Friday June 25th at 1pm CT on ESPN2
#4 Vanderbilt Commodores (47-16, 19-10 SEC)
#¯\_(ツ)_/¯ NC State Wolfpack (37-18, 19-14 ACC)
On the Mound
Vanderbilt #80 Jr. RHP Kumar “White Castle” Rocker (13-3, 2.58 ERA, 13.06 K/9, 2.90 BB/9)
NC State #29 Jr. RHP Reid “Bookish” Johnston (9-3, 4.47 ERA, 8.94 K/9, 2.14 BB/9)
*Note: Neither pitching matchups nor lineups have been released yet, but I’d be shocked if either school doesn’t give the ball to their respective Aces. Both last pitched on Saturday, so they’re as close to full rest as you’ll get in a tournament setting.
Snap Analysis and Predictions:
Just like the last time we played, Vanderbilt will have the clear advantage on the mound, but NC State has two solid lefty relievers who can wreak havoc late in the game. Offensively, it’s tough to know what to expect, as Vanderbilt has been feast or famine, whereas NC State has whupped up on all opponents who are not Vanderbilt (Jack Leiter and crew held them to 1 run, which really should have been enough to win, but here we are). Win and we stay alive to fight another day.
Offense: You know good and well how hot or cold our offense has been. You also know full well how Leiter and the pen stymied the Pack on all but one swing on Wednesday. Let’s take a look at the team offensive stats for 2021.
NC State: .287/.368/.498 with 102 2B, 14 3B, 92 HR, and 342 RBI. On the base paths, the Pack have swiped a more than respectable 74-90 bags.
Vanderbilt: .293/.384/.494 with 128 2B, 20 3B, 89 HR and 421 RBI. On the base paths, the Diamond Dores have swiped 88-100 bags (though they have not been running as much as we would like at Omaha).
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, and our offense was so bad against them on Wednesday that we made an average college pitcher look like Greg freaking Maddux, so keep that in mind with respect to the overall numbers.
Pitching: Let’s just state the obvious: if Kumar puts the team on his back, and goes all Mr. June aka RagnaRöcker, we will have a sizable advantage on the mound over Reid Johnston and the NC State pitching staff. NC State has two lefty relievers (Jr. LHP Evan Justice and Fr. LHP Chris Villaman) who can be really tough to hit, though, and we saw this first hand, as Justice stymied our bats with his arm side run two seamers late on Wednesday. We need to be prepared for anything, so let’s look at the pitching staffs of both teams as a whole.
NC State: 4.99 ERA, .238 b/avg, 8.93 K/9, 3.46 BB/9.
Vanderbilt: 3.31 ERA, .186 b/avg, 11.91 K/9, 3.61 BB/9.
Anchor of Gold Twitter Poll Prediction:
The Final Four is now set: Clanga vs. Tejas, and NC State vs. Vanderbilt. The Longhorns and Commodores will have to win two to advance, as Clanga and the Pack have yet to lose.— Omahanchor of Gold (@anchorofgold) June 25, 2021
Who do you have in our game this afternoon (1pm CT on ESPN2)?
Prediction: This is extremely tough to predict, as we just don’t know which Vanderbilt offense (or defense, really) will show up. Still, in an Ace vs. Ace battle, you’ve got to love who we’re throwing out there. Survive and advance.
See you in the comments.