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College

NCAA Baseball Super Regional Picks: Part 1

The College Baseball Tourney has been electric so far. Here’s 4 picks for Friday’s action

 

The 2022 NCAA Baseball Regionals concluded Monday, and there are going to be some real value picks for Friday’s opening slate of Super Regional games (Final 16 teams in the Tourney). The format at this point in the Tournament is simple. Eight pairs of teams will play the team they’re paired against in a best of three series. The winners of each Super Regional advance to the College World Series in Omaha, where Eight teams will then play double elimination to determine the winner.

 

Notes to be aware of

There is a severe lack of hard data available for College Baseball. College Softball actually has a lot more to review, but for whatever reason, there’s zero effort put into tracking college baseball statistics. Anyhow, pitching is key in college baseball. A strong pitching performance can carry even the more offensively inept teams to victory. A bad pitcher can result in 29 runs in a regional matchup (See Oklahoma State vs Missouri State).

In that game, Oklahoma State trailed 12-0 and rallied to win, 29-15. Yes, that isn’t a typo. It is, however, an extreme example of how bad pitching can absolutely ruin an otherwise dominant performance. Expect a little madness in the Super Regionals when teams exhaust their first pitching option, but the drama will certainly keep you entertained.

 

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

Tennessee -1.5 (-195) vs Notre Dame

The moneyline here is -330, so we are short on options. Either way, Tennessee should win this game relatively easily. Tennessee features three projected first round picks in this year’s draft, including Friday’s starter, Blake Tidwell. Tidwell is a 6’4 power right-hander with a plus fastball and slider. Tennessee also features a pair of outstanding outfielders, Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck. Third baseman, Trey Lipscomb also brings a strong bat to this loaded offense.

On the other side, Notre Dame doesn’t match Tennessee in any particular category. That shouldn’t be surprising, as Tennessee has lost only seven games all season. However, if there’s one area Notre Dame can exploit, it’s manufacturing runs by stealing bases and playing station to station baseball. Tennessee’s pitchers tend to have slower deliveries.

Despite the meager blueprint to beat the Volunteers, the odds aren’t great, so we love the Vols here at -1.5 Spread.

 

#8 East Carolina vs #9 Texas -1.5 (-105)

Texas has always seemed to have a knack for advancing to Omaha through another team’s Super Regional site. In the Texas Regional, the Longhorns dispatched Dallas Baptist and Air Force, twice, and all with ease. Now, the red-hot Horns travel to Greenville to face the East Carolina Pirates. Texas has four guys among the Top 150 draft prospects, including Friday’s probable starter, Pete Hansen. Hansen is a variety pitcher who should be able to keep batters off balance.

East Carolina had an impressive season at 45-19 with some big wins and a fairly strong performance in the regionals (3-1 record). Despite the solid season, this East Carolina team features zero prospects in the Top 200. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have great players. It just means no one draft-eligible is considered elite. Regardless, they have home field advantage in this regional.

We love Texas here. Their current form and overall talent makes them a strong choice for Friday’s opener. Watch out for Texas’ collegiate triple crown hopeful, Ivan Melendez. He’s the best all-around batter in college baseball. East Carolina would be wise to avoid him.

 

Oklahoma (ML+115) vs #4 Virginia Tech

The Oklahoma Sooners surprised everyone by emerging from the Florida regional as victors, defeating the host Florida Gators twice in three attempts. The Sooners are a straight moneyline pick this week for two reasons. For one, they have the better starter on the mound in 6’6 lefty, Jake Bennett. Bennett is the #89 prospect on July’s draft board. The Sooners also have shortstop and #33 prospect, Peyton Graham.

Virginia Tech had a surprising run this season when many didn’t expect anywhere near the success they had. The Hokies have three players in the Top 200 prospects, including the #9 overall prospect, Gavin Cross. The Hokies beat Columbia by a two-game combined total of 31-6 en route to hosting this Super Regional. Virginia Tech come-in playing great baseball and are poised for a deep run.

Despite the Hokies looking to be the better team on Paper, Oklahoma hard a tougher schedule and has a better pitching matchup for Friday’s opener. Jake Bennett is a lefty and Virginia Tech’s best hitter is also a lefty. Though I have doubts the Sooners can win the series, Friday’s opener should be a very close game and I like Oklahoma to have a slight edge.

 

#12 Louisville vs #5 Texas A&M (ML-115)

Louisville is a pretty solid team. They stumbled through their own regional, needing a rally in the regional-deciding game against regional 3 seeded Michigan, to sneak into the Super Regional. Louisville isn’t stacked from a talent standpoint and they didn’t have a more impressive schedule than their opponent. Louisville features just one top 200 draft prospect in lefty closer, Michael Prosecky (#178).

Texas A&M has weathered a challenging schedule this season. They had a relatively soft regional, facing TCU (36-20) and Louisiana (36-21) along the way to a perfect 3-0 regional finish. There’s little doubt Texas A&M is a solid team, as they managed a 40-18 record in the toughest conference in college baseball. The Aggies lost only two series’ all season (Alabama & Arkansas) and are currently 24-7 in their last 31.

The Aggies have just been solid all season. Despite the murky Game 1 outlook, I would prefer to side with the Aggies and the 12th Man in College Station on Friday.

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