MSU-North Carolina Baseball Game Preview

Mississippi State and North Carolina tangle in the second game of the College World Series Friday night at 6 pm. How do they compare over the course of regional play?

Expected Starting Pitchers (comparisons are based on their last three starts) - Look for North Carolina to start senior RHP Robert Woodard (10-2, 3.01) and MSU will start junior LHP Justin Pigott (7-6, 4.40).

The ace of the staff, Woodard has thrown very well in his last three outings. In 22.0 innings, he has given up 11 runs (only 7 were earned) on 22 hits and 6 walks while striking out 17. His three-game earned run average is 2.86. He usually throws from 6 to 8 innings before giving way to one of Carolina's two closers.

Pigott has been almost as effective as Woodard, throwing 20.0 innings while giving up 8 runs (7 earned) on 19 hits and 4 walks. He has struck out 7 in the 20 innings. His ERA is 3.15.

Relief Pitching (based on the regional and super regional) - During the regionals a strong point of both teams have been their bullpens.

North Carolina primarily uses two pitchers in relief, junior RHP Rob Wooten and junior RHP Andrew Carignan. Both are used as closers and middle relief.

In North Carolina's six regional games Wooten was used in all of them, allowing 0 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks while striking out 14 in 9.2 innings. His ERA, obviously, is 0.00. NC is not afraid to throw him as many as 3 innings if necessary, then come right back with him the next day.

Although he wasn't used as often - 4 games - Carignan threw almost as many innings, 8.0. In those 8 he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and 6 walks while striking out 6. His ERA was 2.25.

Combined, the two have thrown 17.2 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 14 hits and 8 walks while striking out 20. Their ERA is 1.02.

As for MSU, they normally throw Aaron Weatherford, Ricky Bowen, John Lalor and sometimes Mitch Moreland in relief.

Weatherford is MSU's primary closer. And he appeared in 4 of MSU's 5 regional games. He allowed no runs on 1 hit and 4 walks while striking out 10 in 5.2 innings. His ERA was 0.00. His fastball is usually thrown in the 91-93 range.

Bowen, who throws in the 89-92 mph range, has almost been as effective as Weatherford. In 4 games he also gave up no runs, but allowed 3 hits and walked 2 while striking out 7 in 5.2 innings of work. His ERA is also 0.00 during that period.

Lalor, normally the long reliever, appeared in three games, giving up 4 runs (all earned) on 5 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 9 in the 6.2 innings he threw. His ERA for the three games was 5.39.

Mitch Moreland has also been used as the closer out of the bullpen. In his two game appearances he threw 1.2 innings, giving up no run, hits or walks while striking out 2.

The foursome, in 19.2 innings, have given up 4 earned runs on 9 hits and 7 walks while striking out 28. Their combined ERA for the regional games is 1.88

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in Regional Games - The last ACC team MSU faced, Clemson, was very hot hitting when they came into Starkville for the Super Regional. Ditto, North Carolina.

They have six hitters batting over .318 in regional play. Leading the group is Tim Federowicz and Seth Williams, both of whom are hitting .444. Tim is 11-for-25 with 6 RBI while Seth is 8-for-18 with 4 RBI. Reid Fronk is hitting at a .367 clip (11-for-30, 4 RBI). Josh Horton is batting .346 (9-for-26, 7 RBI) while Kyle Seager is hitting .333 (6-for-18, 3 RBI). Bringing up the rear among those batting at least .318 is Garrett Gore who is batting .318 (7-for-22), although he is tied with the most RBI at 7. Not hitting the ball so well are Chad Flack at .269 (7-for-26, 5 RBI) and Tim Fedroff at .259 (7-for-27, 3 RBI). Slumping is Dustin Ackley who is hitting at a .182 clip (4-for-22, 3 RBI).

MSU has four players hitting over the .318 mark. Joseph McCaskill is hitting .412 (7-for-17, 1 RBI). He is followed by Russ Sneed who is hitting at a .389 clip (7-for-18, 6 RBI). Mitch Moreland is batting .333 (7-for-21, 9 RBI). Brandon Turner comes in at .318 (7-for-22, 4 RBI). Edward Easley is batting .273 (6-for-22, 3 RBI) while Jeffrey Rea and Jet Butler are both hitting .263 (5-for-19). Although not one of them have came to bat more than 8 times during regional play, combined, Connor Powers, Wyn Diggs and Jeff Flagg are hitting .412 at the DH spot (Powers 2-for-5, 2 RBI; Diggs 3-for-8, 1 RBI; Flagg 2-for-4, 0 RBI). Brian LaNinfa is hitting .211 (4-for-19, 1 RBI).

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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