Klauber previews Regional

GamecockAnthem.com baseball expert John Klauber provides the most in-depth preview you will find anywhere of the three teams the South Carolina Gamecocks host in the Columbia Regional this weekend. Look inside as Klauber breaks down Bucknell, Virginia Tech and The Citadel, and gives his opinion on who will advance to the Super Regionals.

Columbia, S.C. Regional
BUCKNELL BISON (25-33 overall, 8-12 Patriot League; 12-21 away, 6-3 neutral)
Current winning streak: 2 games
Longest winning streak: 4 games
Longest losing streak: 6 games

Bucknell played the tournament of their lives; they beat the opposition on their respective fields... Army in West Point and Holy Cross in Worchester, Mass. They were the #4 seed in a four team tournament which forces its lower ranked participants to play on the higher rated participant's field. It was anticipated that Army would win this event going away... especially since they were the conference number 1 seed. But Bucknell beat them 2 out of 3 and the Black Knights were eliminated early in the tournament. Bucknell turned its attention to Worchester and headed its bus to Fitten Field on Holy Cross' campus and beat them 2 out of 3 in some nail biting games (7-8, 4-3, 12-7).

Bucknell has never faced the two South Carolina teams in our Regional Tournament... South Carolina and The Citadel. They rarely play in front of crowds larger than 300 people; home attendance averages about 120. Total attendance, about 263 people, for home and away games in 2010. The large crowd at Tallahassee Florida in 2008 didn't deter them from playing spoiler against Florida State, to the tune of an 8-0 score. A few Bison players remember that day in Tallahassee well... namely Ben Allen and Ben Yoder, both had two hits against FSU and will face the Gamecocks Friday night. The hero of that game was their senior pitcher (graduated and gone) Mathew Wilson, who pitched a six hit beauty of a shutout against the Noles.

The tale of the Bison tape this year has been that they can ill-afford to allow their opponent to get +6 runs on them, especially if the opponent jumps on them early. Their record of wins with their opponent leading after six innings is 4-27; tied (after six innings), 1-4. They also have to expect their pitching to not give up many long balls, as their record with opponents going yard on them is pretty drastic (+2 Home runs scored against the Bison... 3-8) .

This will be Carolina's challenge when they take the field against the Bison... neutralize Bison pitching early by connecting on hits for runs, hopefully using some "gorilla ball" tactics in our own ballpark. This should be text book material for Coach Tanner and crew and I think we will see a bit of a clinic put on by the Gamecocks this weekend. The Bison are a four-seed for a reason though. That reason is called spoiler; it only takes one game for them to do just that. Bucknell does control our destiny to an extent. Should Bucknell win this game, Carolina is forced to play six games over the Regional weekend. You do not want to do that with Virginia Tech and The Citadel waiting and ready for you on the other end of a loss.

How Coach Tanner prepares for Bucknell and who our pitcher will be to take them on will be carefully planned out. You don't necessarily have to use a cannon to kill a fly, but you have to be aware that the fly can bite and bleed you to death with 1,000 bites. I expect we will see someone other than Cooper or Dyson in game #1. Coach Tanner gets paid to make those decisions and I am confident that he can make it without my input.... or anyone else's for that matter.

Bucknell's line-up of hitters are very good, especially 1-5. They bring experience (four seniors, one junior) from past post-season play. Most can hit the cover off the ball if you dial in a "mistake" pitch. They can make you pay; their top five is as talented a unit as you will find in Division 1 baseball. The team hits collectively for a .313 batting average against their opponents (opponents hit .312 against them). Our collective team batting average dropped below .300 after Hoover (.299 Yardcock team batting average) and I don't expect it to stay sub-300 for long this weekend. Bison fielding is a collective .972 fielding percentage, which is solid (Yardcocks team fielding is currently .975). Here are their numbers:

1, Ben Allen, SS (L-R, Sr.). Lead-off batter; .326BA, 239AB, 49r, 78h, 1HR, 25RBI, .444SP, 16w, 17so, .378obp.

28, B.J. LaRosa, C (R-R, Sr.). 2nd slot; .374BA, 195AB, 42r, 73h, 4HR, 34RBI, .487SP, 25w, 18so, .452obp.

2, Ben Yoder, 2B (L-R, Sr.). 3rd slot; .393BA, 173AB, 47r, 68h, 10HR, 46RBI, .659SP, 16w, 14so, .447obp.

24, Andrew Brouse, RF (R-R, Sr.). 4th slot; .368BA, 204AB, 58r, 75h, 17HR, 52RBI, .691SP, 29w, 32so, .475obp.

26, Doug Schribman, 1B (R-R, Jr.). 5th slot; .364BA, 209AB, 42r, 76h, 20HR, 60RBI, .737SP, 19w, 50so, .426obp.

42, Drew Constable, LF (R-R, Jr.). 6th slot; .299BA, 184AB, 29r, 55h, 4HR, 34RBI, .386SP, 15w, 21so, .370obp.

23, Bob Donato, CF (L-L, So.). 7th slot; .305BA, 190AB, 35r, 58h, 6HR, 29RBI, .495SP, 12w, 37so, .353obp.

4, Matt Lamore, DH (L-R, So.). 8th slot; .293BA, 92AB, 10r, 27h, 3HR, 16RBI, .446SP, 6w, 16so, .347obp.

11, David Duffett, 3B (R-R, So.). 9th slot; .227BA, 176AB, 37r, 40h, 4HR, 19RBI, .330SP< 13w, 43so, .291obp.

Bucknell's pitching relies on the arms of Friday starter #21 Dylan Seeley ([L-R; RHP, Jr.]; 5-3, 4.03ERA, 13App, 82.2IP, 92h, 43r[37e], 20w, 48Ks, .288oba) Saturday starter #32 Trey Frahler ([R-R; RHP, Jr.]; 4-6, 6.53ERA, 13App, 73IP, 102h, 56r[53e], 34w, 55Ks,.334oba) and Sunday's man, #31 Jack Boehm ([R-R, RHP, So.]; 4-3, 6.22, 12App, 59.1IP, 85h, 45r[41e], 15w, 24Ks, .337oba). They rely on long relief from #35 Ryan Ebner ([L-L, LHP, So.] 3-0, 4.94ERA, 14App, 27.1IP, 31h, 18r[15e], 12w, 20Ks, .301oba) and he has been very effective for them particularly in long middle relief and closing games.

#22, Steve Carlin ([R-R, RHP, Jr.] 3-5, 8.51ERA, 2SV, 15App, 37IP, 44h, 38r[35e], 24w,39Ks, .308oba) typically comes in as Bucknell's closer, along with #4 Matt Lamore ([L-R, RHP, So.] 1 Save), #15 Daniel Hart ([R-R, RHP, Jr.] 1 save) and #27 Michael Dallanegra ([L-L, LHP, Sr.] 1 save). Lamore and Hart see quite a bit of action as short term relief for Bucknell's pitching staff, their specialty is to work around difficult situations in key innings as Bucknell's (pitching) "firemen". Dallanegra ([L-L, LHP, Sr.] 1-1, 20App, 20.1IP, 14h, 9r[6e], 10w, 7Ks.215oba) is used when a left-handed relief pitcher is needed to close and he has been quite successful for them.

Collectively, this staff doesn't have a handsome ERA at 6.10; it is almost double the Yardcock team ERA of 3.62. Quite honestly, it is good enough to string some innings together to produce a win (see winning streaks, above). That is what made them a dangerous team for Florida State in '08 and is precisely what makes Bison pitchers dangerous for Carolina in this Regional. If they can string together 27 outs with limited production by the home team on a Friday night in Columbia... in front of a packed house, then they have lived up to their billing as spoilers.

This is not unlike what our guys experienced in Hoover... against pitchers with an established reputation within our conference... last weekend. I am sure our guys are determined not to repeat the same consequences this weekend, starting with Friday's game... if they can help it. The loser's bracket from a Friday night loss provides any team with an awfully deep hole from which to dig. You can count on the fact that Bucknell and other opposing pitching staffs will be working against us this weekend; they could have something to do with our production, we will see. Bucknell gets first crack.
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (38-20 overall, 16-14 ACC; 11-11 away, 3-2 neutral)
Current winning streak: 2 games (before loss to NCSU at Tournament)
Longest winning streak: 9 games (2/21-3/9)
Longest losing streak: 4 games (5/16-22)

Virginia Tech did pretty well in last weekend's ACC round-robin Tournament. They were among the bottom four teams that had to play four of the top ACC teams. They beat #6 Georgia Tech convincingly with a 6-2 score in game 1. They beat #16 Clemson in a close one, 9-8. They faltered in their game against North Carolina State. NC State was the bracket winner that beat all teams in their bracket and advanced to the Tourney Championship against FSU. But Virginia Tech made a statement... which was an accomplishment of a team goal... to make the Regionals and continue to press on and improve each week in post-season play. So far, they have done well with their goals.

Virginia Tech returns to post season baseball play (since 2000), when they come to the Columbia Regional this weekend. This return renews an old rivalry between two Metro Conference teams that saw each other quite a bit during the regular season and post-season play in the 80s. The last time Virginia Tech and South Carolina met was at The Sarge in '93 where they split a pair of games, 1-1. The all-time record between the two teams is close at 32-31, in the Gamecocks favor. The first time these two teams met was in 1910 in Blacksburg, Va... a 4-1 Gamecock win. There is a pattern of closeness between the two teams that (usually) seems to be in the Yardcocks favor. Let's hope that remains the case this weekend.

This isn't your grandfather's or father's Virginia Tech team. They are striving to improve their game under Head Coach Pete Hughes (Davidson, '90) who is in his fourth season with the Hokies and has a long running contract until the end of the 2014 season. Coach Hughes' current record at VT is 78-84; but his '09 record of 32-21 (.604 winning percentage) is the best winning percentage the program has had since '99 (42-17; .712 w.p.). Make no mistake, this Hokie team is taking one game at a time and hoping that approach will bring them to Omaha.

The Hokies baseball program was always a very good program from the days of Metro Conference play to Big East... now they are becoming competitive in the ACC as evidenced from their tournament results. This year, it was a team capable of going to Atlanta in regular season play and taking two games out of three from (#3) Ga. Tech; it was a team capable of going to Chapel Hill and sweeping the (#26) Tar heels. It was a team capable of taking two of three from (#9) Miami in Blacksburg. They were also victims to some ugly losses, namely their lone loss to Kentucky at the Stouffer Classic in Conway and Clemson's sweep of the Hokies in Clemson, two teams that gave us fits this year. Bottom line, they have won more than they've lost in a pretty competitive baseball conference this year (16-14), that ain't bad... at all.

The Hokie bats are a good part of their overall success. They are hitting a team average .322 (opponents team average: .261)... which is very good. Their team on-base percentage is also very good at .401 (opponents averaging .337obp against them; Yardcocks have a team .393obp). Their fielding is a very respectable team fielding percentage of .965; here is a look at their batting order, starter stats and in-field positions/player:

3, Sean Ryan, CF (R-R, Rs-Sr.). Lead-off Batter; .322BA, 230AB, 47r, 74h, 1HR, 27RBI, .409SP, 20w, 29so, .396obp.

5, Michael Seaborn, 2B (R-R, Rs-Jr.). 2nd slot; .284BA, 218AB, 39r, 62h, 7HR, 44RBI, .445SP, 20w, 35so, .349obp.

26, Steve Domecus, C (R-R, Rs-Sr.). 3rd slot; .371BA, 237AB, 59r, 88h, 12HR, 58RBI, .646SP, 15w, 28so, .433obp.

21, Austin Wates, RF (R-R, Jr.). 4th slot; .373BA, 209AB, 57r, 78h, 8HR, 51RBI, .593SP, 34w, 29so, .486obp.

29, Ronnie Shaban, 1B (L-R, So.). 5th slot; .355BA, 220AB, 51r, 78h, 8HR, 63RBI, .577SP, 33w, 42so, .450obp.

8, Tim Smalling, SS (R-R, Rs-Jr.). 6th slot; .354BA, 195AB, 49r, 69h, 7HR, 35RBI, .569SP, 15w, 38so, .406obp.

20 Andrew Rash, DH, LF. (R-R, RsFr.). 8th slot (LF); .395BA, 76AB, 18r, 30h, 6HR, 15RBI, .737SP, 4w, 16so, .446obp.

7, Buddy Sosnoskie, LF, DH. (R-R, Sr.). 7th slot (DH); .346BA, 185AB, 43r, 64h, 10HR, 40RBI, .584SP, 12w, 24so, .396obp.

10, Tony Balisteri, 3B (R-R, Jr.). 9th slot; .206BA, 102AB, 18r, 21h, 3HR, 13RBI, .343SP, 11w, 27so, .283obp.

36, Brent Zimmerman, 3b alt. (R-R, Fr.). 9th slot; .353BA, 34AB, 12r, 12h, 1HR, 10RBI, .559SP, 11w, 5so, .521obp.

Your pitching staff cannot be tenuous with this group of hitters. Virginia Tech hitting features a good mix of seasoned vets and some newcomers that are contributors. They have the capacity to hit the ball around the park, but minimally out of it. They have had only 76 home runs this year ...Yardcocks have had 82 round trippers. They hit mostly for on-base percentage and they hit to advance runs home. They do it well.

It is typical ACC baseball and we saw it when we played Clemson this year. This team compares favorably to the Tigers in a lot of aspects. The way Virginia Tech hits... it's strength from 1-9, its ability to switch some good hitters off of the bench and get rotation without sacrificing much is key for their post season success. They are coming in after a disappointing loss to NCSU, but they beat GIT and Clemson to get to their game with NCSU. They will play to win this regional, by whatever means necessary.

Their pitching staff may be the key for Virginia Tech. Collectively, Virginia Tech pitching averages a 4.67 ERA this year, which is not bad. It reminds me of our staff in '08 that finished its season in Raleigh; our '08 pitching staff had a 4.36 group ERA. It was one of the primary reasons why we didn't get past the Raleigh Regional for a rematch with UGA in Athens in '08. That could be the case for Virginia Tech this year. Their efforts may sputter with the third, fourth, fifth or maybe even their sixth game... just as it did for us in '08.

That is why Coach Holbrook and Coach Calvi have worked very hard over the past two years (since June 1st, '08) to get us what we have today. Most importantly, it highlights the difference between a pitching staff with a mere 1.00 point between them (VT: 4.67ERA)... and their opponent (USC: 3.62ERA). Consider these two pitching staffs; one with a team ERA in the mid 4.00's versus another with a team ERA in the mid 3.00s.

The latter staff can go much deeper in more games during a single weekend series. It has everything to do with the pitchers behind their weekend starters and what they can contribute. The Regionals set up well for a team with pitching because it is an extended tourney series completed in four days. Coaches get to know (or find out) in definite terms what can be done with their pitching staff... well before an extended series in Omaha. The Super Regional does not provide this opportunity for coaches as it is the best two games out of three. Remember Coach Holbrook's twitter comment: "five one game winning streaks away". In the post season, especially during Regionals, it is almost always pitching that will help you win games because it will keep you in them. It provides secure protection for leads. It is usually the case where the best pitcher of the day is the one doing a better job of controlling his mistakes.

Virginia Tech's pitching staff relies on the Friday efforts of their main man... #24, Justin Wright ([L-L, LHP, Jr.]; 8-4, 3.59ERA, 15App, 92.2IP, 72h, 45r[37e], 32w, 95Ks, .226oba). Wright went the distance in Va. Tech's win over Georgia Tech in ACC Tourney play last weekend. He had a spectacular complete game, giving up only four hits and two runs (both were homers), two walks and 15 strike outs. Wright will get the start today while #14 Mathew Price ([R-R, RHP, So.]; 7-3, 4.59ERA, 15App, 84.1IP, 88h, 49r[43e], 25w, 82Ks, .268oba) will start Saturday. If VT manages to win two games in a row, their Sunday guy, #22 Jesse Hahn ([R-R, RHP, Jr.]; 5-4, 3.86ERA, 15App, 70IP, 69h, 38r[30e], 20w, 74Ks, .260oba) would probably go in the third (Sunday) game. All pitching orders are susceptible to change to provide the best match-up between pitcher and batter, but these are typically the weekend starters for Virginia Tech.

Their ace closer is #28 Ben Rowen ([R-R, RHP, Sr.]; 5-2, 3.02ERA, 35App [5SV], 47.2IP, 40h, 19r,[16e], 9w, 58ks, .182oba), Rowen is a tall (6'4") submarine style pitcher and has served the Hokies well in that roll getting them 5 saves to date and averaging about 1.3 strikeouts/inning. Usually before Rowan is inserted they will use middle relief pitcher #16 Sean McDermott ([L-L, LHP, Jr.]; 1-1, 3.79ERA, 13App, 19IP, 21h, 8r[8e], 5w, 12Ks, .296oba) to serve-hold the opponent's bats. If not McDermott, they will rely on the arms of #40 Joe Mantiply ([R-L, LHP, Fr.]; 3-1, 5.67ERA, 21App, 54IP, 63h, 37r[34e], 17w, 55Ks, .296oba), #11 Mark Zecchino ([R-R, RHP, Rs-So.]; 1-1, 4.83ERA, 13App, 41IP, 35h, 26r[22e],15w, 24Ks, .236oba) or #34 Jake Joyce ([R-R, RHP, Fr.]; 1-0, 5.82ERA, 14App, 17IP, 20h, 12r[11e], 9w, 21Ks, .299oba).

VT Pitchers Mantiply, #30 Manny Martir ([R-R, RHP, Jr.]; 3-3, 7.84ERA, 11App, 31IP, 32h, 29r[27e], 20w, 36Ks, .262oba) and #37 Patrick Scoggin ([R-R, RHP, Fr.]; 1-1, 9.00ERA, 8App, 19IP, 28h, 22r[19e], 12w, 18Ks, .341oba) are listed as pitchers with +3 starts (weekday mostly), but Martir and Scoggin's ERAs/no. innings pitched would suggest that their time on the bump as starters was pretty brief.
THE CITADEL (42-20 overall, 24-6 So. Con.; 15-10 away, 0-0 neutral)
Current winning streak: 12
Longest winning streak: 12
Longest losing streak: 4


As noted above, The Citadel comes into Columbia playing the best ball to date with a 12 game winning streak. The Citadel has faced South Carolina in NCAA Tournament play five times (in the current post-season format) with the Gamecocks coming out on top in all five match-ups. This bulldog team expects to win, but more importantly they have all of the necessary tools to go the distance in this Regional. They possess a pretty deep pitching staff; they possess a portion of the best hitting in the Southern Conference. Head Coach Fred Jordan has done well by his alma mater; this could be the team and the year that Citadel baseball has been waiting for... if they can win the Columbia Regional. They will receive a stout test on Friday when they face Virginia Tech at 2pm.

Asher Wojciechowski was recently named to the list of 30 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award; Blake Cooper was left off the list of Golden Spike semifinalists. Asher Wojciechowski was named SoCon Pitcher of the Year; Blake earned first team all SEC honors for his stellar 10-1 record, which was the best record of any pitcher in the conference this year. Something tells me these two are destined to compete this Saturday... as long as both teams advance into the winner's column.

It will be an epic battle and I think it will be one that surpasses the Pomeranz/Cooper battle a little over a month ago. "Wojo" has been unstoppable in his starts; Coop has been tough as nails to hit and has lacked offensive production to get him some recent wins which he deserved. I get a feeling both coaching staffs want to see this match-up; both want to see how deep their respective aces can dig from within to deliver.

The Citadel is the top tough nut that comes from the little ole Southern Conference... small conference that plays big baseball. They typically lose games where they are out-hit by the opponent, or where an opponent scores more than ten runs on Citadel pitching. In fact, if you can get them to trail you after the third inning, your chances of beating them increase as innings are played... as long as you can match their production. They are as impressive as any team and it is a shame that they are a 3rd seed team. Bottom line, Virginia Tech cannot get caught up thinking about scenarios beyond Friday night's match-up because The Citadel is good enough to force VT into the loser's bracket on Saturday. Personally, I am glad we didn't have to face the Bulldogs on a Friday night because I couldn't guarantee what the outcome would be. VT's game better be on when they hit the field at 2pm this Friday.

Citadel hitting can confound the best of pitchers and pitching coaches. They have some big sticks and have sticks that are made to advance runs. Ironically, as it stands today, South Carolina and The Citadel's team batting averages are identical (.299). Citadel batters do better against right handed starters (34-15) than they do against left-handed starters (8-5). Their batting order features balance... good hitting from lead-off to the #5 man and a good hitter at the bottom of the line-up, to set up the order during a game.

Hitters 6-8 provide opposing pitchers an opportunity to register a couple of K's, but they (6-8) are very capable of getting on base to extend an inning. Plenty of opportunity to get base runners on with batters bringing them home. They are aggressive on the base pads and feature five players with a +.80 stolen base percentage. Once on, they will make you work to get them out.

Their starting batting order hasn't gotten much down time this season as most have had +220 at bats during the season. Seven players have started at least 61games this year (out of 62 games played); their team fielding percentage is a respectable .962. Here is The Citadel's batting order, positions played in the field and the top five on-base percentage hitters:

8, Nick Orvin, CF (R-R, So.). Lead-off batter; .341BA, 249AB, 65r, 85h, 7HR, 29RBI, 41w, 44so, .441obp.

7, Brad Felder, DH (L-L, Rs So.). 2 slot; .264BA, 231AB, 56r, 61h, 11HR, 32RBI, 25w, 64so.

11, Matt Simonelli, RF (R-R, Rs Jr.). 3 slot; 315BA, 238AB, 50r, 75h, 5HR, 58RBI, 27w, 26so, .402obp.

23, Bryan Altman, 2B (R-R, Rs Sr.). 4th slot; .329BA, 237AB, 58r, 78h, 13HR, 66RBI, 20w, 24so, .383obp.

2, Justin Mackert, 1B (R-R, So.). 5th slot; .338BA, 228AB, 46r, 77h, 5HR, 37RBI, 31w, 35so, .424obp.

12, Kyle Jordan, SS (R-R, Sr.). 6th slot; .274BA, 241AB, 29r, 66h, 5HR, 41RBI, 10w, 61so.

14, David Greene, 3B (R-R, So.). 7th slot; .292BA, 240AB, 29r, 70h, 6HR, 53RBI, 25w, 50so.

36, Grant Richards, C (R-R, Rs So.). 8th slot; .261BA, 115AB, 13r, 30h, 1HR, 20RBI, 8w, 20so.

29, William Ladd, LF (R-R, Rs So.). 9th slot; .296BA, 223AB, 42r, 66h, 2HR, 25RBI, 10w, 39so, .364obp.

When you say Citadel pitching, you've said "Wojciechowski"... which is actually easier to type than it is to say! Wojo could play at any level with any team. Friday starter, #9 Asher Wojciechwski ([R-R, RHP, Jr]; 12-2, 3.25ERA, 16App, 119IP, 102h, 51r[43e], 31w, 144Ks, .228oba) is a big-framed right hander with good presence on the mound; comes in with a blazing fastball that touches 94 mph. Although his fastball has below-average movement, he can mix it with a nice breaking pitch, typically a slider, touching the 83 mph range. He will minimally throw a change-up pitch... the change-up isn't among his best pitches. He has good control of his pitches with good location and will be a top draft prospect in the 2010 draft. I am providing detailed analysis on Wojo because I honestly feel we will see him on Saturday.

Other weekend starters (based on recent SoCon Tourney play) include Saturday man, #6 Matt Talley ([L-L, LHP, Jr.]; 7-3, 3.79, 15App, 97.1IP, 95h, 55r[41e], 32w, 82Ks,.249oba) and Sunday starter #1 Michael Clevinger ([R-R, RHP, Fr.]; 5-2 15App, 85IP, 106h, 50r[49e], 34w, 73Ks, .313oba); Clevenger pitched in game #3 (second game against Elon) in the SoCon Tournament. Talley and Wojo could be switched in rotation for this weekend... Talley's last start was 5/27 against Elon (game #1); he pitched 8.1 innings. Wojo started in games 1 & 4 (5/26, 5/30) and pitched 8 innings in both games over a five day period. A Saturday start would give Wojo six days rest (5/30-6/5) and gives them an even odds shot at us... if and only if they can beat Virginia Tech on Friday. It is a roll of the dice on Citadel's part; I could see them doing it based upon the use of their starters and based upon other options they have out of the bullpen.

Weekday starters like #5 Austin Pritcher ([R-R, RHP, Fr.]; 3-3, 6.18ERA, 11App, 39.1IP,47h, 35r[27e],20w, 18Ks) and #3 T.J. Clarkson ([R-R, RHP, So.]; 1-4, 6.48ERA, 13App, 41.2IP, 48h, 38r[30e], 17w, 39Ks) should provide some starting depth if the Bulldogs falter abit at the start. I recall Pritcher giving us four solid innings of pitching when he pitched against us in Charleston. I think he and Clarkson could benefit from the work of middle relievers #25 Raymond Copenhaver ([R-R, RHP, Sr.]; 3-1, 3.44ERA, 32App, 34IP, 33h, 18r[13e], 14w, 28Ks) and #13 Matt Reifsnider ([R-R, RHP, Sr.]; 2-1, 3.91ERA, 28App [1SV], 53IP, 64h, 25r[23e], 6w, 38Ks).

Although he hasn't started, #10 Chris Boyce ([R-R, RHP, Sr.]; 5-0, 4.94ERA, 21App, 27.1IP, 36h, 19r[15e], 12w, 23Ks) has done a nice job of providing relief. it could be with his body of work and his seniority (as a senior) he could get a look as a starter... nothing is outof the realm of possibility when you are faced with a five/six game set to be played in four days. One thing all Bulldog fans can be sure of is that #28 Drew Mahaffey ([L-L, LHP, Jr.]; 4-3, 5.02ERA, 27App[7SV], 28.2IP, 23h, 17r[16e], 27w, 26Ks) will be brought in to close when the time comes. He has been an effective closer with 7 saves, but the number of walks (27) compared to his strikeouts (26) has to improve for post-season play.

This is a talented group of pitchers for The Citadel and as a team, their ERA is a very respectable 4.55... the second best team ERA in the tournament. South Carolina holds the overall trump card in this statistic... with a 3.62 team ERA.
IN CONCLUSION...
This is a very attractive Regional with solid teams that have gotten to this point by doing what they do best in their own particular way. The Gamecocks have much to prove to themselves after an ugly showing in Hoover. They will have their hands full doing it... but they have all of the tools to do it with and should be able to get it done at home.

Advantage: Yardcocks.


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