Wednesday June 23rd at 6pm CT on ESPN
#9 Stansbury Cardinal (39-16; 17-10 in the
Pac 10 Pac 12)
#4 Vanderbilt Commodores (46-16, 19-10 SEC)
On the Mound
Vanderbilt #42 Fr. RHP Christian “The Answer” Little (3-1, 5.02 ERA, 10.51 K/9, 3.82 BB/9.)
vs. Stansbury Johnny Wholestaff
*If I had to guess, I’ll go with #26 So. LHP Quinn “The Eskimo” Matthews (5-2, 6.02 ERA, 8.07 K/9, 4.70 BB/9) even though he threw an inning and a third in Saturday’s loss to NC State.
Who do we turn to to keep the season alive? The Answer. https://t.co/HEgKuI8q6G— Omahanchor of Gold (@anchorofgold) June 23, 2021
Snap Analysis and Predictions:
With Rocker and Leiter already spent, Vanderbilt will need true freshman RHP Christian Little to rise to the occasion as he did in the SEC Tournament. Similarly, Stansbury has used their two best pitchers, and will hope whomever they throw out there can give them at least 4 IP. Who will stay alive in the tourney and advance to try to beat NC State twice in a row? Let’s look a bit closer.
Offense: Both teams are more than capable offensively, but Stansbury did just crush Zona 14-5 in an elimination game, whereas Vandy made an okay Wolfpack pitcher look like Greg Freaking Maddux, wasting an all time effort by Jack Leiter in the process. So. CF Brock Jones and Fr. 3B Drew Bowser have anchored their lineup this postseason, but are not the only bats to keep an eye on. Let’s take a look at the team offensive stats for 2021.
Stansbury: .284/.369/.467 with 99 2B, 4 3B, 84 HR, and 349 RBI. On the base paths, the Cardinal have swiped an average 48-63 bags.
Vanderbilt: .294/.385/.496 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.).
*Note: You will not be shocked to learn that all of our slash line numbers went down and the remainder of our numbers stayed exactly the same after our 1-0 loss to NC State.
As you can see, on paper, the Commodores and Cardinal are pretty evenly matched, offensively, with Vanderbilt having the advantage in all categories. Note that Stansbury has played 7 fewer games overall.
Advantage: Push (as Stansbury’s young hitters are getting hot at the right time).
Pitching: Both teams have fired their two best bullets, and will have to rely on their less heralded arms in this one. Let’s look at the pitching staffs of both teams as a whole.
Stansbury: 4.61 ERA, .243 b/avg, 8.44 K/9, 4.05 BB/9.
Vanderbilt: 3.33 ERA, .184 b/avg, 11.91 K/9, 3.59 BB/9.
Advantage: Vanderbilt. This one’s not remotely close. Of course, this was nearly identical to the pitching advantage we had over NS State, and Jack Leiter will not be warming up in the pen today. Speaking of the bullpens, with the days off between games in Omaha, there’s really no need to look into which pitchers are burned, save for both teams’ first two starters. Everyone else will be available. Still, the nod goes to the Dores here. With the season on the line, Corbs turns to the Ace of the Future, Christian “The Answer” Little, and it has me COMPLETELY PSYCHED UP!
Anchor of Gold Twitter Poll Prediction:
What do you guys think? Will Vanderbilt or Stansbury survive to face NC State? To borrow from Stansbury's motto, both teams fan bases are likely thinking: "I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so... scared." Who wins tonight (6pm CT ESPN)?— Omahanchor of Gold (@anchorofgold) June 23, 2021
Prediction: I didn’t have a feel for this one until Christian Little was named the starter. Now, I’m amped up enough to run through a freaking brick wall. I’ll take The Answer and the Vanderbilt bullpen over Stansbury’s Johnny Wholestaff any day of the week, but if our offense performs like it did against NC State, none of that will matter. I think (emphasis on think) Vanderbilt will delete Monday’s game from their memory banks and come out strong today.
Let’s do this!
See you in the comments.