College of Charleston might historically be known for its potent offenses of the past, but this team is all about the pitching staff with a very good weekend rotation leading the way in Taylor Clarke, Bailey Ober and Tyler Thornton. Clarke has a 2.62 ERA in 96 innings, while Ober is an imposing freshman with a fastball 87-90, and up to 91, along with a good changeup. Thornton is yet another young arm who can touch 90s. He also has a 3.03 ERA in 98 innings.
For the Red Raiders, lefthanded pitcher Chris Sadberry is a consistent arm with a fastball sitting 88-92 with a good slider, while freshman lefthanded pitcher Dylan Dusek is poised and consistent with a 2.08 ERA in 69-1 innings, and Cameron Smith is coming off a huge start against Miami last weekend and has a 2.86 ERA in 66 innings.
While the Cougars have a quality weekend rotation, this club also possesses a very good bullpen with Nathan Helvey, Eric Bauer and Michael Hanzlik leading the charge. Helvey has a good changeup and a 3.78 ERA in 69 innings, while Bauer has excellent command with just eight walks in 51 2/3 innings, and Hanzlik is a very consistent arm with a 3.35 ERA and 16 saves in 37 2/3 innings.
The Red Raiders, as with the Cougars, have some very quality arms in the bullpen with power-armed Jonny Drozd leading the charge, while Corey Taylor and Ryan Moseley are quality arms. Moseley has a lot of upside and is a future star with a 3.32 ERA in 43 1/3 innings of work, while Taylor has a 2.62 ERA in 48 innings.
With both clubs possessing good, consistent, relievers, this category is about as close to a push as it gets.
Charleston isn't an overwhelming offensive force entering the weekend, but has some guys rising to the occasion. Ben Boykin had some big hits in the Gainesville Regional and is a key contributor despite how his .237 batting average might look, while Brandon Murray (.275/6/23) and Nick Pappas (.274/5/26) are key cogs with some power potential. Every coach we spoke with about the Cougars raved about Carl Wise, who's hitting .297 with three homers and 54 RBIs.
Texas Tech didn't do a lot offensively last weekend in the Coral Gables Regional, but got key hits when they were needed. Eric Gutierrez is a hard-nosed player with power, hitting .312 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs, while Adam Kirsch (.300/10/50) and Tyler Neslony (.393/4/31) and Tim Proudfoot (.324/0/19) are other key hitters to watch. Bryant Burleson is another veteran with an advanced approach to watch. The only drawback to this Texas Tech offensive lineup is their lack of versatility. The Red Raiders aren't much of a threat to steal with just 26 stolen bases entering the series against the Cougars.
The Red Raiders definitely get the edge in the defensive category in this series. Tech has one of the better middle infields in the country with shortstop Tim Proudfoot and second baseman Bryant Burleson leading the way, while catcher Hunter Redman is a seasoned, quality, veteran, and center fielder Devon Conley has good command of the outfield.
The most important thing defensively is the duo of Proudfoot-Burleson.
"The thing I really liked about Texas Tech when we played them was the way they played in the field. Tech was just a really, really good defensive club. They're a good team, they can hit throughout their offensive lineup, and the lineup is really balanced. They've got some power in that lineup, too. LHP Chris Sadberry is very good. Overall, Tech's pitchers throw strikes and they just pitch you very well. But overall, that staff is led by Sadberry, who's got some good velocity on his pitches, and Dylan Dusek, who just does a very good, consistent, job for them."
On Texas Tech:
"I think pitching-wise, they've really done a nice job the entire season. They've really come on the last month of the season, and they're a team with a lot of fastball guys who have no problems challenging hitters inside. All of the starting pitchers were guys in the 88-91 range that weren't going to overpower you, but who would hit you with the fastball and show the off speed pitches on a few occasions. They didn't really scare us too much offensively, but I think we might've been the last team to beat them in a series. Ben Boykin is a good hitter and Nick Pappas has really taken off for them. Getting Brandon Murray back gives them that power threat, while to be honest, these guys only got better when Gunnar Heidt went down. That's not meant as a bad thing, but what happened is these guys were forced to have guys step up in his absence."