With Poseur on brief hiatus to attend yet another wedding, I'll give you my best shot at previewing this matchup. This time, knowing Poseur's friend Jim, I am reasonably confident this will not be a Mennonite wedding. Which means the stories I get from them won't be nearly so great.
Then again, Jim's just the sort of guy who just might one day up and join a Mennonite society. Do the Mennonites seek converts? I don't know, and I don't know why I'm talking about it here.
The Fightin' Tigers enter this game as one of the hottest teams in the country, winners of 25 of their last 26 games. I don't think any of the teams we've beaten are as good as UNC, however. Much like UC-Irvine, they have excellent pitching. Unlike UC-Irvine, they also have excellent hitting. They hit .324 as a team and have over 50 home runs, with two hitters at or near .400 on the season. They don't hit it out of the park quite like we do, but they have a lot more power than Irvine had. Then again, Irvine seemed to have little trouble getting it out of Alex Box Stadium either. They also have a ton of experience, having been national runners-up each of the last two years while LSU was floundering.
It remains to be seen how good their fundamentals are, or whether they play the game the right way, which is in stark opposition to the successful way.
The good news is they're throwing a right-handed pitcher at us, which is just asking for trouble. The bad news is that he is good. Mike Fox is 10-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 88 innings with an almost 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. As a team, they get a ton of strikeouts. They also don't give up a lot of runs.
We've proven we can hit good pitchers, and no one has told me anything about their catcher, so I'm going to tentatively assume we can maybe run on them if we get our speed guys on base
Ryan Verdugo HAS to have a good game. I don't think we can count on getting 10 runs in this one. If we get 5 runs, that's probably doing pretty good, and we have to hope we can keep their hitters down enough to make that hold up.
This will be your open thread for the game, so have at it.