College : : Story
Thursday, May 30, 2013

Louisville Regional preview

Kendall Rogers        


Team Conference Record Berth Last NCAA appearance
1. Louisville Big East 46-12 At-large 2012
2. Miami (Fla.) Atlantic Coast 36-23 At-large 2012
3. Oklahoma State Big 12 39-17 At-large 2011
4. Bowling Green Mid-American 24-29 Automatic 1999
1. Louisville
2. Miami 

3. Oklahoma St.

4. Bowling Green
Louisville fell short of a national seed thanks to a poor showing in the Big East tournament, but look for Dan McDonnell's club to be ready to roll this weekend. The first thing that stands out about the Cardinals is their quality pitching with starting pitchers Chad Green and Jeff Thompson leading the charge. Green isn't quite the prospect of other pitchers on this staff, but he's still very good and has a 2.09 ERA in 90 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, imposing right-handed pitcher Jeff Thompson has good stuff with a 90-93 fastball and 80-82 slider, along with a 2.09 ERA in 90 1/3 innings and 97 strikeouts. Also keep an eye on other talented arms such as Dace Kime and Kyle Funkhouser, while in the bullpen, Cody Ege and Nick Burdi are as good as it gets. Burdi has really improved his command this season and has an 0.88 ERA and 14 saves in 30 2/3 innings of work. Burdi also can get up to 101 on the radar gun, along with a power slider. Ege has appeared in 32 games and has a 1.32 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. Offensively, the Cardinals are solid with a .293 average entering the weekend. Ty Young is a consistent hitter with a .357 average, seven triples, four homers and 55 RBIs, while CoCo Johnson (.324/6/44), Sutton Whiting (.320/1/28) and Nick Ratajczak (.283/2/28) are exciting athletes to watch.
Miami (Fla.)
The key for Miami to take a step forward this weekend is pretty simple: The offensive lineup must be infinitely better. Though the Hurricanes have been very solid on the mound throughout the spring, the offense has failed to live up to expectations with a dismal .260 batting average. Chantz Mack leads the offense with a .297 average and 27 RBIs, while the 'Canes have relied on physical freshman David Thompson to produce at a high level. He's hitting .285 with 14 doubles, six homers and 43 RBIs, while Brad Fieger is hitting .287 with 32 RBIs. In terms of the running game, keep an eye on Mack, who has 14 stolen bases this spring. From a pitching standpoint, you can't say enough about the job left-handed pitcher Bryan Radziewski has done this season. Radziewski has been terrific this spring with a 1.49 ERA in 84 2/3 innings, along with 101 strikeouts and 29 walks, while Javi Salas has a big-time arm with a low-to-mid 90s fastball and 3.10 ERA in 69 2/3 innings of work. Chris Diaz and Andrew Suarez two other quality arms to watch, as both have earned-run averages below 3.80. In the bullpen, right-hander Eric Whaley has a good changeup and a 4.54 ERA in 35 2/3 innings, while Eric Nedeljkovic is a consistent arm with a 1.37 ERA and 13 saves in 26 1/3 innings. Miami has the talent to make things interesting, but again, its offense must rise the occasion.
Oklahoma State
Quick turnarounds aren't always possible in the Big 12 Conference, but don't tell that to first-year head coach Josh Holliday, who's working some magic with the Cowboys in his first campaign. The Pokes have had an impressive season and have a solid weekend rotation with right-handed hurler Jason Hursh leading the charge. Hursh is a big-time prospect with a 90-95 fastball, along with a good curveball and changeup, and slider. Meanwhile, Tyler Nurdin has quite quite the impressive campaign with a 1.83 ERA in 78 2/3 innings of work, while Mark Robinette has a 3.92 ERA in 64 1/3 innings of work. Also keep an eye on impressive relievers Vince Wheeland and Brendan McCurry. Wheeland has made 28 appearances and has a 2.09 ERA in 69 innings, while McCurry has eight saves and a 2.28 ERA in 43 1/3 innings. The Cowboys won't blow you away offensively, but Tanner Krietemeier is hitting .321 with four homers and 43 RBIs, Randy McCurry has good gap power with 20 doubles on the season, and Zach Fish, though he's hitting just .284, has seven homers and 41 RBIs. An NCAA Super Regional appearance by the Cowboys would truly be a magical moment.
Bowling Green
The Falcons hold the distinction as the only sub .500 team in the NCAA postseason, and hope to prove their worth in the Louisville Regional. The Falcons aren't a great hitting team, entering the weekend with a .277 batting average, but do have a couple of very good key cogs in Jeremy Shay and All-Conference catcher T.J. Losby. Shay is hitting .328 with five homers and 37 RBIs, while Losby is hitting .324 with six homers and 37 RBIs. Meanwhile, on the mound, reliever Nick Bruns shined in last week's MAC tournament and has appeared in 28 games with a 2.32 ERA in 50 1/3 innings, while right-hander Mike Frank starts the opener against the Cardinals. Frank has a 3.61 ERA in 97 1/3 innings, along with 77 strikeouts and 24 walks. I'd also keep an eye on starting pitcher Cody Apthorpe. Apthorpe has been a true workhorse the past few weeks and has a .3.50 ERA in 87 1/3 innings if work. Despite having some key cogs, it would be considered a success if the Falcons can escape the weekend with a victory.
This is a very interesting NCAA Regional for several reasons. On one hand, Louisville is the clear-cute favorite, but it didn't play very well at the Big East tournament. Then there's Miami, which is very talented, but also very erratic. Then there's Oklahoma State, who's good, but also has several players making their first postseason appearance this weekend. UL is the favorite, but don't be surprised if Miami or Oklahoma State makes this weekend a little interesting.


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