Vanderbilt Baseball: Analyzing the Raleigh Regional for the Commodores
Just a couple of weeks ago the Vanderbilt Commodores were in serious danger of missing the NCAA tournament altogether, but a strong schedule towards the end saved their season from ending in disappointing fashion.
The Commodores will now make their 11th appearance to college baseball's NCAA Tournament.
Before losing to red hot Mississippi State in the SEC tournament final, the Commodores had won 12 of their last 13 games, including wins over South Carolina, LSU and Florida.
Now the Commodores will travel east for the Raleigh Regional, which will be hosted by No.16 North Carolina State.
However, the Commodores will start off against the third-seed in the regional, UNC-Wilmington.
The Seahawks are no team to take lightly. They finished with 35 wins on the season and an RPI of 41 out of the Colonial Athletic Association.
This opening game will be no walk in the park for the Commodores as the Seahawks are a very balanced team in both pitching and hitting.
They'll also have to figure out how to get by a strong pitching staff for the Seahawks led by Tyler McSwain and Mat Batts.
The Seahawks sported a solid team ERA of 3.39 on the season.
Furthermore, the Seahawks lost by only two runs on the road to No. 7 North Carolina in early May, so we know these guys can hang with the big boys.
What part of Vandy's game benefits them the most?
Regardless of the outcome of their opening game, the Commodores will see either Sacred Heart or host NC State in their second game.
Sacred Heart has one of the worst RPI's in the entire field of 64, so NC State should have an easy road in their first game.
If the Commodores beat a very good UNC Wilmington team in their opening game, they'll really have their hands full against NC State.
The Wolfpack feature one of the best base stealers in the country in Trea Turner, who has 55 on the season.
You let him on base, and you're setting yourself up for a rough inning.
A strong NC State pitching staff will make getting to a Super Regional extremely difficult for the Commodores. Their pitching has to get more reliable if they're going to offset NC State's strong pitching staff.
Even in their success in the SEC Tournament, the Commodores' pitching was wildly inconsistent.
It should come down to the two most talented teams in this regional, which are definitely Vanderbilt and NC State.
However, UNC-Wilmington is a sleeper out of this regional that could raise some eyebrows, and the Commodores were unfortunate enough to draw them first.
It's going to be a major challenge to make it out of Raleigh for the Commodores, but they couldn't ask for a better manager in Tim Corbin to lead the way.
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