TCU vs. Virginia: College World Series Preview and Gamethread

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Doppelgängers TCU and UVa meet up for what should be an epic showdown. This game may in fact---especially given the circumstances--- be the greatest match-up in College baseball this year.

Hey, I heard you like low scoring baseball games. The TCU-Virginia match-up will perhaps be the best of the entire College World Series. It’s unfortunate the only two National seeds to make it to Omaha are on the same side of the bracket. But hey, we’ll take what we can get. This game may in fact---especially given the circumstances--- be the greatest match-up in College baseball this year.

Finnegan vs. Waddell

The Horned Frogs will throw the recent Royal-draftee, Brandon Finnegan. The Hoos will throw Sophomore Brandon Waddell.

Player

Record

ERA

Brandon Finnegan

9-3

2.12

Brandon Waddell

9-3

2.66

We’ve seen what Finny can do. Since his “injury”, Finnegan has gotten back to peak-form and that peak-form was seen against Pepperdine two Saturdays ago. Aside from a random home run, Finnegan was absolutely dominant and as powerful as he’s been since the Texas game.

Per Streaking the Lawn, on Waddell

“He's not going to overpower anyone as he only tops out at about 92, but he has the ability to mix in a change up and a decent slider to keep hitters guessing. I'd credit that more to Coach Kuhn's coaching and pitch calling style than Waddell or any of the other Cavalier pitchers though”

Impact Players

The advantage is in Finnegan’s favor. Finnegan doesn’t disappoint on the big stage and tonight shouldn’t be any different. It’s just going to be a matter of whether or not he gets the runs he needs.

TCU Impact Player: Boomer White

Aside from the game winning hit against the Waves in Game 3 of the Supers, White’s hitting was a bit spotty. But, he’s always there when you need him and the folk hero added another page to his book last Sunday with the go-ahead RBI against a feisty Texas Tech squad.

If someone’s going to break this game open for TCU, it’s going to be Boomer---“who may or may not have some Targaeryn in him”---White.

UVa Impact Player: Mike Papi

Per STL:

“Individually, you'll want to keep an eye on Mike Papi. If you've watched UVa at all over the last two weeks, you'll know about him. He's the 3 hole guy that has almost carried the Cavaliers to Omaha, and had the walk off hit against Ole Miss on Sunday. Kenny Towns has been near the bottom of the lineup producing as well. He had more than a few big hits against Maryland and continued his hot ways on Sunday”

The numbers tell us Papi is dangerous. He’s first on the team in BA (.313), runs (71), an absurd OBP of .456, and home runs (11). In fact, Papi’s home run total is just two behind the Horned Frogs’ team total of 13.

Like a Schloss

The move to put Finnegan, usually the No. 1, behind Preston Morrison in the rotation is looking like the most brilliant play of the College World Series thus far. Throwing Morrison---against a Tech team that makes a lot of contact versus a pitcher whose forte is jamming teams that put the ball in play---worked pretty damn well in the first game. (The boxscore doesn’t completely show it because of Ferrell’s rare, off outing)

Rather than throw Finny against Tech---a team that might take advantage of the much higher velocities, and thus might get a jump early---you have Finnegan going up against a lefty-heavy UVa squad who doesn’t put the ball in play nearly as much. And knowing how sporadic TCU’s runs can be, there’s a good chance of getting buried early. While Finny is more designed to be an MLB pitcher, his higher velocities make him a higher risk against teams that hit and score a lot of runs. 

If the Horned Frogs were to get the win tonight, the path to the finals gets a little easier and it will be a direct result of this decision. 

Crystal Ball: The Doppelgängers

Normally I would do a “TCU will win if…”, “Virginia will win if…”, but these two teams are so similar on paper, it’s going to come down to the starting pitchers and who wins that duel.

That being said, the strength of the bullpen(s), will also be a huge factor. Ferrell was slightly off his game against Tech, so the Horned Frogs may have to rely on the very capable, Trey Teakell. Teak has been nothing short of brilliant in the post-season and could very well play a huge role in this game.

But when it comes to hitting, just look at what STL said: “I call out those two, but I feel pretty confident about UVa's lineup 1-9. The numbers haven't been there all season, but there isn't a player in the lineup that isn't capable of producing when needed.”

This is pretty much what we’ve said over and over about TCU the past two months. There’s not a player on this team that isn’t capable of being the one to step up and get a big hit. Here’s a statistical look at just how identical these two are…

Team

ERA

National Ranking

TCU

2.19

1

Virginia

2.31

5

Team

WHIP

National Ranking

Virginia

1.02

1

TCU

1.03

2

Team

Batting Average

National Ranking

TCU

.282

72

Virginia

.277

93

Team

Runs Per Game

National Ranking

Virginia

5.5

89

TCU

5.2

126

We meet our twin today. This one should be fun…

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