CWS BASEBALL: Preview of Gators-Texas Offense

The flagship universities of two of the most heavily recruited states in collegiate baseball will meet in Rosenblatt Stadium as Florida and Texas battle for the NCAA Division I National Championship this weekend in Omaha, Nebraska. The Gators (48-21) secured the final position winning the Bracket One championship in a wild 6-3 win over Arizona State Thursday night. Texas (54-16) took the Bracket Two championship with a walk-off home run against in-state rival Baylor, 4-3.

"Don't Mess with Texas" has been a theme around The Longhorn State for many years. They love playing the role of the intimidators. Will that be enough against will a bunch of guys who live in state that is shaped like gun? I doubt it. This one should have everybody especially excited.

The Longhorns don't hit for power. In fact, only three starters have hit more than seven home runs through a 70-game season. Center fielder Drew Stubbs leads the team with eleven home runs. No other Texas player has hit the double digit plateau in long ball production.

The Gators have four players in double digits hone run production, and fifth player (Brian Jeroloman) who has eight to his credit.

Texas is pretty effective putting the ball into play. The Longhorns have scored 460 runs this season. The average of 6.6 runs per game is still lower than Florida's 7.3 runs per game average.

They move well on the base paths. The 'Horns have stolen 103 of 132 (78%) bases this season. Four Longhorn starters have twelve or more stolen bases this season.

They hit for a solid .303 average. Probably their greatest comparison to the Gators is that each team has somebody step up and deliver in those much needed situations.



























First baseman Chance Wheeless hit the game winning walk-off home run in the ninth against Baylor two days ago. It was only his fifth home run of the season. Wheeless hits in the cleanup position and averages .312 on the season.

Shortstop Seth Johnston hits in the three hole and for a solid average at .383. He leads the 'Horns in hits RBI's, triples, and slugging percentage. Johnston is second on the squad in stolen bases.

Catcher Taylor Teegarden is second on the team hitting at .335 average. He doesn't hit for power and only has four stolen bases this season.

The man hitting second in the lineup is most dangerous. Stubbs has stolen 32 of 38 bases this year. He is also their home run leader. Stubbs is second on the squad with 46 RBI's.

Baylor right hander Mark McCormick handcuffed the 'Horns earlier this week. McCormick is much like Florida's Alan Horne although probably more effective at this point. He throws a fastball in the low 90's and has a wicked curve ball. He mixes those two pitches as he really has nothing else. I would think a pitcher that mixes the pitches well and has at least three or four effective pitches in their repertoire would do well against the 'Horns. McCormick seemingly struggled because he only has two pitches.

Coach Pat McMahon has asked his pitching staff to allow the defense to make plays, and middle infielders Justin Tordi and Adam Davis are among the best in the country. Davis struggled early in the season, but has gotten back into the form that helped secure him Freshman All-American honors a year ago. First baseman Matt LaPorta is also a steady glove defensively. Third baseman Brandon McArthur will have to continue playing as well as he has of late defensively for the Gators to be effective.

Later today, we'll have a feature on the Texas' pitching staff.

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