Saturday June 12th at 11am CT on ESPN2
#4 Vanderbilt Commodores (44-15, 19-10 SEC)
#13 East Carolina University Pirates (43-16, 20-8 American)
On the Mound
Vanderbilt #22 So. RHP Jack “Leits Out” Leiter (9-3, 2.22 ERA, 14.76 K/9, 3.84 BB/9.)
vs. ECU #18 Fr. LHP Carson “Ken” Whisenhunt (6-1 3.75 ERA, 11.86 K/9, 2.97 BB/9.)
Snap Analysis and Predictions:
Vanderbilt took ECU’s best punch—a career defining 7&1/3IP 7H 2R 2BB 13K 111 pitch outing by flamethrower Gavin “Sideshow” Williams—and gave ECU’s Ace his first loss of the season. Though they don’t have another Gavin Williams in their rotation, do not expect the Pirates to go down without a fight. Of course, they have to face Jack “Leits Out” Leiter in an elimination game. Yikes.
Offense: ECU’s offense was shut down by Rocker, Maldonado, and Murphy, but they’re certainly capable of more when not facing a top of the first round pitcher. Unfortunately for them, that’s exactly what Jack Leiter is, as well. Still, let’s take a look at the team offensive stats for 2021 (pasted in from yesterday’s game thread).
ECU: .300/.392/.472 with 97 2B, 8 3B, 75 HR, and 364 RBI. On the base paths, the Pirates have swiped 60-91 bags.
Vanderbilt: .300/.390/.510 with 123 2B, 20 3B, 86 HR and 403 RBI. On the base paths, the Diamond Dores have swiped 84-96 bags (though, admittedly, most of that is uber-freshman CF Enrique “Shockwave” Bradfield, Jr.).
As you can see, on paper, these look like near mirror-images, except the Commodores have the clear power advantage, and will “Rique” more havoc when they reach base. On top of that, you must account for relative competition levels faced, and lend more weight to the team who had to battle through the meat-grinder that is SEC conference play over the team who got to hit off American Conference pitching.
ECU’s offense, especially at the top of the order, is more than formidable. Vanderbilt’s is just a tad better.
Pitching: Both teams’ Aces went deep, so both will have their pens fully stocked for Game Two. As predicted, Gavin Williams pretty much went blow for blow with Kumar Rocker. Rocker was just slightly better. Today, Vanderbilt will have the clear advantage on the mound, as the drop off from Rocker to Leiter is nothing and the drop off from Williams to Whisenhunt is substantial.
Let’s take a look at their team pitching stats. Again, you will want to adjust in your head for the SEC vs. American Conference competition factor (pasted in from yesterday’s game thread).
ECU: 4.06 ERA, .240 b/avg, 10.51 K/9, 3.47 BB/9.
Vanderbilt: 3.47 ERA, .187 b/avg, 11.79 K/9, 3.72 BB/9.
Advantage: Vanderbilt. With Williams no longer available, this goes from a solid advantage to a massive advantage for the Diamond Dores.
Anchor of Gold Twitter Poll Prediction:
Vanderbilt takes Game One 2-0. Who's winning Game Two?— unlimited baseball scholarships blog (@anchorofgold) June 11, 2021
Prediction: We got through their Ace. Their day two starter is a big flame-throwing lefty. He’s good, but he’s not on Jack Leiter’s level. Expect to win this one, though it may be another low-scoring affair.
See you in the comments.