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No. 8 seed Jackets face Charleston

6/11/2006

Editor's note: No one knows the super regional teams better than their opponents. Will Kimmey talked to college coaches who had faced multiple teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament and offered them anonymity in exchange for their candor.

Atlanta Super Regional
At Russ Chandler Stadium (all times Eastern)
Atlanta
Friday, June 9
Game 1 -- Georgia Tech 5, College of Charleston 0
Saturday, June 10
Game 2 -- Georgia Tech 12, College of Charleston 3
Georgia Tech (49-16) advances to the College World Series.

Charleston Cougars
Record: 46-15
How They Got Here: Won the Lexington regional in three games
CWS History: None
Coach: John Pawlowski (Seventh season)

Scouting the Cougars: "Charleston, those kids have been in regionals for three years and are not scared.

"They can beat you with pitching and the short game. They're solid defensively with good outfield speed and do not do a lot to hurt themselves. Pitching-wise, they had the deepest staff of any we saw, and we played 18 games against regional teams. They've got four quality guys they can use to start games.

"Chigges is a legit SEC guy, and so is [Josh] McLaughlin, the closer. As a staff, they do a good job mixing it up. They're confident in throwing breaking balls in hitter's counts. They throw strikes; you've got to be ready to hit early. You don't want to put yourself in 0-1, 1-2 counts. Godfrey is the best velocity guy. He'll challenge with the fastball. Be ready to hit early against him. Make him throw the fastball down in the zone, don't chase it up.

"They have a lot of small guys that can run and only Garabedian can [hit] it out of the ballpark. Five or six guys in that lineup will bunt any time. They get the leadoff guy on, try to move him over, bunt, steal a bag, hit and run. [They] do a good job holding runners. Be prepared, and make sure you get an out when they bunt to avoid the big inning.

"If you can keep leadoff guys off base or limit them, that's huge. Force them to beat you by stringing hits together. It's important to get a lead, take them out of that short game. They'll still do it, but put them in a situation where it's three or four runs down, force them to play for more of a big inning. They don't have the power they had last year in the lineup, but they still have good hitters. Keep Cobb off base. Coker hit a grand slam against Kentucky, but he's not typically a power guy. He's the best bunter I've seen in several years."

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Record: (48-16)
How They Got Here: Won the Atlanta regional in three games
CWS History: Two trips to Omaha, last in 2002
Coach: Danny Hall (13 seasons)

Scouting the Yellow Jackets: "They're banged up a little bit. [Danny] Payne is Len Dykstra out there, and him being out hurts them. Hodges is hurt, too.

"That's a lot of offense, but they can still hurt you.

"They're always as talented as anybody in the country. Offensively, Tech still has plenty of guys in the middle of the order capable of running into some balls. Robbins stepped it up this year. Now Wieters is swinging the hot bat. He's got a great approach, and he can hit it out to all fields. Then there's Kindel, and [Steven] Blackwood's a veteran guy that always has had a good approach at the plate. Robbins and Wieters, you can get them hard in and hard away, but you better not miss. It better be in -- in or two inches off -- or it's gone.

"I think there are some spots in the lineup where they're not quite as potent as [they've been] over the years, more so down in the order. Pitch aggressively, have a guy that's not afraid to pitch inside to a lot of those guys. The biggest thing is challenge their hitters. They're going to get their hits. What you don't want to do is compound that by making mistakes. Don't just feed that fastball. Keep them from swinging out of their shoes.

"The way you get to them is hit them. Their pitching is very average -- just OK -- but keeps them in games. They're better defensively using Wieters behind the plate, but they've got to keep him away from there and in the bullpen because he's the best arm. Certainly Tech is capable of any guy on any day going out and being lights out. They're just mixing it and doing what they can with it. The big thing with them is take advantage of their starting pitching not being very good.

"Blake Wood has a good arm, but he's up and down and his breaking ball isn't special. Pitching depth is going to hurt them this year, but they can definitely go to Omaha because they can score runs."

Will Kimmey covers college baseball for Baseball America.