Wait, this isn’t a scheduled SEC/Big 12 showcase tournament in Omaha this weekend? When you get to Omaha every opponent looks like the best one you have faced all season and it will be no different for each team in this bracket. The Hogs can hit with the best of them and they will need to do so this weekend as the best of them is exactly who they will be facing. TD Ameritrade Park is known as a pitcher’s park for its vast outfield, but the limits of those walls are going to be pushed with three of the top home run hitting teams squaring off against one another, and another team bringing a hitter that can punch it out of any ball park. However, the long ball isn’t all these teams are capable of flashing offensively. We can expect that runs will not be at a premium over the next week of play.
1. Texas Tech (.311)
2. Arkansas (.301)
3. Florida (.278)
4. Texas (.272)
1. Texas Tech (.512)
2. Arkansas (.487)
3. Florida (.477)
4. Texas (.435)
1. Arkansas (1.49)
2. Florida (1.45)
3. Texas Tech (1.32)
4. Texas (0.98)
1. Florida (.978)
2. Texas (.977)
3. Arkansas (.972)
4. Texas Tech (.971)
Key Players: Heston Kjerstad (.340, 14 HR, 54 RBI), Eric Cole (.329, 14 HR, 50 RBI), Carson Shaddy (.340, 14 HR, 52 RBI), Casey Martin (.344, 13 HR, 46 RBI)
Top to bottom this lineup is as good as any in the nation. It all starts with switch hitting Cole who sets the table for a couple of Freshman All Americans in Kjerstad and Martin. No one has been hotter than Shaddy over the last two weeks, while Gates and Biggers are steadying the bottom of the lineup. Opposing pitchers getting through this lineup once unscathed has been a chore, having to do it two or three times has proven difficult for even the best arms the Hogs have faced.
Key Players: Jonathan India (.354, 20 HR, 48 RBI, 12 SB), JJ Schwarz (.325, 12 HR, 46 RBI), Wil Dalton (.266, 19 HR, 60 RBI), Nelson Maldonado (.278, 8 HR, 40 RBI)
SEC Player of the Year and 5th overall draft selection India is a force to be reckoned with in the heart of this talented lineup. The team batting average doesn’t jump off the page at you but the Gators have a solid veteran team that knows how to win and will be looking to repeat as national champions. They will be hoping to get Schwarz back who has missed some time lately with a hand injury. If they get him back and going their chances for a repeat greatly improve.
Key Players: Josh Jung (.390, 12 HR, 78 RBI), Grant Little (.372, 12 HR, 73 RBI, 24 doubles), Zach Rheams (.348, 17 HR, 54 RBI), Gabe Holt (.352, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 29 SB)
Perhaps the best hitting team in the nation, Texas Tech has gotten it done all season long at the plate. Just a sophomore, Jung leads a potent, young offense that can score on you in bunches and in a hurry. Holt took home the Big 12 Freshman of the Year award and was selected to first team all conference along with Jung and sophomore Little. Though Arkansas was able to keep them at bay for a game this season in Fayetteville, the Red Raiders will be looking to adjust their sails under the lights on the biggest stage. Can they overcome their inexperience with their talent?
Key Players: Kody Clemens (.356, 24, 72), Zach, Zubia (.277, 11 HR, 44 RBI), David Hamilton (.294, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 31 SB), DJ Petrinsky (.261, 9 HR, 28 RBI)
Arkansas opens against Texas at the College World Series and for the Longhorns it all starts and ends with 3rd round draft pitck Clemens. The son of Roger Clemens and the Big 12 Player of the Year has been on a tear this post season and will ride that high into Omaha. The Longhorns scratched out 9 runs in a two game set against Arkansas this season with just two hits from Clemens. With Blaine Knight on the mound this time around Texas will look to take advantage of anything they can get while Clemens will likely see few pitches worth hitting.