TCU is one of my favorites to make some noise and reach the College World Series. The Horned Frogs have an excellent weekend rotation that includes lefthanded pitchers Brandon Finnegan and Tyler Alexander, and righthander Preston Morrison. Finnegan is a big-time arm and will be drafted in the first round next week. Finnegan sits 91-95 with his fastball and showcases a dominant slider, while Morrison is Mr. Command with good overall stuff. Alexander is an 88-91 fastball lefty, but again, like Finnegan and Morrison, has very good command of the strike zone. Also keep an eye on Jordan Kipper, who has a 3.01 ERA in 68 2/3 innings, while righthanded closer Riley Ferrell is as good as it gets. Ferrell has a 0.84 ERA in 32 1/3 innings, while also having a fastball up to 98 and a good slider … The Horned Frogs do just enough offensively to get the job done, entering the weekend with a .287 batting average. Boomer White is a spark plug for the Horned Frogs with a .326 average with two homers and 41 RBIs, while Garrett Crain is performing at a high level with a .340 average and .428 OBP. Dylan Fitzgerald (.324/2/31) and Derek Odell (.297/1/32) are other key hitters to watch, while first baseman Kevin Cron always has the potential to have a big weekend as a power threat.
Dallas Baptist typically is known for its outstanding offensive lineups of the past, but this team has the pitching to make a strong run to an NCAA Super Regional. DBU has a solid weekend rotation with Paul Voelker (3.16, 91 IP), Cy Sneed (3.67, 98 IP) and Cory Taylor (3.50, 82.1) leading the way, with Voelker having good velocity on his fastball, a plus changeup and developing breaking stuff. Meanwhile, the Patriots have plenty of talented bullpen arms, but none more notable than righthanded pitcher Joseph Shaw. Shaw has the ability to get into the mid-90s with his fastball and he has a 2.85 ERA in 53 2/3 innings of work. Also watch for Texas transfer Josh Urban (2.78, 45.1 IP) and Brandon Koch (0.48, nine saves, 37.2 IP) … Offensively, the Patriots aren't particularly explosive, but have some legitimate power threats to watch in Mike Wesolowski (.308/6/34), Austin Listi (.282/10/45) and David Martinelli (.269/6/33).
Sam Houston State made noise earlier this season by getting off to a hot start. The Bearkats went through a little lull in the middle of the season, but now are back to playing an elite brand of baseball. That could be scary this weekend. SHSU has an excellent ace pitcher in righthander Tyler Eppler. Eppler can touch 93-94, but typically sits lower than that velocity-wise. He has a 3.33 ERA in 102 2/3 innings, along with 61 strikeouts and 29 walks. Meanwhile, Sam Odom (2.57) and Jason Simms (2.72) round out the trio of starting pitchers, while the bullpen is solid with Alan Scott (2.38) and others the headliners … Offensively, veteran Anthony Azar continues to have an outstanding college career. Azar is hitting .376 with big-time power, while Ryan O'Hearn is another physical hitter in the lineup with eight homers. The same goes for Corey Toups, who has 14 doubles and seven homers. Also watch out for Hayden Simerly. Simerly showed an advanced hitting approach when we saw him earlier this season, but he's now hitting .254 with six homers and 33 RBIs. Simerly absolutely could be one of those guys who breaks out this weekend.
Siena hopes to make a statement in the Lone Star State this weekend. The Saints went on a magical run in the Metro Atlantic tournament and are led on the mound by starting pitchers Matt Gage and Ed Lewicki. Gage has a 4.81 ERA in 101 innings, along with 85 strikeouts and 35 walks, while Lewicki is an intriguing pitcher with a 5.02 ERA, along with a good changeup and curveball. Meanwhile, the bullpen is led by Matt Quintana, who has appeared in 26 games and has a 3.94 ERA in 48 innings … Offensively, it's safe to say the Saints aren't exactly explosive. However, they have some intriguing bats to watch this weekend. For instance, leading hitter Vincent Citro is hitting .333 with 21 RBIs and 18 stolen bases, while Dan Swain and John Rooney are other hitters who can make things flourish on the base paths, though, Rooney enters the weekend hitting just .221 with 27 RBIs.