Monday June 21st at 6pm CT on ESPN
#4 Vanderbilt Commodores (46-15, 19-10 SEC)
#¯\_(ツ)_/¯ NC State Wolfpack (36-18, 19-14 ACC)
On the Mound
Vanderbilt #22 So. RHP Jack “Leits Out” Leiter (10-3, 2.16 ERA, 14.63 K/9, 3.84 BB/9.)
vs. NC State #17 Fr. RHP Sam “Open Land Where Yew-Trees Grow” Highfill (8-2, 3.98 ERA, 8.06 K/9, 2.51 BB/9.)
Snap Analysis and Predictions:
Vanderbilt has the clear advantage on the mound, but NC State has two solid lefty relievers who can wreak havoc late in the game. Offensively, both teams are strong, but NC State has been on a bit of a tear of late. Who will stay in the winner’s bracket and get some much needed rest? Who will have to fight for their postseason lives against Stansbury? Let’s look a bit closer.
Offense: Both teams are more than solid offensively, but NC State did manage to solve the riddle of Arky’s pitching in Supers and whoop up on Stansbury 10-4 in Game One in Omaha. You’ve really got to pitch around 3 hole hitter #14 Jr. LF Johnny “The Butler Did It” Butler (.385/.459/.682 with 12 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, and 53 RBI), as not only has he been hot all year, but he’s been particularly good this postseason. Let’s take a look at the team offensive stats for 2021.
NC State: .289/.371/.501 with 102 2B, 14 3B, 91 HR, and 341 RBI. On the base paths, the Pack have swiped a more than respectable 74-90 bags.
Vanderbilt: .297/.388/.501 with 128 2B, 20 3B, 88 HR and 416 RBI. On the base paths, the Diamond Dores have swiped 87-99 bags (though, admittedly, most of that is uber-freshman CF Enrique “Shockwave” Bradfield, Jr.).
As you can see, on paper, the Commodores and Wolfpack are pretty evenly matched, offensively, with Vanderbilt having the slight advantage in AVG, OBP, 2B, 3B, Stolen Bases, and a sizable advantage on RBI/Runs Scored. The Pack have hit 3 more dingers than the Dores. Again, most of these are slight advantages, though 2B, Stolen Bases, and most clearly RBI/Runs Scored tilts pretty favorable towards the Diamond Dores.
The only caveat here is that NC State has been much better as the season has progressed, so keep that in mind with respect to the overall numbers.
Advantage: Vanderbilt by a slight margin.
Pitching: If Jack goes all “Leits Out,” Sam Highfill is not the guy to match him inning for inning in a pitcher’s duel. If the unthinkable happens, and this becomes a staff game, NC State has two lefty relievers (Jr. LHP Evan Justice and Fr. LHP Chris Villaman) who can be really tough to hit—though their closer, Justice, pitched 3 IP on Saturday, so he might only be able to go an inning. We need to be prepared for anything, so let’s look at the pitching staffs of both teams as a whole.
NC State: 5.08 ERA, .241 b/avg, 8.93 K/9, 3.47 BB/9.
Vanderbilt: 3.36 ERA, .185 b/avg, 11.84 K/9, 3.63 BB/9.
Advantage: Vanderbilt. This one’s not remotely close.
Anchor of Gold Twitter Poll Prediction:
What about our game? Who's winning the nightcap between Vanderbilt and NC State (6pm CT ESPN)?— Omahanchor of Gold (@anchorofgold) June 21, 2021
Prediction: Though every game this time of year will be tough, Jack Leiter gives Vanderbilt the edge in this one. Beyond that, Vanderbilt’s offense produces more runs per game than the Wolfpack’s. Expect to win this one if Jack Leiter performs to the back of his baseball card and stays away from The Butler’s potent bat.
See you in the comments.