June 5, 2014

Say Hello to the Charlottesville SUPER Regional!

It's Maryland.  Oh God, of course it's Maryland.

Replete with horrendous bullshit Bay-area camo.

So now we get to either suffer the humiliating fate of losing to these camouflaged assholes from this clown college, or bask in the joy of slam dunking them the fuck out of the NCAA Baseball Tournament and the ACC altogether.  It's either lose huge or win big.  Fall woefully short of meeting expectations, or meet our expectations and advance - as one of the presumptive favorites - to the College World Series in Omaha.  There is no middle ground.  There is no amiable compromise.  Win... or disaster of epic proportions.  We're carrying the banner for the ACC this weekend, in many, many ways.

Yeah, Maryland is hot right now.  Red hot.  WHITE hot.  But fuck it, dude. We've been building this program for a decade, and we're too freaking loaded with talent and experience to lose to a team of hacks like the Terps.

I think Maryland will have a lot of "just happy to be here" going on this weekend, while we come out ready to go to work. That can be a real positive for us... but it can also quickly degrade into unwanted pressure on the favorite, if, say, we fall behind early with Kirby on the mound in game 1.  Maryland's "happy to be here" could also help them play slick and loose; to drive fast and take chances... which can make an already-dangerous offense that much more dangerous.  It's a tricky situation for the Hoos, no doubt.

Kirby is ready.
Ultimately, I think the cream rises to the top and we sweep 'em on to the garbage bin where they belong.

We banged out 10 hits on [Maryland ace] Jake Stinnett in Greensboro. We lost the game, but we got into him. His 130 Ks this season is an impressive total, but his stuff is hittable. It's good that we've already seen him once this season - and recently!  (Plus, it's not like our bats are ice cold or anything, rolling out of the Regional.  We plated 22 runs on 29 hits against some damn fine Bucknell and Arkansas pitching.)

I think Maryland's #2 starter Mike Shawaryn is more ace-like than Stinnett, but he doesn't scare me either.

Their hitters have been white-hot, but our pitchers are ready for the challenge.  These games will be different than the Arkansas games, but I'm comfortable with us winning a 7-4 type of game.

Maryland's ACC series wins came against NC State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, and Pitt.  They took series losses against FSU, UNC, Clemson, Wake, Virginia Tech, and Boston College (who swept them).  They had a good season, but let's not go crazy.  They didn't have a great season.

The more I look at it, the more I love this matchup for the Hoos. The Terps are less talented and less experienced, and new to this stage.  They're hot right now... but so what?  Are they going to win the national championship?  Of course not.  So they're going to lose at some point.  Let's steamroll these punks on our way to Omaha, and send Maryland on their way out of the ACC with the toilet bowl *plop* they deserve.

Read more about the Super Regional here:

There's also Jeff White's piece from yesterday:

I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself with all of this commentary!  Here's the damn Super Regional schedule for this weekend...
  • Saturday at 12:00 noon (ESPN2)
  • Sunday at 12:00 noon (ESPN2)
  • If necessary -- Monday at 4 PM (ESPN2)

The format is simple -- win two of the three games, and advance to Omaha.

Let's just make it a bit easier on ourselves than we did last time...

Earlier, I mentioned that we might be one of the presumptive favorites in the College World Series.  Here's where I'm getting that radical idea.

In a topsy-turvy, upset-heavy Regional round, national seed #1 (Oregon State), #2 (Florida), #4 (Indiana), #5 (FSU), and #8 (LSU) were dumped from the postseason.  Now it's only #3 UVA, #6 LA-Lafayette, and #7 TCU left standing.

Remaining teams (and their final USA Today Rankings):
#1 Louisiana-Lafayette
#4 Virginia
#7 Oklahoma State
#9 Louisville
#10 TCU
#14 Vanderbilt
#15 Houston
#17 Ole Miss
#20 Texas
#23 Texas Tech
#24 Pepperdine
Others Receiving Votes - Maryland, College of Charleston, Stanford
No Mention - Kennesaw State, UC Irvine

There are still a lot of very talented teams floating around out there --- but Virginia has to be considered one of the MOST talented.

Nothing can suss that out any better than taking a look at the MLB Draft, which begins today.  Give me one more click and visit:

It looks like we'll see Mike Papi, Derek Fisher, and Nick Howard drafted pretty early, with Branden Cogswell, Brandon Downes, Artie Lewicki, Nasty Nate Irving, Kenny Towns and Whit Mayberry lingering to the middle/late rounds.  That's a load of upperclassmen talent we'll be shuttling off to the professional ranks... but not before the nine of them have their say in this Super Regional and [hopefully] in Omaha.

Am I forgetting anything?

Oh, let me take a stab at predicting our rotation for this weekend.

Saturday -- Nathan Kirby.  For obvious reasons.  We need to get off on the right foot, take that 1-0 series lead and give ourselves two chances to claim the second win.  Plus, we need an ├╝ber-ace like Kirbs to throw some cold water on that Maryland offense, and hopefully cool them off a bit.  I assume UMD will pitch Stinnett, which gives us a huge advantage since we've already seen that dude.

Sunday -- Brandon Waddell.  Would be good to go ahead and close the door in two games, since the Terps shelled Artie Lewicki in Greensboro.  I obviously like Kirby's chances to win game 1, and I similarly like [former UVA ace] Waddell to win game 2.

Monday -- Josh Sborz.  This is just a guess.  I don't think we'd give Maryland another crack at Lewicki, and reports are that Sborz has been killing it in postseason practices.

Add in a liberal scoop of Nick Howard and Whit Mayberry, then shake until smooth.

Bring on the Terps.


Bonus Section!  Kendall's picks for the Super Regionals!
  • Stanford over Vanderbilt in 3
  • Texas over Houston in 3
  • Louisville over Kennesaw State in 2
  • Oklahoma State over UC Irvine in 2
  • Virginia over Maryland in 2
  • Texas Tech over College of Charleston in 3
  • TCU over Pepperdine in 3
  • Ole Miss over LA-Lafayette in 3

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