After coasting to an 8-2 win over Alabama State using their third and fourth best pitchers, Bama fans have to feel good about the Crimson Tide’s chances as they head into the second round of the Tuscaloosa Regional.
Up next is scoreboard exploding Arizona State who averages 7.55 runs per game (3rd in the nation), but also gives up 4.88 rpg (228th). The Sun Devils offense is led by the number three hitter Kindra Hackbarth who is hitting .413 with 16 dingers and 54 RBI, and leadoff hitter Morgan Howe .400, 11 HR, 58 RBI. Their four pitchers all have ERAs north of 4.14.
Coach Patrick Murphy has yet to announce who he will start between Montana Fouts and Sarah Cornell but my gut says he goes with Fouts. The SEC Freshman of the Year has given up only two round-trippers all year as opposed to Cornell who has yielded 10. Seeing how Az State lives and dies by the long ball, Fouts seems like the better choice. Both pitcher should be fresh having not pitched since last weekend.
Winner of this game is in the catbird seat as they get to sit back and watch the other three teams of the regional duke it out, and face the survivor on Sunday.
(All times CT)
Game 3: Arizona St. vs. Alabama, 1pm, ESPNews & ESPN App - SEC vs PAC I
Game 4: Alabama St. vs. Lipscomb, 3:30pm - loser eliminated.
Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner, 6pm - loser eliminated.
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 1pm
Game 7 (if necessary): Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 3:30pm
A select few other games to keep an eye on Saturday:
#21 Virginia Tech vs #20 Kentucky, UK up 8-1 - F
#14 Tennessee vs Ohio State, UT 4-2 - 5th
#15 James Madison vs #11 Michigan, ESPN, No score - 9th
#9 Louisiana vs #19 Ole Miss, ULL 2-0 - 5th
#18 Texas Tech vs #13 LSU, 0-0 - 1st
Houston vs Sam Houston State, 0-0 - 1st - Austin Regional
#7 Florida vs Boise State, 0-0 - 1st, ESPN2 - The Smurfs won their first NCAAT game ever.
#25 South Carolina vs Bethune-Cookman, 1:30pm - Loser bracket
#16 Georgia vs #8 Minnesota, 3pm - Big Bad Minnie seeded above Bama
#10 Texas vs Texas A&M, 3:30pm, ESPN2 - Loser bracket
Missouri vs #3 UCLA, 5pm - SEC vs PAC II
Mississippi State vs #2 Washington, 5pm - SEC vs PAC III
#23 Auburn vs #6 Arizona, 5pm - SEC vs PAC IV
(Rankings represent those of ESPN)