Typically speaking, neither Rice or North Carolina State are considered to be overly productive offensive clubs. However, both have done a great job of getting key hits in the postseason thus far, especially the Owls, who had an offensive onslaught in the decisive game against Oregon earlier this week.
Considering that, let's start the offensive breakdown with a look at the Owls. With catcher Geoff Perrott hobbled and just out of a walking boot, the Owls may once again have to rely on Hunter Kopycinski to get some key hits. They're fine with that, though, after he put together an impressive performance Monday against the Ducks.
Third baseman Shane Hoelscher is having a productive campaign with a .331 average and 25 RBIs, while second baseman Christian Stringer (.304/1/27) and Michael Ratterree (.270/9/41) are elite types of hitters when they get rolling.
I'd also keep an eye on designated hitter Michael Aquino. Though not an overly physical-looking guy, Aquino certainly has deceptive pop with a .312 average, 13 doubles, four triples, eight homers and 42 RBIs, along with a .420 slugging percentage.
Others to watch this weekend include Keenan Cook (.302/0/32), Skyler Ewing (.225/4/22), Blake Fox (.241/0/7) and one of my favorite young players in the game, outfielder Leon Byrd. Like most freshmen, Byrd has had his great and not so great moments. But he's a spark plug and plays much better than his .269 batting average would indicate.
Very much like the Owls, we certainly wouldn't classify the Wolfpack as having an overly productive offensive lineup, but there's some potential there at times.
The big key to slowing down the N.C. State offense is well-documented -- you must stop shortstop Trea Turner. Turner is arguably one of the top two or three position players in college baseball, and leads the team with a .377 average, 12 doubles, four triples, seven homers and 41 RBIs. But where he hurts you the most is on the base-paths, where he's 27-for-33 in stolen bases this spring.
N.C. State right fielder Jake Fincher is hitting .325 with 26 RBIs, while fellow outfielder Bryan Adametz is a scrappy hitter with a .309 average and 31 RBIs. Tarran Senay and Grant Clyde serve as the primarily power threats for the Wolfpack. Senay is an imposing figure at the plate and is hitting .292 with eight homers and 56 RBIs, while Clyde is a guy I've really liked down the stretch. Clyde was hitting in the low-200s earlier this season, but really started to get going at the plate after the home series against Virginia Tech. He's now hitting .288 with four homers and 25 RBIs.
I'd also keep an eye on Brett Austin, Logan Ratledge and Brett Williams, who all aren't hitting at great clips this season, but are trouble on the base-paths if they can get on base. The trio of sluggers combine for 41 stolen bases so far this season.