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Coach: Tim Tadlock
Postseason history: Fifth super regional appearance (third consecutive). Seeking fifth trip to Omaha and third straight.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Lubbock Regional. Went 3-0, defeating UCLA in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Red Raiders)
“People didn’t expect them to go on the run they have (after the injuries) but they just keep rolling. It all goes through Jace Jung, just like it has for the last five years with his brother. One through five, they’re as talented an offense as you’ll see in the country. It all revolves around Dru Baker, Jung and Cal Conley. When the other guys are clicking too it’s really tough. You can pitch to Jung, Conley and Baker a little easier when there’s nobody on base.
“I think you try to get in on (Jung). You’ve got to try to take it away. You can’t fall into patterns. He might look bad on a pitch, but he doesn’t look bad on it twice. You can throw a changeup and he looks bad, but you throw it again and he’ll hit it out of the park. You have to be a step ahead of him, but he’s such a good baseball mind that he’ll guess right there with you. When he gets to it, it goes. He can spray it, pull hit, hit it 500 feet, slap it. He’s as complete a hitter as they come
“The biggest thing for them is they have success when their starters go deep in the game. One area where they probably struggle a bit – and a lot of it is because of the injuries – is that middle part of the game to get to Ryan Sublette. Micah Dallas, Mason Montgomery, their starters are pretty consistent. As long as they get good starts out of them, keep the other team at bay and let the offense score some runs, they’re good.
“For Sublette, it’s a combination of power to the pitches, good stuff and obviously there’s some deception in there from the funk of the delivery and arm angle. He’s a typical, competitive back-end guy that doesn’t give in. With his combination of stuff and competitiveness, it never makes for an easy at bat for any hitter. It’s the perfect storm of having a really good relief pitcher. Those are the type of guys you want at the back end.
“They’re athletic. Their outfield defense is real good. Conley is a nice piece. I think the infield defense outside of Conley is just OK. Braxton Fulford is an exceptional catch-and-throw guy. Defensively, they can at time stray a little bit. They’re not as defensive as a Texas, but I don’t think their defense is in a spot where it’s going to create a major problem because they’re so good at catcher, short and center.
“Playing in Lubbock will be very interesting, especially with Stanford probably used to calm skies. It’s going to be hot, windy and it’s going to feel like all of Lubbock is going to be there. Especially in the postseason and in big-time weekends, they show out in full force. It goes both ways. The fans feed off the energy of the players and the players feed off the energy of the fans. That’s why they’re so good there. There are very few places in the country where they feed off each other. Once they get rolling, it’s hard to stop.”
Coach: David Esquer
Postseason history: 11th super regional appearance (second straight). Seeking 17th trip to Omaha and first since 2008.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Stanford Regional. Went 3-1, defeating UC Irvine in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Cardinal)
“I thought the power stood out at first but now all of a sudden in the postseason they’re creating depth in the lineup. When you’ve got lefthanders, righthanders and power, look out because who are you going to pitch to? At first it started with power, but when you see what happened (in regionals) they’re getting hot at the right time. And that power travels. It’s not just home stadium power. That power is going to translate anywhere.
“Brock Jones’ physicality scares you. You look at the man in the box and you’re like, ‘How do you get him out without him hurting the baseball?’ Not many holes. He hits the ball so hard. He’s going to hurt the baseball if he makes contact with it. You can pitch around him and hope you get some other guys out. I don’t see why anyone would pitch to him at this point. If you pick your spots, you can maybe get him in situation where only hits a solo bomb. But he’s surrounded by guys who can do just as much. I don’t know that it’s a good idea to give them free bases.
“They’ll steal third base, they’ll hit-and-run, Brock Jones will run the bases, he’ll steal. They have every ability to manufacture or hit the three-run home run. They’re not just sitting around waiting for the home run. They’ll put action on if they need to. They have such a veteran lineup. It’s amazing when you see these veteran lineups that have the identity. It’s not one guy going up to save the day. They understand how to keep the line moving.
“When you have a lineup like that, it takes pressure off being perfect on the mound. They can pitch at a high level, but when you walk out there knowing the offense will give you runs, that takes off the pressure. Not to mention they’ll run out Brendan Beck and he’ll beat anyone in the country. Then when it comes to matching up No. 2s and No. 3s, then their aren’t many lineups that are as good as those guys.
“Their bullpen, it depends on what situation they’re put in. Are they going to roll out 96-97, no, but they bring out matchups and pitchability. They’re not scaring anyone but they’re going to bring in matchups left and right. But those guys don’t have to be perfect. They’re not running out there with that pressure. Their closer has 13 saves. Just because he doesn’t throw 95 doesn’t mean he doesn’t get the job done.
“Their outfield is pretty athletic, their catcher can catch and throw, they have veterans on the infield. When you don’t notice the defense, you know it’s doing a good thing. They’re going to pick it up and play catch.
“They’re an extremely sound team. It all matches up. You always think it would be nice to get good pitching when you don’t have good hitting, and good hitting when you don’t have good pitching, but they’ve done it day in and out. They’re a battle-tested team, not to mention mentally. They battled Covid and a tough fall situation. You have to give a ton of credit to those coaches and those players. When you have football player in the middle of the lineup, he’s bringing the mentality. That’s a tough, tough team.”
What Advanced Data Tells Us About The Best Hitters, Pitchers At Super Regionals
Here’s what you need to know about the best hitters, pitchers in every NCAA Baseball Tournament super regional matchup.
Friday, 3 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN2 or ESPNU) If necessary