So the College World Series is a few days away from kicking off in lovely Omaha, Nebraska. I began to preview North Carolina yesterday and will continue a little later in this post, but a request was given to me a few days ago to break down the strengths and weaknesses of each team in the field, so here goes. Here are notebooks of each CWS Team.



Top hitters:

1. #34 Blake Dean .359 20 HR 70 RBI
2. #9 Matt Clark .347 26 HR 61 RBI
3. #17 DJ LeMahieu .340 5 HR 42 RBI

Top pitchers:
1. Louis Coleman 7-0 1.30 ERA 48.1 innings pitched
2. Ryan Verdugo 9-3 3.90 ERA 92.1 innings pitched
3. Jared Bradford 10-4 4.50 ERA 86.0 innings pitched

Keys to victory: consistent starting pitching, timely hitting, Clark and Dean’s continued dominance

Top hitters:
1. #2 Jemile Weeks .367 11 HR 59 RBI
2. #19 Yonder Alonso 23 HR 71 RBI
3. #9 Blake Tekotte .357 11 HR 47 RBI

Top pitchers:
1. Kyle Bellamy 6-0 1.97 ERA in 59.1 innings pitched
2. Chris Hernandez 11-0 2.62 ERA in 106.1 innings pitched
3. Carlos Gutierrez 5-3 3.02 ERA 13 saves in 47.2 innings pitched

Keys to victory: The long-ball. (100 home runs as a team), finding a consistent third starter. Their current third starter sports a 4.56 ERA.


Top hitters:
1. Buster Posey .460 26 HR 92 RBI
2. Stuart Tapley .396 8 HR 39 RBI
3. Jack Rye .381 7 HR 52 RBI

Top pitchers:
1. Bo O’Dell 5-1 3.62 ERA in 54.2 innings pitched
2. Matt Fairel 12-2 3.74 ERA in 106.0 innings pitched
3. Elih Villanueve 7-3 3.79 ERA in 97.1 innings pitched

Keys to victory: Offense: The Noles have the nations top offense. Having runners on base for Buster Posey. Starting pitching — the Noles have no true “ace,” so someone has to step up and get outs.

Top hitters:
1. Gordon Beckham .401 26 HR 72 RBI
2. Rich Poythress .370 15 HR 67 RBI
3. Bryce Massanari .343 11 HR 65 RBI

Top Pitchers:
1. Joshua Fields 2-2 2.75 ERA 16 saves in 32.2 innings pitched
2. Stephen Dodson 5-4 4.25 ERA in 91.0 innings pitched
3. Trevor Holder 8-4 4.34 ERA in 87.0 innings pitched

Keys to victory: Beckham and Poythress run production out of the 3-4 spot for the Bulldogs. (139 combined RBI). Getting 27 outs. Fields handles the last 6-9 easily, but the 1st 20 outs are an obstacle.

Top Hitters:
1. Dustin Ackley .408 7 HR 50 RBI
2. Tim Fedroff .398 12 HR 69 RBI
3. Kyle Seager .355 9 HR 73 RBI

Top Pitchers:
1. Matt Harvey 7-2 2.55 ERA in 60.2 innings pitched
2. Alex White 10-3 2.75 ERA in 88.1 innings pitched
3. Adam Warren 9-1 4.07 ERA in 77.1 innings pitched

Keys to Victory: Getting the last outs. (The Heels have no dominant closer). Get leadoff hitter Dustin Ackley on base. He has a .500 OBP and has scored 79 of the team’s 491 runs.


Top Hitters:
1. J.P. Padron .362 5 HR 41 RBI
2. Diego Seastrunk .353 5 HR 57 RBI
3. Rick Hague .347 8 HR 52 RBI

Top Pitchers:
1. Cole St. Clair 10-2 2.61 ERA 5 saves in 58.2 innings pitched
2. Chris Kelley 5-1 3.28 ERA in 68.2 innings pitched
3. Ryan Berry 8-4 3.31 ERA in 100.2 innings pitched

Keys to victory: Get enough slugging. (Rice only has 52 team home runs.) Become a “Rice-like” pitching staff. Outside of St. Clair, the Owls do not have many dominant pitchers, but they have plenty guys capable of getting outs.


Top Hitters:
1. Alan Ahmady .384 12 HR 84 RBI
2. Erik Wetzel .361 6 HR 36 RBI
3. Steve Susdorf .345 11 HR 81 RBI

Top Pitchers:
1. Tanner Scheppers 8-2 2.93 ERA in 70.2 innings pitched
2. Brandon Burke 4-5 3.15 ERA 12 saves in 68.2 innings pitched
3. Justin Wilson 7-5 4.51 ERA in 103.2 innings pitched

Keys to victory: Early leads: The nation’s only 4-seed to ever reach Omaha needs to stay on an emotional high to have a chance. Get big-time production from big-time sluggers Ahmady and Susdorf (165 combined RBI on the season)


Top Hitters:
1. Jason Castro .379 13 HR 69 RBI
2. Cord Phelps .349 13 HR 53 RBI
3. Randy Molina .340 5 HR 40 RBI

Top Pitchers:
1. Drew Storen 4-3 2.79 ERA 8 saves in 51.2 innings pitched
2. Austin Yount 6-3 3.38 ERA in 61.1 innings pitched
3. Jeffrey Inman 7-2 4.34 ERA in 66.1 innings pitched

Keys to victory: Pitching depth: the Cardinal have 9 pitchers with more than 30 innings pitched. Get Sean Ratliff going. Ratliff is the Cardinal’s leading HR hitter with 21 long balls, but he is batting just .295 on the season.
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But for now, let’s focus on UNC. Yesterday, we broke down the first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman and catcher. Today, let’s take a peek at the Tar Heels’ outfield.

Centerfielder:
Seth Williams
6’1 201 senior RH
.315 8 HR 41 RBI

Williams is another in a long-line of solid Tar Heels hitters with 8 home runs and 21 doubles on the season. Williams is also not afraid to lean into a pitch inside leading the team with 18 HBP. The next closest Tar Heel in that category has just 8 HBP. Is a four-year starter. Normally hits in the 8 or 9-hole.

Right Fielder:
Tim Fedroff
5’11 191 sophomore LH
.398 12 HR 69 RBI

Arguably the best pound-for-pound hitter the Heels have and leads the team with 105 hits. Is a patient hitter with 33 BB and only 29 K’s and once on base, is a legit threat to run having stolen 13 bases on the year. He is the Heel’s three-hole hitter.

Left Fielder:
Kyle Shelton
6’0 184 senior RH
.327 4 HR 39 RBI

Is a career utility player who has settled into the starting lineup this season. He is a two-hole contact hitter for the heels with gap power, tied for the team lead with 5 triples. Is the best arm in the North Carolina outfield with 12 outfield assists.

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Today is the first day of golf’s most difficult tournament, the US Open. I told you my favorites yesterday. Today, I will give you a list of 8 players to look out for that you may not expect to win.

1. Boo Weekley- all the game in the world; just needs some seasoning
2. Bubba Watson- Tiger’s best buddy got game, too, especially off the tee. Big advantage on this huge course.
3. KJ Choi- 2 years ago, he was in line to challenge Tiger. Has since fallen off, but can still play.
4. Miguel Angel Jimenez- Fairways and greens; fairways and greens.
5. Ian Poulter- Is as talented as anyone on tour. If he can settle what’s between the ears, he can win anywhere.
6. David Toms- Is just a US Open player. Real steady and is a “par player”.
7. Rory Sabbatini- No, this isn’t a joke. Rory can play as long as Tiger isn’t around.
8. Colin Montgomerie- Sounds silly to include him in any lists, but he is still a solid iron player.

In total, I think it will be a rough week to be a golfer. I think this course will beat the players down, just like the USGA wants it. Tiger is far and away the best player in the world, but the injury makes him a big shaky. It’s hard to quit cold turkey then come back in the most difficult tournament in the world. (see also: Tiger’s layoff following his dad’s death when he missed the cut). With that being said, I don’t think Tiger will miss the cut, but I also don’t think he will win. An important thing to note in the first round is if he is in the lead. In both US Open wins, he controlled the tournament start-to-finish, so we should have a sense early if he will be able to control the tournament.

But like most US Open’s, this tournament will be won on the fairway and will be one on the green. The player with the highest greens in regulation probably will take home the trophy. So, for my official pick, I will go with:

Gisclair’s Official Prediction: Justin Leonard
The course is not ideal for Leonard’s length, but the Texan is 2nd on tour in greens in regulation and 16th in driving accuracy. Both are musts this week. Combine that with his hot string of play recently, and I will go with Leonard in the US Open. Congrats, Mr. Leonard, you have officially been jinxed.

That’s all for me today.
Have a fabulous Thursday!

-Casey

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