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College | Story | 6/10/2019

Super Regional Spotlight: Day 3

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Drew Mendoza (Larry Novey)

Day 1 Spotlight | Day 2 Spotlight2019 Super Regional Preview | College Player Database

Moving On
Congratulations to Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Michigan and Mississippi State on advancing past the Super Regional round on Sunday, joining Louisville to have the opportunity to play for a national championship in Omaha. There are two spot remaining for the winners of Monday's deciding games between North Carolina and Auburn from the Chapel Hill Super Regional and Arkansas and Ole Miss from the Fayetteville Super Regional.



Drew Mendoza, Florida State
After enjoying a strong Regional round helping to propel Florida State past host Georgia in Athens, it seemed fitting that it would be Drew Mendoza to deliver the Super Regional clinching win against another SEC host, LSU, on Sunday. In doing so he gives legendary head coach Mike Martin one last opportunity to capture a national championship, something that seemed unlikely just two short weeks ago when the Seminoles were selected as one of the last teams to make it in among the final Field of 64.

Mendoza was profiled a week ago for his hitting exploits, a lefthanded slugger with a smooth swing that is tailor-made for driving balls over the right field fence. His game-winning, walk-off hit in this one was a clean single to right, enough to score Mike Salvatore from second base giving FSU their second win in as many games in Baton Rouge with the 5-4 victory.

Read more about Mendoza, who was ranked 62nd overall heading into this year’s draft and was taken in the third round, 94th overall, by the Washington Nationals, as part of our Day 1 Regional Recap here.


Tommy Henry, Michigan
What a gritty series win for Michigan, who once again flexed their pitching muscle in the form of their three weekend starters, Karl Kauffmann, Jeff Criswell and Tommy Henry. After profiling Kauffmann on Friday, who took a shutout into the ninth inning as part of a 3-2 Michigan win, it was Henry’s turn on Friday, giving up two earned runs on seven hits without giving up a walk while striking out six in seven strong innings as part of a 4-2 Omaha-clinching win. It is their first CWS appearance since 1984, their fifth appearance in a seven-year stretch.

Henry has been dealing with the flu this week and it was his changeup on this day that stood out among his three-pitch repertoire. The pitch sat in the low-80s and he pulled the string perfectly on the offering time after time to silence the UCLA bats.

Read our report from Henry last weekend during the Regional round, who on the very next day was selected 74th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks on the first day of the 2019 MLB Draft.

 
Tommy Henry Regional Report

 


Grae Kessinger, Ole Miss
The Ole Miss offense has been somewhat of a murderer’s row of sluggers, with big bat after big bat and that certainly was on display on Sunday as they beat SEC West foe Arkansas 13-5 to even the Fayetteville Super Regional at one game apiece. Third baseman Tyler Keenan, first baseman Cole Zabowski, catcher Cooper Johnson and shortstop Grae Kessinger all hit home runs in this game, and it was Kessinger that was the highest ranked of this group for the 2019 MLB Draft (Keenan isn’t eligible until next year).

Kessinger has long been known as a talented player, ranked 74th in the high school class of 2016 and a member of Ole Miss’ talented recruiting class that year. He got better and better each year for the Rebels and entered this year’s draft as the 133rd-ranked overall prospect. Here’s his pre-draft report:

College shortstops with histories of performance always tick up as we get closer to the draft and Kessinger is no exception to this trend. The big bodied, athletic shortstop is a rangy infielder with some wiry present strength and enough actions and instincts to pass up the middle at the next level. Kessinger’s performed very well in the SEC the last two seasons with an average well over .300, more walks than strikeouts and some sneaky power too.

Kessinger ended up going in the second round, 68th overall, to the Astros thanks to his talents both offensively and defensively. Read our more detailed report on Kessinger from our look in late April in our College Player Database here.



Josh Jung, Texas Tech
We covered Jung in Texas Tech’s Game 1 win over Oklahoma State in the Lubbock Super Regional, and he was at it again on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs in an 8-6 win over Oklahoma State that helped to propel the Red Raiders to Omaha for the fourth time in six years. Be sure to read that feature, with links to other scouting reports from the season leading up to this year’s draft, here.


Austin Martin, Pat DeMarco, Vanderbilt
A pair of sophomores in the dangerous Vanderbilt lineup, Martin and DeMarco each had a pair of hits with three RBI, accounting for three of the team’s five home runs (Martin had two) in their Super Regional-clinching 13-2 win over Duke on Sunday. DeMarco was actually selected in this year’s draft as an age-eligible sophomore, but as a 17th-round pick (Yankees) everyone believes he’ll be back patrolling center field for the Commodores next season.

Martin was ranked 92nd in the high school class of 2017 and was drafted by the Indians in the 37th round that summer. He was named a Freshman All-American a season ago after slashing .338/.452/.414 with 22 stolen bases and added power to his game this year. He was the 47th-ranked sophomore prospect heading into this season and was ranked 75th overall for the 2020 draft last December, a placement that is sure to rise with our next 2020 draft update.

Read our detailed first-hand report on Martin here.


DeMarco was ranked 130th in the high school class of 2017, earning numerous accolades on the circuit largely thanks to his talents in the batter’s box. He was ranked 359th overall heading into this year’s draft and garnered this report as part of our preview content:

DeMarco is an age-eligible sophomore for the Commodores and has been an immediate contributor from the moment he set foot on campus in Nashville. What always stood out about DeMarco, going back to his prep days in Georgia, is his bat speed and feel for the barrel. The power is more strength driven and comes more due to the fact that he hits the ball extremely hard as opposed to hitting majestic shots. He fits nicely into a right field profile thanks to his arm strength and above average athleticism.

With the win Vanderbilt returns to the College World Series for the first time since they finished as the runner-up in 2015.




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