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2017 College World Series Bracket 1 Preview

Breaking down the teams in LSU’s bracket.

Ross Obley/Florida State Athletics

LSU’s Fab Four accomplished their goal of avenging their Super Regional loss from last year, but now the real work begins Saturday night. The Tigers aren’t yet playing for a national championship but they’re one step away. To reach the College World Series final, LSU has to run through a regional-style bracket against three other Super Regional winners. As far as it goes, two of the opponents are favorable for LSU, but the other one just happens to be the unstoppable juggernaut that will end the season with single digit losses one way or another.

We’re gonna start off with LSU’s first opponent and team the Tigers will face Saturday night at seven. That’s right folks, we’re going to be #TALKINBOUTTHENOLES.

Florida State Seminoles

Conference: ACC (5th Atlantic, 14-14)

Record: 45-21

RPI: 10

Off the bat, Florida State is a testament to how deep the ACC is, considering they not only got into the national tournament after going .500 in conference play, but got in as a one seed.

FSU opened their Regional on a dour note, dropping the first game to Tennessee Tech 3-1. They then stormed back by beating UCF, Tennessee Tech again, and Auburn twice to advance to Supers. Florida State walked off the first game against Auburn in extra innings via a hit by pitch. Yes, the ever-elusive walk-off hit by pitch. In game two, FSU blanked Auburn 6-0.

Those two games would be replicated in the Super Regional against Sam Houston State: the Seminoles walked off game one and then hammered the Bearkats 19-0 in game two.

The lesson is simple: if you give Florida State an inch they’ll take a mile.

Jackson Lueck: .327 AVG/.523 SLG/.523 OBP, 65 H, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 1.86 K/BB (48/26)

Dylan Busby: .315/.596/.401, 74 H, 14 HR, 62 RBI, 2.56 K/BB (59/23)

Quincy Nieporte: .305/.508/.378, 75 H, 10 HR, 78 RBI, 1.52 K/BB (35/23)

Jackson Lueck leads the team in batting and while he can rake, the real threat to LSU is Dylan Busby. He very much is the “don’t let this guy beat you” player for the Noles. Quincy Nieporte is the RBI threat guy for the Seminoles, but he can touch you deep as well. The good news for LSU is that while most of the remaining lineup is no slouch (Taylor Walls, Matt Henderson, and Drew Mendoza are batting above the “college replacement level line” of .250), there are some holes in the lineup that LSU can exploit.

Tyler Holton: 2.25 ERA, 112 IP, 69 H, 38 R (38 ER), 4.78 K/BB (139/29), .171 BAA, 2 CG

Drew Parrish: 4.40 ERA, 86 IP, 76 H, 48 R (42 ER), 3.42 K/BB (89/26), .234 BAA

Cole Sands: 5.05 ERA, 82 IP, 83 H, 53 R (26 ER), 2.48 K/BB (72/29), .265 BAA

Drew Carlton: 1.98 ERA, 59 IP, 62 H, 20 R (13 ER), 4.23 K/BB (55/13), .266 BAA, 6 SV

Will Zirzow: 2.60 ERA, 45 IP, 31 H, 17 R (13 ER), 2.74 K/BB (52/19), .191 BAA

Florida State is an Omaha unicorn because their real strength lies in their bullpen. Ok, they have Tyler Holton and he’s amazing, but they have four bullpen arms that are arguably better than their starters not named Holton in a must-win scenario. Drew Carlton is their stud in the pen and he may be the best bet to close out games in Omaha just going by a performance and an experience perspective (we’ll get to the actual best in a second).

Oregon State Beavers

Conference: PAC-12 (1st, 27-3)

Record: 54-4

RPI: 1

If this is the first time you’re getting into college baseball this year, yeah uh Oregon State is the best team in the country.

Unfortunately for the Beavers, the hidden past of staff ace Luke Heimlich came to light in the past couple of weeks and he will not be pitching in Omaha. While it’s best for Oregon State to distance themselves from the situation, the loss of his pitching negatively affects Oregon State’s title chances in a major way. But again, the circumstances are...heavy.

As a reward for their four-loss regular season, the Beavers received an absolute cakewalk of a regional and strolled though it in three games. In the Super Regionals Vanderbilt put up more of a fight, but the Beavers easily took care of business.

Nick Madrigal: .383/.541/.451, 85 H, 4 HR, 36 RBI, .625 K/BB (15/24)

Steven Kwan: .345/.414/.451, 50 H, 1 HR, 17 RBI, .444 K/BB (12/27)

KJ Harrison: .330/.515/.396, 66 H, 8 HR, 39 RBI, 1.37 K/BB (37/24)

Oregon State has five (5) batters swinging above .300 and leading the charge at the top is Nick Madrigal who was flirting with .400 for most of the season. As you may expect from a northwestern ball club, the Beavers don’t hit a lot of home runs, but they do just get an abundance of hits and string them together well enough to get run support for their impossibly good pitching.

Jake Thompson: 1.52 ERA, 118.1 IP, 76 H, 21 R (20 ER), 3.14 K/BB (113/36), .184 BAA, 1 CG

Bryce Fehmel: 3.80 ERA, 71 IP, 63 H, 34 R (30 ER), 2.65 K/BB (45/27), .240 BAA, 1 CG

Drew Rasmussen: .83 ERA, 21.2 IP, 16 H, 5 R, (2 ER), 4.40 K/BB (22/5), .200 BAA

Max Engelbrekt: .48 ERA, 18.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R (1 ER), 6.00 K/BB (18/3), .129 BAA, 5 SV

Jake Mulholland: 1.31 ERA, 48 IP, 34 H, 8 R (7 ER), 3.73 K/BB (41/22), .195 BAA, 6 SV

The bad news for Oregon State is that they won’t have Heimlich. The good news is that Drew Rasmussen came off of Tommy John surgery just in time to fill in his role. If you want to know how good Rasmussen is, he came off of Tommy John surgery in April and was still taken in the first round of he MLB Draft. He’s that good.

But now the de facto ace becomes Jake Thompson still great. As staff, the Beavers have 11 pitchers with an ERA under three and FOUR pitchers with a sub-one ERA, Heimlich included. Point blank: if Oregon State is going to be defeated, a combination of the pitching staff having an off day and the batters hitting on every gear needs to happen.

Cal State Fullerton Titans

Conference: Big West (3rd, 15-9)

Record: 39-22

RPI: 43

After a very up and down season not unlike LSU’s, Cal State Fullerton probably upset the apple cart the most on their road to Omaha, beating Stanford twice to bounce the Cardinal from their own regional. Then the Titans extracted some revenge on Long Beach State after going 1-5 against the Dirtbags in the regular season by beating them in three games to advance to Omaha against their cross-town rivals.

Scott Hurst: .332/.585/.424, 80 H, 12 HR, 39 RBI, .971 K/BB (33/34)

Sahid Valenzuela: .324/.389/.377, 70 H, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 2.29 K/BB (32/14)

Timmy Richards: .301/.449/.378, 53 H, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 1.68 K/BB (32/19)

CSF actually reminds me a lot of LSU, just more west-coast in terms of style of play both at the plate and on the mound. Scott Hurst is the big bat for the Titans, and he is the only player on the squad with double digit home runs. Only three Titans are swinging above .300, the rest is your typical “let’s hope we can string some hits” approach. At the plate, CSF is easily the worst team offensively in the bracket. Which is more of a statement on the bracket and not an indictment on CSF.

John Galvin: 2.67 ERA, 101 IP, 86 H, 31 R (30 ER), 2.97 K/BB (89/30), .233 BAA, 1 CG, 1 CGSO

Connor Seabold: 3.01 ERA, 122.2 IP, 118 H, 43 R (41 ER), 5.45 K/BB (120/220, .254 BAA, 3 CG, 1 CGSO

Colton Eastman: 1.09 ERA, 33.0 IP, 14 H, 6 R (4 ER), 37/12 K/BB, 1 SV

Gavin Velasquez: 4.50 ERA, 60 IP, 69 H, 31 R (30 ER), 1.68 K/BB (32/18), .297 BAA

Blake Workman: 2.70 ERA, 60 IP, 59 H, 20 R (18 ER), 3.47 K/BB (52/15), .254 BAA, 1 SV

Brett Conine: 1.49 ERA, 42.1 IP, 34 H, 10 R (7 ER), 6.67 K/BB (40/6), .214 BAA, 15 SV

And again...compared to the rest of the regional, Fullerton’s pitching staff is good, but not great. Good enough to get to Omaha, but to win? They’ll need to really step up to bring home hardware. Thanks to injury there has been some turnover with a third starter, but Colton Eastman has been electric in his return this postseason. If they can get to Conine at the back end of a tight game, then they have a fighting chance, dude is a hoss in the closer role.