, if necessary: Sunday, June 7 at 6 or 7pm EST

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

If you are Florida, buying plane tickets to Omaha because you’re the third ranked team in the nation for a reason.  Florida can do it all: they have stellar pitching, great defense, and can pile on runs in a hurry (LOL Florida A&M...21-0 is harsh).  Florida blanked their entire regional (albeit, not a difficult regional) with a miniscule 1.00 ERA, while the starters put up an even more impressive .50 ERA.  That is hard to contend with, especially when Florida’s batters are hitting .344 since the SEC tournament.

If you are Florida State, buying a plane ticket to Omaha because LOL why would you even fathom losing to an in state rival who you’ve beat 2 of 3 times already this year?  Florida State certainly has the bats to do it, and their starting pitchers were impressive in a regional that included College of Charleston, a great team who struggled against the FSU starters.

Why does that seem like a really bad idea?

If you are Florida, this is a bad idea because you dropped your series to Florida State already this year, and anything can happen when you’re playing a rival.  You also played those games during the week, so you’re not sure what you are facing against the FSU starters, but the same could be said the other way around.  FSU also has a 1.94 ERA since the ACC tournament, which is almost as impressive as the ERA the Florida pitching staff is putting up.  This just screams of irony and both teams will somehow turn it into a slugfest.

If you are Florida State, this is a really bad idea because Florida is just a great all around team.  Their pitching is on fire, they’re connecting well with the bats, and have the home field advantage.  You are also starting a freshman pitcher against one of the best teams in the nation, so will he crumble under the lights or will he pull through and put up a great performance? That’s not a good bet to take on a flight.

Remember us Northerner’s don’t like baseball...why should we care?

After the Super Regionals, the CWS then goes back to a double elimination round robin style tournament for the "Elite Eight" portion of the tournament.  You should care because if Maryland or Illinois make it into the tournament, they are likely going to face one of these two teams.  But really, you should care because this is going to be great baseball to watch.

Fayetteville Super Regional

No. 8 Missouri St. (48-10) at Arkansas (38-22)

Game Times and TV viewing information:


Game 1: 4:30 PM (ESPN2),

Game 2: 2 PM (ESPN2),

Game 3: 3 PM (ESPN2 or ESPNU)

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

If you're Missouri State, you're feeling really good about the situation because your excellent season was somewhat validated by going 3-0 through the regionals. You have an incredible pitching staff (2.7 ERA) led by two legit MLB prospects in Jon Harris (1.85 ERA, 10.45 K9, 1.04 WHIP) and Matt Hall (2.17 ERA, 12.65 K9, 1.09 WHIP) and really, you just have to win two. The offense is probably good enough to get to Arkansas, but that pitching will take you places. Also, your team hasn't lost in its last 19 tries and you've beaten these guys once. Punch that ticket to Omaha

If you're Arkansas, you have home field advantage and things seem to be clicking at the right time. You swept through the regionals on the road, and minus some weird fluky streaks, you're playing some of the best baseball of the year. Your hitting is probably better than Missouri State and if you can just squeeze a little bit more out of the starters on the mound, the path to Omaha becomes a lot easier. Oh, and you have Andrew Benintendi. That helps.

Why does that seem like a really bad idea?

If you're Missouri State, that seems like a bad idea because you're on the road due to scheduling issues at your home stadium. This is why it sucks to share with a minor league team, even if it is a generally good arrangement. It's also worth noting that while intangibles aren't everything, you don't know what it's like to hear 11,000 fans screaming for the other guys with everything on the line. This isn't a cut and dry situation and the Razorbacks want to methodically take you out.

If yo're Arkansas, this seems like a bad idea because that 2-10 spurt where you lost to Gonzaga among others, is still a thing. Oh, and while you're playing your best baseball, the 1/2 punch of Harris and Hall is terrifying and you know it. You were a 2 seed in your Regional and even though the baseball gods have smiled upon you, don't go thinking it will stay that way.

Remember us Northerner’s don’t like baseball...why should we care?

Seriously, Andrew Benintendi, Jon Harris, and even Matt Hall look to be guys you could see in the majors. Oh, and there's the whole little guy making the big time against the seasoned pros. This should be a really fun series with strength (Mo State: pitching) on strength (Arkansas: hitting).

Coral Gables Super Regional

VCU (40-23) at No.  5 Miami (FL) (47-15)

Game Times and TV viewing information:


Game 1: Noon (ESPNU)

Game 2: Noon (ESPNU)

Game 3: Noon (ESPN2 or ESPNU)

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

If you're Miami, you're buying tickets because you're a really solid team that reminded people what happens when you lose. You get even. A 21-3 drubbing of Columbia was telling of their solid offensive performance this year. Boasting a team batting average of .314 and a not-too-shabby 3.04 team ERA, this is a balanced, scary team. With guys who can hit for power like David Thompson and Zack Collins (both at the top of the HR count in baseball), and a guy like George Iskenderian who gets hits like a champ, you have the recipe for success. You're the better team, you didn't need to upset people to get here, and you fully expect to make it back to Omaha for an impressive 24th time.

If you're VCU, you believe in magic. Nobody expected you to come out of Dallas alive, but you took down Dallas Baptist and Oregon State. Sure, you were also A10 champs, so it's not like you're not aware of how to win either, but getting to Coral Gables is a sign that things are going well. So why do you think you can knock off another favorite? Because why not?

Why does that seem like a bad idea?

If you're the Hurricane faithful, you really have your eyes set on Omaha. At this point, the biggest hurdle is your own nerves. Play your game and you'll be in Omaha. The biggest hurdle is yourself.

If you're VCU, you hesitate because let's be real. Miami is really good, has been here before, are at home, and probably have the recipe for success - lots of solid offense and good enough pitching. The run has been nice and you have a lot of Seniors on the field, but nobody is expecting you to make it out of Miami alive. It's been fun, though.

Remember us Northerners don’t like baseball…why should we care?

You should care because VCU is a fun team to watch and if the Regionals were any indicator, they're just having the time of their lives. This is what we love about College Sports - the little guy trying to beat the established bully. Oh, and if you like good baseball, Miami is probably worth watching anyways.

Baton Rouge Super Regional

Louisiana-Lafayette (42-21) at No. 2 LSU (51-10)

Game Times and TV viewing information:


Game 1: Saturday June 6th 8pm EST.  ESPN2

Game 2:  Sunday June 7th 6pm EST.  ESPNU

Game 3: Monday June 8th TBD (if necessary)

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

LSU fans probably already bought a boatload of tickets regardless of what I’m going to say (and I’m betting already booked up the Double Tree, Hilton, and half the hotels on Cumming St. as well).  But they have good reason to since this team is good.  Their pitchers Lange (a freshman) and Poche’ were great in the regional since LSU has not given up a run in the past 20 innings.  They are backed by a great defense lead by SS Bregman and an amazing outfield that isn’t afraid to make Sports Center Top Ten layouts for the ball.  Essentially, these Tigers have the arms, the defense, as well as the hitting to go far making them arguably on of the most well rounded teams left in the tourney.

The Ragin’ Cajuns came in as interlopers to the ‘Battle For Houston’ regional and snuck away with the tourney after stunning Houston in Saturday’s game (this came after the Cougar’s pitcher was en route to a no hitter through seven innings but the Cajuns somehow were able to manufacture a run after a controversial bunt called foul).  Lafayette is also probably hungry to get to Omaha after falling at home to Ole Miss in the supers last year.

Why does that seem like a bad idea?

Well, like I said above, LSU fans will be here in Omaha regardless but trying to find a weakness on this Tigers team is difficult.  They really only lost one series this year (to Kentucky) in a deep, deep SEC conference.

For Lafayette I wouldn’t look too far ahead since they have to travel to one of the tougher ball fields in the country in Alex Box Stadium (although not impossible considering UC-Irvine and Stony Brook went through there to make their CWS debuts)

Remember us Northerners don’t like baseball…why should we care?

Take a chance to catch these Tigers in action considering they have it all (pitching, hitting, defense) and are fun to watch.  Plus, LSU fans are always entertaining.

Fort Worth Super Regional

Texas A&M (49-12) at No. 7 TCU (47-12)

Game Times and TV viewing information:

TV:  All on ESPN

Game 1: Saturday June 6th 3pm EST.  ESPN

Game 2: Sunday June 7th 2:15pm EST.  ESPN

Game 3: Monday June 8th TBD (if necessary)

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

TCU is gritty and never gives up considering they came back from an 8-1 lead by NC State in the 8th in the regional final to keep their season alive.  They took home the regular season title in a somewhat deep Big XII this year which means they have the talent to produce.  Plus, they can always use their experience of getting to the CWS last year to guide them along the way.

For the Aggies they have SEC grade talent all over the field most notably in the hitting department.  Plus, they have former Husker hitting coach Ron Childress at the helm (cue Jesse’s rant about Dollar Bill Bryne sabotaging the Huskers chance at retaining him).

Why does that seem like a bad idea?

TCU and Texas A&M both seemed to be living on the edge over their respective regionals which may work against the likes of Stony Brook, Sacred Heart, and Texas Southern but you can’t pull that crap once you get to the supers.

Remember us Northerners don’t like baseball…why should we care?

Like old conference mate hate?  This will certainly have it so expect some runs and high drama involved in this little ‘Best in Texas’ series.

Champaign Super Regional

Vanderbilt (45-19) at No. 6 Illinois (50-8-1)

Game Times and TV viewing information:

TV: All on ESPNU

Game 1: Saturday June 6th 8pm EST.  ESPNU

Game 2:  Sunday June 7th 9pm EST.  ESPNU

Game 3: Monday June 8th TBD (if necessary)

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

Illinois has been stellar all year and really wasn’t tripped up in their regional.  They have shown they have the talent to be nationally recognized and have some great arms, like ace pitcher Duchene and closer Tyler Jay, that will assist them in getting the Illini to Omaha.

Vanderbilt also has the arms to compete considering they lead the nation in strikeouts per inning.  They also showed they can produce some offense after they dropped three touchdowns on the poor Radford Rads (yes, I still know this isn’t their name and I still don’t care) which tied an NCAA record for largest margin of victory in a shutout.

Why does that seem like a bad idea?

Illinois and nice things and all that jazz.  (Can they have one nice thing this time?  Come on, it’ll be good for B1G baseball)  But seriously Vandy is the defending champ and will be a tough hurdle for the Illini even though they get to host.

There have been some strange lapses at times in the season for Vandy which Illinois can exploit if given the opportunity.

Remember us Northerners don’t like baseball…why should we care?

Come on.  It’s a nationally recognized B1G team trying to make it to Omaha for the first time ever.  What more motivation do you need?

Louisville Super Regional

Cal State Fullerton (37-22) at No. 3 Louisville (46-16)

Game Times and TV viewing information:

TV: All on ESPN2

Game 1:  Saturday June 6th 11am EST.  ESPN2

Game 2:  Sunday June 7th 12pm EST.  ESPN2

Game 3: Monday June 8th TBD (if necessary)

Why should you be buying plane tickets to Omaha?

Louisville has speed, speed, and more speed on the base paths and have used that offensive strategy to win the ACC regular season crown.  Also, having the experience on the team that got them to the previous two CWS helps as well.

Cal St. Fullerton has some phenomenal freshman pitching going on in Gavin & Seabold which helped the Titans build over the year and get a chance to host last week.  Plus, they got out of a particularly difficult regional (with ASU, Pepperdine, and Clemson) which was essentially a death trap for all involved so you know they are battle tested.

Why does that seem like a bad idea?

Outside of being too over confident on their running ability I don’t see too many negatives for the Cardinals. Michigan did test them on that Saturday game in their regional but outside of that they walked through pretty easily.

Sometimes when you rely on freshman pitching they can falter under the pressure and you better believe Louisville will be testing them on the base paths.

Remember us Northerners don’t like baseball…why should we care?

At least try and catch a game just to watch Louisville play considering their offense is about as ‘high octane’ as college baseball can get.


Doc1028's Super Regional Rivalry Scale

Rivalry Scale
1 to 10
1 = USA vs. Canada (mild indifference)
10 = USA vs. USSR (Do svidaniya, comrade [initiates nuke launch])

Virginia vs. Maryland
Rivalry Scale:  8

Bordering states that used to play in the same conference since its inception (plus, the Cavaliers knocked out the Terps last year in this position so you know the turtles want revenge)

Arkansas vs. Missouri St.
Rivalry Scale:  4

The states do border each other so the fight for Ozark based pride might be on the line but both schools don’t really interact with each other too often.

Miami vs. VCU
Rivalry Scale:  2

Not really near each other nor in the same conference.  Maybe play the David (VCU) against Goliath (Miami) angle Not sure.  VCU may have ruined some of the player’s March Madness brackets a while back.  I’d be a little ticked about that.

Florida vs. FSU
Rivalry Scale:  As Nigel Tufnel would say, "This goes to 11."

Yeah, take the hate and strife and anguish of the gridiron between these two schools and place it on the diamond because it is essentially the same thing.  Big, BIG time battle here and it makes it all the more intense because a trip to Omaha is on the line.  Can’t miss baseball here.

LSU vs. La.-Lafayette
Rivalry Scale:  7

It’s the big brother Tigers taking on little brother Ragin’ Cajuns to see who is the best in the state of Louisiana. Layfayette may not have the prestige of the royal purple and gold but they will give big bro hell before the day is done.

TCU vs. Texas A&M
Rivalry Scale:  8.5

These old SWC foes square off again for the battle of the best in Texas.  They obviously don’t play each other anymore (with TCU taking TAMU’s spot in the Big XII while the Aggies went to the SEC) but old hate dies hard.

Illinois vs. Vanderbilt
Rivalry Scale:  3

Uh…the fight to see who has a better shade of orange?  (yeah, I know that’s the Volunteers instead but Vandy is in Nashville which is in the state of Tennessee…so, that counts for something, right?  Shut up.  You come up with something better.)

Louisville vs. Cal St. Fullerton
Rivalry Scale:  5

While they may not have that much interaction with each other each represent a different dynamic of the college baseball world.  Fullerton represents the "old money" established baseball royalty while the Cardinals are the "new money" trying to break in and become a permanent part of the scene.