Thursday, May 28, 2009

Austin Regional: #3 Boston College vs. #2 Texas State Preview

Boston College comes into the NCAA tournament for the first time in 42 years and it has a very tough matchup ahead of them. In fact, the last time the Eagles made the NCAA tournament in 1967, current head coach Mik Aoki wasn't even born yet. The Eagles will face the Bobcats of Texas State (41-15), an at-large bid out of the Southland conference, at the University of Texas' UFCU Disch-Falk Stadium in Austin, Texas. But Coach Aoki is taking the difficult task at playing in the #1 overall national seed's homefield in stride saying to the Globe this morning, "We're excited about playing games at the University of Texas with its great tradition," said Aoki yesterday before the Eagles went through their final practice session before flying to Austin this morning. "It's truly college baseball royalty." The Eagles are going up against the high powered Bobcats offense and are going to need some stellar pitching this weekend to have any chance at all. I have done some scouting on the Bobcats and feel I have enough info on the team to give you guys a good preview of the game on Friday at 2 PM EST.

The Eagles are coming off a great showing at the ACC tournament going 2-1 while beating Georgia Tech handily and blowing out Miami. They Eagles have 2 very solid pitchers at the top of their rotation and could go with either one of them against Texas State, My guess is they go with Senior Captain J.B. MacDonald, because they are going to need Pat Dean in a tough game vs. Texas is they win OR in a must win game if they lose.

Here are the possible BC Pitchers for the weekend:
Pat Dean 6-4, 3.36
JB MacDonald 5-7, 4.70
Mike Dennhardt 5-1, 4.97
John Leonard 1-4, 7.24

The Eagles key pitchers out of the Bullpen are:
Mike Belfiore 5-1 2.15 8 saves in 25 apperanaces
Kevin Moran 5-2 2.84 0 saves in 23 apperanaces
Nate Bayuk 0-0 3.38 1 save in 29 apperanaces

The Eagles will expect to go into the game with the same lineup they used in their last two ACC tournament games:
1. CF Robbie Anston .358 1 HR 29 RBIs
2. 2B Matt Hamlet .311 0 HR 11 RBIs
3. C Tony Sanchez .355 14 HR 48 RBIs
4. 3B Mickey Wiswall .318 14 HR 62 RBIs
5. 1B Mike Belfiore .286 11 HR 60 RBIs
6. SS Barry Butera .333 4 HR 34 RBIs
7. DH Harry Darling .292 0 HR 13 RBIs
8. RF Andrew Lawrence .320 3 HR 19 RBIs
9. LF Mike Sudol .275 5 HR 25 RBIs

With John Spatola .304 3 HR 23 RBIs, being the only somewhat reliable player off the bench to help the Eagles if need be.

The Eagles are know to be a small ball team and according to one Texas fan, "The Disch (UFCU Disch-Falk Field) might be the most pitcher friendly park in America. The infield is very slow, designed that way for the way the Longhorns like to play small ball with a lot of sacrifice bunts and sigles and doubles rather than trying to hit the long ball.

As stated above, the prevailing winds also tend to keep balls in the ball park. Your only real hope to conisistently hit the ball out of the park is to drive the ball low and hard down either line. If it gets up in the air, particularly betrween left and right center, its going to die."

Which may benefit Texas BUT it also benefits the Eagles because they aren't a team who will out slug you. It has been well documented that coach Mitch Aoki's philosophy is score one run an inning usually through sacrifices and small ball seeing as the Eagles are 3rd in the nation in sacrifice hits.

The Three Keys to the Eagles success this weekend are:
1. Starting Pitching: The Eagles are able to hit and score with the best of them so the key is going to be whether or not th Eagles can keep the other teams from scoring.
2. Tony Sanchez and Mickey Wiswall: These two are the best offensive players for the Eagles and are both going to need to step up even more for the Eagles to avoid losing 2 games.
3. Winning Game 1: Teams who lose game 1 don't usually move on because you then usually have to win 4 games in a row in order to advance to the Super Regionals.

The Texas State Bobcats, as I said before have a high powered offense that has lead them all year through their conference and earned them an at-large bid in this tournament. The Bobcats were the regular season champions in the Southland conference, but were upset in the Conference Tournament by Sam Houston State in the title game. The Bobcats may not play in the ACC like the Eagles, but they have a very good game and are a great matchup for the Eagles.

The Bobcats have a very good ace in Kane Holbrooks, but they may choose to risk it and try to win game 1 with their second starter, Zach Tritz, who isn't nearly as good as Holbrooks.

The possible starters for the Bobcats are:
Kane Holbrooks 10-1 3.34
Brian Borski 7-3 3.89
Zach Tritz 8-2 4.75

With these guys out of the Bullpen:
Tyler Brundrige 3-1 3.42 3 saves in 32 appearances
Michael Russo 4-2 3.86 6 saves in 23 appearances
Lance Loftin 3-0 3.09 1 save in 20 appearances

The Bobcats have a very high powered offense and look to keep that going into their first NCAA tournament since 2000:
1. RF Tyler Sibley .369 10 HR's 38 RBI's
2. CF Bret Atwood .373 1 HR 30 RBI's
3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt .353 17 HR's 85 RBI's
4. DH Keith Prestidge .370 7 HR's 49 RBI's
5. LF Spenser Dennis .408 6 HR's 49 RBI's
6. C Ben Theriot .346 6 HR's 36 RBI's
7. 2B Kyle Livinstone .322 5 HR's 32 RBI's
8. 3B Jordan Kopycinski.298 1 HR 8 RBI's
9. Jason Martinson .302 7 HR's 39 RBI's

They also have two reliable players and hitters off the bench that they can use at any time to replace anyone in the lineup in Lance Lofton .304 6 HR's 30 RBI's and Kyle Bubitza .299 6 HR's 21 RBI's.

The Bobcats three keys to this tournament will be:
1. Paul Goldschmidt: He is probably the best hitter in this regional and the Bobcats offensive production is usually based around him.
2. Pitching: The Bobcats can hit with the best of them but they aren't very deep in pitching. They did well in the Southland but things are much different facing teams from the ACC and Big XII.
3. Confidence: Some Southland conference teams may come in against ACC and Big XII teams, but if they Bobcats want to win they need to come in believing they can win.

This team is pretty solid and the coach from Lamar stated this might be the best team in Southland Conference history. These guys play the game right and enjoy playing together. The Eagles and the Bobcats look to matchup very well and should be a GREAT game tomorrow.

Go Eagles!


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