the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
Baseball: Coastal Tournament Preview
[Editor's note: due to a super screw up on my part, I neglected to post this until after Michigan's first game, a 12-8 win over Ball State.]
I'm trying out a new game set for tournaments. I think I'll try and use something similar for weekend series (previous version). I'm open for suggestions on how to present the information consistently. For now, game set comes before a jump if on the front page, and details come afterward.
|Matt Miller (0-2, 4.80 ERA)||vs||Brothers (0-0, 8.64 ERA)|
|Notes: 16-1 All Time Record, Last win(s) in 2009, both ends of a 7 inning double header. Also beat them at Coastal Carolina in 2008|
|Burgoon or Brosnahan||vs||Ross (0-0, 5.19 ERA)|
|Notes: 0-0, first meeting|
|Oaks, Burgoon, or Brosnahan||vs||Birmingham 2-0, 1.23 ERA)|
|Notes: 2-1, Split a pair in a similar tournament in 2008, W 4-1 and L 11-9. This is Coastal's home field. Audio is Coastal's.|
|Oaks, Burgoon, or Brosnahan||vs||TB|
|Notes: That split from 2008 was on this field both games. Audio is Coastal's.|
Long preview after the jump.
Ball State enters the tournament at 3-8 on the season, with a good win over then #15 Arkansas. This will be the second weekend in a row that Ball State will play in a Coastal Carolina tournament. Last week the Cardinals went 1-3 with a win over Albany and losses to Pittsburgh and Coastal (2x). The two losses to Coastal were closely contested, both by scores of 3-2. I have no idea who will pitch for Ball State. They're starting pitching has been pretty bad and they have a pair of midweek games against quality competition on Tuesday and Wednesday. Depending on how well or poorly that may go, we could see just about anyone. At this point, I have to guess it will be starting second baseman Kolbrin Vitek. Vitek has 3 starts on the season, going an average of 4.1 innings per start. He gives up quite a few hits, and isn't much of a strikeout guy, but he's the best starter statistically on the team. The bullpen for the Cardinals isn't bad. They have a couple arms capable of keeping games close in righties Seth Hobbs and Michael Sandman, and freshman southpaw Jon Cisna. They are short their closer though, as Aaron Hammons is going to miss the rest of the season due to surgery. On offense, Vitek is also their leader. He's hitting .391 with 11 RBIs and 14 runs going into their mid-week games. He also has the team lead with 4 home runs. The College Baseball Blog has him as their #84 player in their top 100. Catcher Zach Dygert is next on the team in RBIs with 10. Michigan will re-order the rotation to save Oaks for Coastal. Ball State should be a pretty easy win for Michigan, but as they showed against Arkansas, they are capable of stealing a win from a good team. I like Miller in this spot. Not the toughest team, but he's more than capable of dominating the lineup.
The Bison are currently 3-7 with a pair of wins over Canasius and one over Tennessee-Martin. They've also been swept by a weak Tulane and Murray State. They do have a couple of decent hitters in Tyler Wilson and his little brother Lee. Tyler, a senior, is the top regular starter on the team with a .386 batting average, scoring 7 runs and knocking in 2. He leads the team with 9 steals in 11 attempts. His brother, the freshman Lee, is only a part time starter, but he's got a bit more power. He leads the team in batting average at .500, but only has 22 at bats. Andrew Nickerson and Zach Messer are tied with 7 RBI for the team lead. Nickerson is hitting .344 with a .667 slugging percentage as their biggest power hitting threat. Messer had a solid weekend to boost his RBI stats, but his overall numbers (including the .325 slugging percentage) are weak. I have no idea who to expect from starter Alex Ross. The lefty has three appearances on the season including one start. He's thrown just 8.2 innings, giving up 14 hits and 4 walks while striking out 3. His lone start was a 4 inning no decision against Canasius, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) while walking and striking out two. Michigan needs to blow Lipscomb out of the water and save as much pitching as they can. I wouldn't be surprised to see our mid-week pitching crew in this game. I'm personally hoping for Brosnahan here. I'm not sure Bobby is ready for Coastal just yet, and it'd be nice to see him get a good start in for development.
The Chanticleers are currently ranked the #10 team in the nation according to the NCBWA, but they are #1 in the current RPI. They took two from UC Irvine, a preseason top 10 team two weeks ago, as well as host wins over a couple of top100 teams in North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh. They're lone loss comes to Kentucky, who is ranked #35 in RPI. Impressive to say the least. The Big South favorites have quite the lineup, featuring Preseason Big South Player of the Year Rico Noel. Noel is a shorter center fielder capable of both high average and big power. On the season he's hitting .368 with a .547 on base percentage and .658 slugging percentage. His 11 RBI is second on the team. Leading the team in RBI is Jose Iglesias with 14. Iglesias is hitting .415 on the season with a .707 slugging percentage. His 6 doubles lead the team. He's a 6'-5" catcher batting lead off. That's ridiculous. Hitting lower in the order is Chance Gilmore. The left fielder has been on fire to start this season, batting .441 and slugging .765. His 3 homers lead the team. Gilmore hits in the 6th hole and is backed up with Noel in the 7-hole. That deep of a lineup is scary for any pitching staff. Coastal has been consistent in their pitching rotation all three weeks of the season, but they are shaking things up a bit this weekend. Laney had been their #3 starter each week previously, but it appears he's either being skipped or demoted. Laney hasn't done so well this season, averaging just over 3 innings per outing. In his 10.1 innings, he's given up 8 runs on 12 hits, 10 walks, and 11 Ks. He may still start the Sunday game. On the other side of the coin is Birmingham. He's given up his fair share of base runners, but he's also been stingy with the runs. In 14.2 innings, he's given up 10 hits and 7 walks, but he's only give up 3 runs, only 2 of those being earned. He has only struck out 9 this season, so that might be good news for Michigan as well. He doesn't seem to be an overpowering ground ball pitcher, as most outs recorded are fly outs or pop outs. The defense for Coastal has also been very good. If you have the chance, they put out some excellent highlight videos for several of their home games. Their 9-4 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday has some very solid defensive gems, including ca catch into the wall.
I think Michigan wins their first two, but loses their third with Coastal having a solid performance from Birmingham, and Michigan losing a bit of focus during a blowout win over Lipscomb. Sunday's game is a total wildcard. We don't really know who is going to pitch, so that limits projections greatly. I think that is probably best for Michigan, as we may get a fresh starter with little experience, or even Laney who has struggled for Coastal. I think Oaks get the game in the Saturday night cap, pitching valiantly, but with little run support. I think we'll see Burgoon Sunday, and it will be a close game depending on how much our offense has left in the tank.