College World Series 2012: Predicting Both Loser's Bracket Contests
There's nothing more exciting in sports than an elimination game, and both loser's bracket contests at the College World series are as intriguing as matchups come.
The contrast in these games alone is fantastic. In one game, Kent State—in its first-ever CWS appearance—faces one of the favorites coming into the tournament, Florida State.
In the other, tournament darling Stony Brook squares off against mighty Florida, considered by many one of the most talented college baseball teams in recent memory heading into this season.
It's traditional powers against tournament upstarts making their first CWS appearances. Florida mainstays against Northern challengers. A chance to move on or a plane ticket home.
These two games have everything. Here's how I think they'll play out.
Florida State over Stony Brook
I want to see Stony Brook pull off the upset and keep its fantastic run going, I really do. I just don't think it will happen.
Florida State won five straight games heading into the CWS and it took 12 innings before Arizona was able to send them to the loser's bracket in a 4-3 loss for the Seminoles.
Stony Brook's path was bumpier. They came into the CWS with a 6-2 mark and were promptly thrashed by UCLA, 9-1.
Florida State will have the best player in this game—outfielder James Ramsey—and more talent in general. The Seminoles have a deadly offense and the team's tournament experience should play a major factor.
Much as I want to see the upset, I simply don't see it happening.
Prediction: Florida State wins, 7-4.
Florida over Kent State
Florida came into this tournament as the top overall seed, and for good reason. Take a look at some of the numbers that suggest this Florida team should be too much for Kent State to deal with, from Rachel George and Coley Harvey of the Orlando Sentinel (via the Boston Herald):
The Gators lead in the country in home runs (75), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.70) and WHIP (1.13) while posting a fielding percentage (.979) that ranks seventh. With eight players taken in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft, UF has a roster stocked with talent to try to win the school’s first baseball championship.
Which two teams will be eliminated?
Two consecutive losses and a trip home would be devastating for this Florida team, while Kent State's first-ever appearance in the CWS is a victory in and of itself.
With more motivation, more talent and more tournament experience—remember, this Florida team lost to South Carolina in the championship last year—the Gators will simply be too much to overcome for the Golden Flashes.
Prediction: Florida wins, 10-2.
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