NCAA Regional Preview/Gamethread

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Schedules - Double Elimination format

On Friday, June 1, Big South Champ Coastal Carolina (41-17) will face Clemson (33-26) at 12:00 PM. Coastal defeated Clemson 10-7 back in April in an ugly contest.

Sakerlina (40-17) will face MAAC Conference Champ Manhattan (33-25) at 4:00 PM.

Games on Saturday and Sunday will also be played at 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM. Loser plays loser first on Saturday in an elim game, then the winners in the nightcap. This happens again Sunday and then whomever is left faces off until its over, even until Monday if necessary.

The winner of this regional will play the winner of the UVA regional, which consists of Oklahoma, UVA, App State and Army.

All games are on ESPNU and ESPN3.


RPI and Recent success

The Tigers are ranked 28th in the RPI, and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Three of those wins were against #1 FSU. We faced the 3rd-ranked SOS according to WarrenNolan. Coastal is ranked #35 in RPI with a #106 SoS and are 18-4 in their last 22 games.

The Manhattan Jaspers are ranked 143 in RPI against a weak schedule rated at 197th nationally. They are 9-1 in their last 10 games and fought their way to the MAAC title with 4 1-run victories.

The Chickens are ranked 8th in the RPI against the 21st-ranked SOS. They are only 5-5 in their last 10 games and 13-13 against Top-50 RPI teams. They are 27-7 at home this season.

History

Clemson is making its 25th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 26 years and 37th overall, fifth-most in the nation. Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament every year but one since 1987. This will be the first time Clemson has travelled to Columbia for a regional since 1976, when the Tigers won three straight games under Bill Wilhelm to advance to the College World Series. The Tigers defeated South Carolina once and Furman twice at that regional.

Pitching Preview

Coastal's pitching is outstanding, just like last year. They bring in the #1 team pitching staff by ERA. The staff has a 2.53 ERA and has allowed just 7.4 hits per nine innings. However, they lost their ace Josh Conway (4-1, 2.11) and have had issues getting deep outings from their starters. They've been heavily dependant on two in the bullpen. Aaron Burke (10-5, 1.18 ERA, 7 SV) got the win in the Clemson defeat earlier this year out of the pen, and he's an outstanding closer along with Ryan Connolly (5-2, 2.11 ERA, 11 SV). Both are RH-submariners and have logged the 2nd and 3rd-most innings on the staff this year, all in relief. Connolly is a bit of a junkballer like Roth or Jamie Moyer, and his fastball tops out in the high 70s.

Coastal Carolina Top Starting Pitchers
Throws Name Rec ERA IP H R ER BB K
RHP Tyler Herb 8-2 2.87 87.2 76 45 28 37 65
LHP Austin Wallace 5-0 2.05 57.0 45 21 13 15 43
LHP Javier Reynoso 3-2 3.78 47.2 44 29 20 24 22
LHP Ben Smith 2-1 2.73 52.2 42 29 16 21 54

Overall the team ERA sits at 2.53, which is even lower than last season. There are no regulars in the pen with ERAs over 4.00. Clemson's team ERA sits at 3.94.

Clemson has a 40-8 lead in the all-time series with Coastal Carolina. The two teams have played at least once every year since 2007.

The Chickens are led by Junkballer Michael Roth, who will be starting Saturday instead of Friday. If Clemson defeats CC, then we will face him. SC plans to start either Colby Holmes or Jordan Montgomery friday, probably Holmes.

SC Top Starting Pitchers
Throws Name Rec ERA IP H R ER BB K
LHP Michael Roth 6-1 2.58 101.0 77 33 29 31 75
RHP Colby Holmes 6-1 3.39 61.0 57 26 23 13 49
LHP Jordan Montgomery 4-1 4.20 60.0 61 32 28 8 45

SC's team ERA sits at 3.20. Tanner has tried out several guys at the 4th starter position including Closer Matt Price (4-4, 3.68, 10 SV). The rest of the pen has been pretty good. Tyler Webb, Nolan Belcher, Joel Seddon and Adam Westmoreland all sport sub-3.00 ERAs.

Manhattan may have gone 32-11 to finish the season after a 1-14 start, but their pitching is definitely the worst in the regional. They have a similar situation to Coastal in that two of their top hurlers come out of the pen.

Manhattan Top Starting Pitchers
Throws Name Rec ERA IP H R ER BB K
RHP John Soldinger 6-5 3.43 94.1 90 42 36 38 53
RHP Scott McClennan 2-5 5.50 70.1 94 48 43 20 26
RHP Mike Giordano 2-4 4.19 43.0 48 24 20 14 29
RHP Taylor Sewitt 11-1 2.40 90.0 67 31 24 20 63

Sewitt has made only 6 starts, one of them a shutout, with a save. In the MAAC tourney, Sewitt struck out 12 in a four-hit shutout in Manhattan's first win against Fairfield, then threw two shutout innings to close a 5-4 win a day later, then managed to come back and throw 11 innings of shutout relief in the winner-takes-all game the day after that. Another potential starter is Mike Scarinci (6-4, 4.47 in 5 starts), and the closer is Jacob Marchus (1-1, 1.31 ERA with 8 saves). The rest of the pen is hardly worth mentioning. The team total ERA is 4.44.

Dominic Leone went home due to a death in the family this week, and Kevin Pohle will be slated to start Game 1 against CC. Matt Campbell is out of course, but Kevin Brady is capable of pitching middle relief. It is unlikely we see him go longer than 3 innings or so however.

Clemson Top Starting Pitchers
Throws Name Rec ERA IP H R ER BB K
RHP Kevin Pohle 6-4 3.66 71.1 76 41 29 28 39
RHP Dominic Leone 6-4 5.49 77.0 84 49 47 37 60
RHP Daniel Gossett 6-3 4.50 70.0 58 35 35 36 79
RHP Jonathan Meyer 2-5 4.31 54.1 71 31 26 15 34

Leone's ERA increased by almost 2 runs compared to last season at this time, and Meyer's 1 run with half as many Ks. I think the Pepsicola experiment needs to end.

Clemson's pen is going to be in bad shape if Firth (4-0, 1.99 ERA) or Haselden (4-1, 3.35) can't go a lot of innings in this series.

Hitting Preview

Team Cumulative Statistics
BA R/g 2B HR RBI SLG% BB OBP SB/ATT Ks
Coastal .285 5.5 88 23 277 .377 264 .386 87/114 386
Clemson .269 5.7 92 40 303 .387 252 .359 63/81 367
Sakerlina .271 5.4 96 39 280 .399 229 .358 35/55 389
Manhattan .273 5.0 97 22 264 .370 190 .369 81/103 312

This Coastal team hits better for average than last year's squad (.285 vs .277) but their HR numbers and doubles figures have been cut considerably. They are led at the plate by Daniel Bowman (.401-6-38) and Rich Witten (.350-5-62).

Clemson's team average dropped from .319 at this point last year to .269 this season and stolen bases dropped by nearly 40. We are led by All-ACC 3B Richie Shaffer with a .339 batting average. He has started all 59 games and has a team-high 10 home runs, a team-high 58 walks, and 46 RBIs, second-most on the team. He also has a team-high .479 on-base percentage and a team-best .583 slugging percentage. This is the second straight year Shaffer has earned First-Team All-ACC honors, as he was the all-conference first baseball last season. Richie should be a 1st round pick next week.

2B Steve Wilkerson is second on the team with a .308 batting average, and CF Thomas Brittle has a .303 batting average with eight triples, one of the top-10 figures in the nation, and a team-high 11 steals. DH Phil Pohl is hitting .288 and has eight home runs along with a team-high 50 RBIs.

SC Freshmen Joey Pankake (shortstop) and Grayson Greiner (catcher) have had their growing pains, but have emerged as quality players at key up-the-middle positions. Greiner will miss the regional with a torn meniscus in his left knee, a major blow as he started 42 games at catcher. South Carolina is fortunate to have a quality backup in Dante Rosenberg, who has solid catch-and-throw skills but lacks Greiner's power. Junior-college transfers Chase Vergason and L.B. Dantzler have helped solidify the infield, and Dantzler (9 HR) has joined Walker as the lineup's primary power threats.

Aside from Christian Walker (.328-10-51) this isn't a scary lineup. Tanner English is 2nd on the team with a .308 average and Evan Marzilli leads the team with 11 stolen bases.

Manhattan's offense is led by center fielder and leadoff man Anthony Vega (.336/.417/.491, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 32 steals in 35 tries), who has legitimate five-tool ability.

Prediction

Clemson goes out but with a fight, and Jack probably gets an extension.

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