Super Regional Picks
The Gamecocks and Oklahoma St. begin a best of 3 Super Regional on Saturday and there are more similarities between these two teams than you may think.
Both have excellent starting pitching, a very strong bullpen, solid defense, and for much of the year struggled to score runs in bunches. Both are carried by their strong pitching staffs who looked great against a very good hitting team last weekend in Regional play. Both lineups hit very well against below average pitching last weekend as well.
Both teams have a couple of really good hitters with high averages. Oklahoma St. has Conor Costello who destroyed all pitching he saw last weekend and now hits .367. JR Davis is the leadoff hitter and only has a .360 batting average.
USC of course has Gene Cone atop their lineup; he’s hitting .370 on the season. TJ Hopkins, now entrenched in the 2 hole hits .327 on the year (USC is 7-1 when Hopkins hits 2nd). Alex Destino and Dom Thompson-Williams both hit above .320.
So how do we find enough separation between these two to find a winner?
Let’s look at a few matchups.
USC all season long has hit righties better. They’ll see three right handed starters and the Oklahoma St. closer, Trey Cobb, is also a righty. Most of the Cowboys top arms in the bullpen are right handers as well.
We all saw Oklahoma St. hit last weekend but for most of the season they have struggled against quality pitching, something they didn’t see last weekend. Power arms give the Cowboys problems.
There’s also playing at home in a Super Regional that can come into play. When it wants to, the Gamecock crowd can be very involved in the game and I’ve seen first hand on many occasions, fans get into opposing players’ heads. Oklahoma St. however showed last weekend they are comfortable playing anywhere and have traveled to very tough places to play during the regular season.
I would give the Cowboys the edge on who’s hotter right now. Oklahoma St. beat a much better team in Clemson, on the road, than USC did at home last weekend in UNCW. What we do know is this could be a very low scoring regional, so every run could mean 3 times as much.
One more fun stat. After the 5th inning, when USC is leading, they are 38-1. When trailing after the 5th, 2-13. So we may know who wins after the 5th inning.
When it’s all said and done, I’ll take the Gamecocks in 3. I do believe this Super Regional will go into Monday. Will Jerry Meyers go with Adam Hill…maybe. It depends on how the rest of the weekend turns out. I would look for Tyler Johnson to be the closer Saturday and Sunday if needed. Look for all USC starting pitchers to have quick hooks, especially once they reach the 5th because of Reagan’s and Weidner’s ability to go 3 or 4 strong innings.
I also believe Chad Holbrook will go with DC Arendas at 2nd base, but don’t be surprised if LT Tolbert makes an appearance if USC drops game 1. I expect Cullen and Taylor to split the first 2 games behind the plate…whoever had the better game will go in game 3. John Jones will pitch hit for somebody at some point.
Also, the heat could be a factor. Which pitching staff is in better shape could be a major factor.
Pick: Gamecocks in 3.
There are seven other Super Regionals. Here are my picks for those:
Miami over BC in 2.
Miss. St. over Arizona in 3.
Texas Tech over East Carolina in 2.
Texas A&M over TCU in 2.
Florida over FSU in 2.
Louisville over UCSB in 2.
LSU over Coastal Carolina in 2.