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Sunday Nashville Regional Elimination Game Thread: Atlanta vs. The Larry Birds

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2pm CT on ESPN3/WatchESPN. Two teams enter; one team leaves.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Atlanta took the first game 7-6, but it took a 5 run 7th once the Larry Birds had taken out their crafty lefty Ace. Let’s face it: These teams are quite evenly matched and this game could go either way. Here’s hoping both have to empty their bullpens.

Elimination Game: Sunday June 6th 2pm CT on ESPN3/WatchESPN

#2 Atlanta (30-24; 21-15 in the ACC)

vs.

#3 The Indiana State Fightin’ Larry Bird’s Ridiculous Moustaches (31-20, 14-10 in the Missourah Valley Conference)

On the Mound

Larry Birds Johnny Wholestaff

vs. Atlanta Johnny Wholestaff

Okay, I’ll get a bit more granular.

Here are the pitchers each team has used so far:

Larry Birds - Guererro (6 IP), Grauer (2/3 IP), Fenlong (1 & 13 IP), and Frey (9 IP).

Do not expect to see either Guererro or Frey, but the other two could come out of the pen.

Atlanta - Hurter (6 IP), Crawford (0+ IP), Maxwell (1/3 IP), Siegel (2/3 IP), Bartnicki (2 IP), Grissom (4 & 1/3 IP), Maxwell (1/3 IP) *again, Smith (3 & 1/3 IP).

Do not expect to see Hurter, Grissom, or Smith. The rest could come out of the pen.

Here are the pitchers who have started at least one game and have yet to be used for each team:

Larry Birds - #22 RS Jr. LHP Tristan “Shandy” Weaver (3-4 , 7.19 ERA, 11 starts), #44 RS Sr. RHP Javin “Hate the” Drake (2-4 , 5.79 ERA, 9 starts), #31 RS Jr. RHP Connor “Patsy” Cline (4-2 , 3.95 ERA, 6 starts), #29 Fr. RHP Joey Hurth (1-1, 4.38 ERA, 1 start), and #26 Jake “Volleyball” Wilson (0-0 , 16.20 ERA, 1 starts).

If I had to guess, the ball will be in the hands of either Tristan Shandy, The Drake, or Patsy Cline. None are particularly formidable.

Atlanta - #45 RS Jr. RHP Andy “Duchess” Archer (4-5 , 5.45 ERA, 13 starts) and Cort Roedig (0-2 , 15.63 ERA, 3 starts).

I thought they would go with Duchess last night, and still think he’s likely the guy they go with tonight.

*Note: Lineups and pitching matchups have yet to be released.

Snap Analysis and Predictions:

Going into the regional, it appeared Atlanta had the clear offensive advantage, but The Larry Birds have more than held their own at the plate. Instead of doing a whole run-down, let’s just take a look at which hitters are heating up.

Offense: Larry Birds’ leadoff man #1 RS Jr. SS Jordan Schaffer is 5-9 with 3 runs, and the man hitting behind him—#24 RS Sr. Ellison “Invisible Man” Hanna II—is an even hotter 6-8 with 5 runs and 2 2Bs. If the top of their lineup stays hot, watch out.

On the Atlanta side, 3 hole hitter #4 C Kevin Parada took Jack Leiter deep in one of only four Ramblin’ Wreck hits against the Diamond Dores. On the weekend, that’s his only hit, however. 4 Ramblin’ Wreck hitters—Gonzalez, Malloy, Jenkins, and Reid—had multi-hit games against The Larry Birds on Friday, however.

Only one of these teams had to face truly elite pitching, so I’ll factor that in.

Advantage: Push.

Pitching: As you can see if you scroll up a bit, the Larry Birds are in a better position from a pitching depth standpoint. Unfortunately, they’ve already used their only good pitcher in Friday’s loss. What would you rather have? More available pitchers (though their stats are not good), or fewer available pitchers (though their stats are decidedly meh)?

Advantage: Push.

Anchor of Gold Twitter Poll Prediction:

Elimination Game Prediction: This is about as evenly matched an elimination game as we’ll see today. The commentariat is currently voting for Atlanta at nearly a 2-1 clip. I don’t see it as that obvious. To me, it’s more of a coin flip. I’ll go with Atlanta, as they already beat the Larry Birds with their Ace on the mound, but I think it will be a close one.

See you in the comments.