College World Series 2012 Schedule: What to Expect from Thursday's Action

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2012

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Infielder Devon Travis #8 of  the Florida State Seminoles bats against the Philadelphia Phillies February 24, 2011 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The 2012 College World Series will continue on Thursday with two exciting matchups. Kent State will square off with South Carolina, and Florida State will try to hand Arizona their first loss of the tournament.

This year's action has had its share of surprises.

Kent State eliminated the top-seeded Florida Gators already, and Florida State handed No. 2 seed UCLA a decisive blow on Tuesday.

Let's take a look at a few things you should expect from today's tilts.

Stifled Seminole Bats

Florida State must get to Arizona's bullpen because they won't hit Kurt Heyer very well.

There's just one problem.

Heyer has gone into the eighth inning for 12 consecutive games. He threw seven complete games this season, and he led the nation in innings pitched.

He's 12-2 and was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth round of this year's MLB draft.

Heyer isn't overpowering; he does the job. His ability to eat innings is a major commodity for the Wildcats. It makes their bullpen almost non-existent on his day and allows them to rest.

The Seminoles lost to Arizona in their first CWS matchup, and Heyer was the pitcher. Florida State scored 12 runs in their second World Series game and four in their next matchup.

Their offense is potentially potent, but Heyer will stifle them once again. He knows what it takes to pitch at this level, and he already knows the tendencies of the Seminole offense.

An Upset

Kent State is going to beat two-time defending champ South Carolina in Thursday's first matchup. They've already knocked off the tournament's No. 1 seed, and they know what it takes to do it again.

The Gamecocks aren't the same team as last year's squad, but they are still supposed to be leagues ahead of Kent State.

Against Florida, the Golden Flashes went down early. But they battled back, scored runs in the sixth and seventh innings, and managed to claim victory.

Expect Kent State to ride that momentum to another unlikely win.

Upsets seem to be the flavor of the week in Omaha, and that won't end on Thursday.

Two Low-Scoring Games

I already talked about Heyer, but the rest of Thursday's pitchers will hold their own as well.

Kent State's Tyler Skulina and South Carolina's Michael Roth will battle in a low-scoring affair, and Arizona will struggle to give Heyer run support.

The College World Series is usually associated with offense, but it appears to be laden with great pitching so far. This makes for defensive baseball, and it makes every little mistake crucial.

Don't expect more than either team to combine for 10 runs in either game. These are four of college baseball's best pitchers, and they won't disappoint.


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