Baylor advances to its third College World Series
Editor's note: Baseball America contacted college coaches familiar with the 16 Super Regional teams for analysis. Anonymity was granted in exchange for their candor.
Waco Super Regional
Clemson (43-23) vs. Baylor (44-22)
At Baylor Ballpark
Saturday, June 11
Clemson 4, Baylor 2
Sunday, June 12
Baylor 7, Clemson 1
Monday, June 13
Baylor 6, Clemson 1
Baylor (44-22) advances to College World Series
Coach: Jack Leggett (12th season)
CWS History: 10 trips to Omaha (last in 2002), no titles
How They Got Here: Won the Clemson, S.C., regional in three games, beating Oral Roberts in the final.
Clemson's Top Hitters Player (Position) AVG OBP SLG Key Stats Kris Harvey (DH) .342 .390 .692 24 HR, 69 RBI Taylor Harbin (2B) .350 .376 .593 28 2B, 62 RBI Tyler Colvin (LF) .297 .337 .463 22 2B, 12 SB Andy D'Alessio (1B) .282 .372 .579 15 HR, 60 RBI Clemson's Top Pitchers Player W-L ERA Key Stats Josh Cribb (RHP) 8-4 3.22 92 K's, 22 BB, 103 IP Stephen Faris (RHP) 6-4 2.56 75 K's, 23 BB, 91 IP Robert Rohrbaugh (LHP) 8-2 4.08 79 K's, 41 BB, 90 IP David Kopp (RHP) 4-3 4.54 45 K's, 24 BB, 67 IP
Scouting the Tigers: Clemson is a very fundamentally sound club and very well coached. They just play all 27 outs.
They have good freshmen. Shortstop Stan Widmann is great defensively and the center fielder Brad Chalk can really fly. Herman Demmink is a dirtbag, hard-nosed player, I'd love to have him. Andy D'Alessio is a good bad-ball hitter. If there is a weakness, they are over aggressive at times and might offer at pitches they don't need to. From a pitching standpoint, make them expand the zone. Harvey has 23, 24 homers. If you leave it up, he will cover it. He doesn't handle the ball down very well. Harbin is as good a freshman as I've seen. He wants to go early in count. He matured as the season progressed and now looks for what he'll get rather than what he wants. He pulls everything. Stay four inches off plate and be down, even away he tries to pull it. Pitch in off the plate, and he pulls it foul.
The Tigers have pitching depth. A lot of them look the same but there's a lot of them. Robert Rohrbaugh is a strike-throwing machine. Stephen Faris has good stuff, good command and everything he throws moves. Josh Cribb is special. He comes at you with a couple different arm angles and really competes with a good fastball and slider. I really like that bulldog attitude. He's pretty athletic too. If you have a weakness, they attack. If you adjust, they go somewhere else. They look for your weaknesses. If there's a shortcoming it's middle relief, because their pitchability is average. I'd try to get the starters out of game and go after the bullpen.
Coach: Steve Smith (11th season)
CWS History: Two trips to Omaha (last in 1978), no titles
How They Got Here: Won the Waco, Texas, regional in three games, beating Stanford in the final.
Baylor's Top Hitters Player (Position) AVG OBP SLG Key Stats Josh Ford (C/DH) .322 .436 .504 7 HR, 36 RBI Zach Dillon (C/DH) .317 .386 .434 18 2B, 42 RBI Kevin Russo (3B) .277 .348 .364 13 2B, 8 SB Michael Griffin (2B) .289 .336 .433 7 HR, 8 SB Baylor's Top Pitchers Player W-L ERA Key Stats Mark McCormick (RHP) 7-3 3.12 97 K's, 55 BB, 92 IP Trey Taylor (LHP) 7-5 3.43 82 K's, 39 BB, 97 IP Ryan LaMotta (RHP) 5-1 2.22 74 K's, 19 BB, 69 IP, 6 SV Abe Woody (RHP) 9-3 2.79 34 K's, 14 BB, 11 SV
Scouting the Bears: Of course, Baylor's pitching is strong. They've got so many arms down in the pen, that they don't have to sit out there and let a struggling guy figure it out. Co-closer Ryan LaMotta is one of the best guys we saw all year. He's tough. His breaking ball goes top to bottom pretty good. Abe Woody is more side-to-side with his breaking ball. Trey Taylor and Mark McCormick are really tough kids. They battle and they fight. The club knows that and plays really well behind them defensively. With McCormick, the fastball touches 98 mph and you have to be concerned with that.
Third baseman Kevin Russo makes the club go. He's the Steady Eddie, who always gets the big hit and doesn't try to do too much. You're not going to beat able to throw a sloppy pitch. You have to pitch to him.
It's definitely an improved offensive club during the year. The numbers aren't great, but they do a good job of working the offense, generating things with stealing bags and the hit and run. Baylor tries to score a couple of runs and hold you. Michael Griffin can open up on you at any time. You can't make a mistake to Josh Ford. He's pitchable, but if you can't pitch in, you're done.
The Bears lost Kyle Reynolds to a broken thumb the last week of the season and he is doubtful this weekend. I thought he was best hitter. Even though he didn't have the best numbers, I thought he was going to break out. Jeff Mandel, who was a reliever but took over at first base for Reynolds, can run. He gets down the line in 3.9 seconds from the left side. He is special. He is unbelievably talented and athletic. He's got some power, especially from the left side.
Will Kimmey covers college baseball for Baseball America.
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