Camp preview plus baseball: Florida Gators Podcast

In the latest episode of Gator Country’s  podcast, Nick de la Torre and Andrew Spivey preview the Florida Gators Super Regional against the Florida State Seminoles this weekend.

In this podcast we also are previewing the Florida Gators football camp that starts on Friday night on campus at the University of Florida and runs through the next two weeks with several big name prospects are expected in town.

Stay tuned to for many more podcast on the class of 2016 recruiting plus how the Gators do in the Super Regionals this weekend.




Nick:​What is going on, Gator Country? Andrew, I think we might to get a new intro music. I don’t know if I’m feeling that little guitar riff anymore. Might have to make some life changes, some improvements here to the podcast.
Andrew:​Yeah. I mean, whatever is what you think is what we can do.
Nick:​We got a busy week, starting with, obviously, if you’re listening to this it’s probably Thursday. Softball, winning Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series. Baseball is gearing up for the super-regional with Florida State. Had a source tell me that Florida State sold out their allotment of tickets that they’re given by the NCAA, which is 600 books. A book consists of all three games. Sold out their tickets by Tuesday, so that’s quick. Gator fans, if you’re listening to this on Thursday, single ticket sales are now open. Don’t let this be a home game for Florida State. I’m expecting huge crowds. Florida State obviously is going to travel very well, short 142 miles from campus to campus, so get on those tickets. This team deserves your attention and deserves your patronage at the game.
Andrew:​Nick, you and I have talked about this a little bit. We’ll be doing football camp this weekend, and you’ll be sliding out a little early to go to baseball. I plan to come over there, but as I begin to think about it I’m having some bad problems here.
Nick:​No, you’re not allowed on the message board thread.
Andrew:​No, I won’t be in the message board.
Nick:​You’re definitely not allowed in the park.
Andrew:​I won’t be in the park, but here’s my problem. I like the [WAR CHANT]. That’s the Braves baseball. So I’m a little conflicted of when I go in can I like put some earplugs in? Because I might start doing the Tomahawk.
Nick:​Let’s just hope there aren’t enough Florida State fans at McKethan Stadium where you can get a war chant going on. Because you’re not allowed in the stadium, maybe we can get you to climb up to the top of the O Dome, and you can watch. Like the Wrigley Field, seats from across the street.
Andrew:​There you go. Definitely. I do find it funny that you say they bought three games. I don’t think so.
Nick:​The NCAA book, and that’s what they call it. The NCAA sells, and the schools will sell books before they open single game tickets, because they want that commitment of you’re going to pay a little bit extra to get those three seats. We’re going to put those on sale first. So the book just comes in three games, and that’s just to say I have a seat before waiting until Thursday to buy just a Friday or just a Saturday game.
Andrew:​I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Logan Shore and AJ Puk shut down the Noles. Gators win on Saturday night, head to Omaha, after taking care of the Noles. You and I have kind of talked about this a little bit, and I know we’re not talking about baseball yet, but real quick before I get into this, you and I have talked about this. This team’s on a roll. I wouldn’t be surprised to see two back to back solid performances from Shore and Puk.
Nick:​If you’ve got, right now if you’ve got two games to win there’s some good pitchers. You still got Carson Fulmer and some of the Vanderbilt guys out there. LSU’s got some guys, but you can’t go wrong the way they’ve been pitching to roll out Logan Shore and AJ Puk if you’ve got two games to win. I’d put them up against pretty much anyone right now.
Andrew:​Yeah. Definitely. I think that Kevin O’Sullivan’s finally got them rolling. Puk kind of reminds a little bit of Julio Teheran in Atlanta, and I say that, and Zach Greinke a little bit, in this form. They both start out really slow in the first inning. It’s one of those if you’re going to get them you better get them early, because if you let them get four, five, six, seventh inning, no chance, because they’ve done dialed it in. That’s kind of what I started to see out of Puk over the last three, four, five outings is if you’re going to hit him you better hit him first, second inning, or if not, no chance.
Nick:​Yeah. He kind of takes a little while to warm up, and over those first three innings he’s kind of, not even struggled, but when you look at how impressive his numbers are, those first three innings he’s kind of still feeling it out, and then he gets into a groove, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh inning where stuff becomes unhittable. He really just starts missing bats, piling up the strike outs. But we will get to baseball.
First, our first pressing matter is first big recruiting camp of the weekend, of the summer, this weekend in Florida. Jim McElwain, recruiting coordinator Drew Hughes, the entire coaching staff. They’ve been working during spring evaluations to bring kids into campus, because that’s how you get kids to commit, to sign. Get them on campus, roll out the red carpet, show them some love. Andrew, who are we expecting in Gainesville this weekend, other than yourself? You’ll be in Gainesville. Which high school kids, which prospects, which targets are going to be in Gainesville this weekend?
Andrew:​Before we hit camp, real quick let me rewind real quick to Friday. We was on scene, Cassidy and I, Nick you were handling the behind the scenes stuff. Lamical Perine from Theodore High School, the running back, committed to Florida. Little bit of a background on him a little bit. It’s a pretty funny story. His offensive coordinator is my best friend. He and I coached together a little bit when I was back in the whistle days myself. Perine is a 5’11”, 218 pound back, and Nick, you and I were talking about this a little bit off the air. He’s that bruiser back that Alabama had with Richardson, Ingram, all those guys, the Derek Henry’s. Those kind of guys that are just guys that will bloody your nose up as a linebacker. That’s Lamical Perine.
It’s funny, because a lot of people say, he’s a three star, nobody’s offered. While I was sitting in the office Friday waiting on Lamical to finish up a calculus test, funny enough, he was coming into the office, Arkansas, Bret Bielema offered Perine. Wanted him on a scholarship. Then Tosh Lupoi, the defensive line coach from Alabama, called wanting to know if Lamical was going to come up to campus on Monday to get an offer from Alabama.
Nick:​This was all just in the time of him taking a test, in between a test and a phone call to Tim Skipper to say that he was committing. He had an offer from Bielema in Arkansas and an offer for Alabama to come up, work out, and potentially get an offer. So we’re talking about maybe an hour time span here?
Andrew:​Maybe 30 minutes. It was funny, because once the news broke that he committed, Tennessee called, Mississippi State called, and Tosh Lupoi called pissed off that Perine had committed to Florida before going up and tripping Alabama. Oddly enough, they give him the phone, and Perine tells Alabama, I’m committed to Florida. I’m not camping at Alabama. Thank you, but no thank you. He tells his coach, tell everybody that. I’m not going anywhere. Anyway, it’s a back story. I hardly ever publically tout a kid of being really, really good, but Lamical Perine is a guy that I sat there, right there, look in his eyes. It’s a guy that is very eager to get to Gainesville. He took a 12 hour trip on a Greyhound to come camp at Florida last June, and didn’t even get an offer, and he was going to do it again this year.
Nick:​I have made that trip to around that area in the car, which is a little quicker, especially the way I drive, than in a bus, and I don’t like to make that drive. I couldn’t imagine being on a bus and stopping.
Andrew:​At 16 years old.
Nick:​That shows a lot of commitment, and definitely a lot of interest. You never can say with 100% certainty, the way recruiting is now. A kid that committed in May, he’s solid, but I think you can get pretty close to that with someone’s who shown that kind of initiative, just getting to campus.
Andrew:​Definitely. Anyway, let’s get to camp. Perine, he’s coming. The thing is, he’s not coming alone. He’s bringing big four star defensive lineman Darius Whitfield, one of his good friends. He’s coming with him. Possibly USC wide receiver commit Velus Jones, possibly with him. Also a linebacker who’s starting to pick up some offers from his school, Justin Williams. They call him pig, because they say he has the nose for the football. He’s coming. He’ll be there. I expect them all to work out. Lamical says that it’s another to get better with Coach Skipper. He’s going to work out. You want to work out, get better with the team. Perine, Whitfield, and possibly Velus Jones will be there.
​Offensive lineman Marcus Tatum, who Florida and Auburn are battling for right now. Florida has the upper hand right now. Marcus is saying that he is most likely, he gave me an 85% chance that he’s going to be there on Saturday. He said if not this Saturday, next Saturday he’ll be there. He’ll be there as well.
​Maybe the biggest name coming in is Cavin Ridley, the wide receiver that his brother Calvin committed to Alabama last year. He was the one that was involved in the Joker Phillips kind of deal. Florida’s the leader for him. He wants to make a summer decision. He’s going to come on campus with a 2017 receiver, Jared Judy. They’re going to come together. It wouldn’t be surprised if we have to throw up one of those little red devils for Ridley. You guys in Gator Country you know what I mean when I say that. I don’t have to say no more.
​Then also, Nick, I know this is going to be your favorite prospect to come on campus this weekend, Ricky Aguayo, how do you say his last name? The kicker from Florida State.
Nick:​Honestly, you know me, I worry about how to say their names once the letter of intent is in the coaching staff’s hand, and then they’re my problem. I think Aguayo. Yeah, hey kickers and punters are people too. We have a kicker coming in to earn his scholarship. This is something that you and I talked about privately. In my opinion, after the kicking struggles that Florida has had, I didn’t understand why Florida just didn’t offer Aguayo. You explained to me that all kickers kind of have to do it.
I thought it was pretty impressive that he, coming from his brother is a back to back All American, was just named a Pre-Season All American again. He has a big leg, very accurate himself. Impressive to me that he’s not saying, look what my brother’s doing, look what I’ve done in high school. Why do I have to come and work out? Hopefully he’s not holding that against anybody. He’s going to come and work out, and we’ll see if the scholarship offer comes down this weekend.
Andrew:​I think it will. I saw a video of him, and Isaac Nauta, the tight end committed to Florida State. They were messing around at pre-game before their spring game at IMG. He had a 59 yarder from the ground. Impressive.
Nick:​That’s not bad.
Andrew:​The thing is, he walks out with the last name, you know he’s a kicker. You know he’s good. Anyway, the last one that I want to get to before we move on is offensive lineman Quinn Metoyer. He’s a 2015 prospect that just recently found out he was going to qualify to enroll this summer. So he’ll be able to play in 2015. He’s a guy that has three years to play. He’ll be a sophomore. I don’t think he comes in and sees immediate playing time.
From what I’ve been told by different people that know him, have watched him a lot, and been around him, they say that he’s still a little raw. He’s still developing his game, but from what they told me was he’d come in, be a guy that get in there, get some depth on the offensive linemen, and then worst case scenario if somebody gets hurt, and he has to go in and play a guard position he can do that. No matter whether he plays this year or not, getting him on campus as a sophomore, letting him learn, who knows what he does next year as a junior? This offensive lineman problem isn’t getting better overnight.
Nick:​No. It’s not. It’s not something that’s going to get better on the field in 2015. It’s a process, because it’s very rare that you have an offensive lineman that can step in right away and play. Even a JuCo at times. You look at Trenton Brown, he was forced to play his first year. The plan for Trenton Brown was always to have him sit out a year, because he was one of those guys that had three years to play too, but he was forced to play. If you ask Trenton he would have said he would have rather red-shirted that first year, and then played two.
Andrew:​Right. Absolutely.
Nick:​It’s a tough position to project, and that’s what you have to do in recruiting. You’re projecting talent. The problem’s not going to get better unless you bring in bodies, and that’s really what McElwain and this coaching staff are trying to do, just get bodies in and work with what you have once you get them on campus.
Andrew:​Yeah. Definitely. I know we kind of talked about camp here. It’s going to be a process. You got June 6th this coming weekend, and then it’s going to be really camp all the way until June 20th. Won’t be very many guys a day. Offensive lineman Richard Merritt from Washington DC is going to come down one weekend. Next weekend I think Tyrek Tisdale and possible Parker Boudreaux comes in. It’s just going to be a different day a different prospect comes to campus basically from June 6th through the 20th, and then you get the dead period that runs through July 4th.
Again, you’ll kind of see that you won’t see a huge number come in during the week. You’ll see the huge numbers come in more on the weekends, but, again, you can’t say enough about what McElwain, Coach Hughes, and those guys have done in the spring getting prospects on campus, and that’s in the middle of school year. I really think the summer is going to be very important for Florida getting guys in, especially quarterbacks.
Dylan Sterling-Cole is a guy that’s kind of told me middle to late June he’s going to come in as well. Do they get Phillipe Franks, the LSU commit? Does he come on campus? Do they surprise somebody and get another quarterback that maybe we haven’t talked about come on campus? That’s a position that needs to be filled this summer, and I think that’s kind of where we need to be watching. So which quarterbacks come on campus, who throws in front of Nussmeier and McElwain? Who gets an offer? Then where does Florida sit as soon as they leave campus?
Nick:​Yeah, and that’s important. Getting into the summer now. Now we’re into June, July coming. You’ll have the opening, and by the time the opening happens you’ll get a couple commitments there, but for the most part the big quarterbacks are off the board there. Definitely important for Florida to get quarterbacks in and throwing in front of Nussmeier, get Nussmeier out like he was doing in the spring. Getting him out to the high schools to see the quarterbacks throwing. Definitely an important position. I know you’re young there this year, but it’s never too soon to find that next guy.
Andrew:​Stockpile them. Never can have too many. Only one can play, but just stockpile them. As Florida’s seen, the sniper is somewhere in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, and he only likes quarterbacks and offensive linemen.
Nick:​Yeah. I mean, you look at what Pete Carroll did at USC, and he kind of just traded out Heisman winning quarterbacks, just getting the best kid out of California every year. They all knew they were going to have to wait three years to play, and they just sucked it up and won some football games. There’s a lot of pride in that position. When you talk about playing time. We might play five receivers, so if I’m the seventh receiver on the depth chart I might even get some playing time. If you’re the third quarterback on the roster you’re not playing.
Andrew:​You might get some clipboard time.
Nick:​Yeah. Some TV time if you’re standing next to coach with the clipboard.
Andrew:​Real quick on this quarterback position before we move on. You look back at Alabama a little bit when McElwain and Nussmeier were there, and they kind of had that same thing rolling. They had McElroy. Then they replaced him with AJ McCarron. They kind of always had a quarterback ready to go when it was McElwain and Nussmeier there, and they never really had a true lack of talent at the quarterback position. I think that’s where Florida, one of their recent struggles is they went from having a guy like Tebow, then they had Brantley, and then it was where do we go? Driskel never performed, but you never had a backup to replace Driskel. So there you go. Brissett transferred out, and the rest is history. Florida has a new football coach this year.
Nick:​Yeah. Hopefully this staff will look at the shortcomings of the previous staff and learn from that.
Andrew:​I agree. Let’s talk a little bit about the winning team, the Gator baseball team. Nick, I’ve done my part, buddy. I’ve done my part. My ladies are in Oklahoma City. They’re tearing it up. They’re getting the love. You got your team through the regionals. Are you getting them through the super-regionals? Just give me a preview of the super-regionals. If you were Kevin O’Sullivan, what would you do?
Nick:​I came on two years ago spring and covered baseball. They went 0-2 in the Indiana regional, and then I was there last year for the Gainesville regional, again 0-2. So I thought it was maybe me. I thought maybe I was the reason, that I was the black sheep or the black cloud hanging over Florida’s program, but they proved me wrong. Florida with a clean sweep. They got to play each team once. Dominated FAMU 19-0. Dominated USF, and then won a close game against FAU on Sunday to clinch it. Now you’ve got Florida State Seminoles. Florida went 1-2 against the Seminoles this year, winning the home game, losing in Jacksonville, losing in Tallahassee. So they get FSU back at home, and I’m expecting a very intense atmosphere at the Mac this weekend.
It was a little unfortunate, Friday was a good crowd at the regional game. Saturday was a lot smaller, and then Sunday I was told was the smallest crowd by attendance, by scanned attendance, people that showed up, the smallest crowd of the year. That includes games against Fairfield, Maine. I’m talking about out of conference games, nothing on the line, mid-week games. Sunday was the lowest attendance, and then obviously Florida ends up winning the regional in front of 200, 300 people, because people left. There was an hour and a half weather delay right there in the ninth inning. I almost felt bad for the team. You worked so hard. You’re winning a regional. You just won the SEC tournament, and you’re basically winning that regional in front of close family, friends, and some media.
Andrew:​Let’s be fair. They were at home watching my ladies take care of the Auburn Tigers in Oklahoma City. So we’ll give Gator fans a pass. Let’s sell out the Mac. Let’s sell out this weekend, get it packed, get it jamming, get the Noles out of Gainesville.
Nick:​Here it is. I think the best crowds, bar none, we had at McKethan Stadium this year were the one game against Florida State, and the three games against Miami. Florida State travels really well to Gainesville. Miami traveled really well, and then Gator fans showed up really well, showed out in droves for that Miami series. So I’m hoping that with FSU already selling out their allotment on Tuesday Florida has a chance to sell out their allotment, and then Thursday single ticket games will go on. So on Thursday if you want to go just to Friday you can get your ticket then. I’m hoping to get a good crowd throughout the weekend, whether it’s Friday, Saturday, and Sunday or just Friday, Saturday.
I really like how Florida is stacking up, and I think it’s like Kevin O’Sullivan said, I like the way that they’re playing right now. It seems like if somebody’s cold there’s two people that are hot to kind of pick them up. Harrison Bader was cold 0 for 8 in the first three games of the SEC tournament, and Florida goes 2-1. You lose one game on Friday to a home run in the ninth, but other than that it seems like not one person really dictates the way that these teams go.
Then Florida has the absolute deepest pitching staff from starters to closers in Taylor Lewis in the country. I’d stack their entire bullpen, their entire staff, up against anybody in the country, and I think that’s what’s really been driving them. They lead the nation in fielding percentage. They’re on pace to break an all-time record in fielding percentage. Then when you’ve got guys like Logan Shore, AJ Puk, Alex Faedo’s been tremendous his last couple starts. Taylor Lewis, Bobby Poyner, Danny Young. When you talk about these guys like Bobby Poyner and Danny Young and Eric Hanhold these are guys that on other teams would be go to guys, guys that are starting Saturday, starting Sunday, and at Florida they’re just…
Andrew:​Another guy.
Nick:​They’re just role players in the bullpen, and that really tells you what you need to know about how deep this staff is.
Andrew:​Let’s not forget about Aaron Rhodes and Shaun Anderson. Both of those guys may go to another team and be two or three starters.
Andrew:​If you see them once a weekend you’re doing good.
Nick:​Yeah. No, that’s true. I always clamor for Rhodes, because he works fast. I like watching him spin his slider. It’s like you said, they’d be number one, maybe, on some teams. The three teams that Florida faced, Aaron Rhodes might be those teams number one guy, and Aaron Rhodes didn’t pitch in the regional.
Andrew:​Right. Right. You and I have talked about it before. It’s like Kevin O’Sullivan is going to stockpile the pitching, and that’s what it is. It’s not going to have a guy come out of the bullpen that ain’t throwing mid-90s. I have to be disappointed in you a little bit, Nick. You didn’t talk about the best player in the country right now, in my opinion.
Nick:​Best player in the country, that would be JJ Schwarz, who is unconscious. He is putting up numbers that you wish you could put up in a video game.
Andrew:​My road to the show guy would be dying to put it up. What impresses me the most, Nick, about JJ is you can’t defend him. He’s not a pull hitter.
Andrew:​He doesn’t go oppo every time. He just powders gaps and powders gaps. Then he powders the fences. He just, in my opinion, is so much better than his age dictates. You said it best to me. You’re like his average is going to get better as it goes on, and I truly believe you when I say that, but good grief is he not turned into just an absolute stud. When me and you talked about this freshman class he was like sixth or seventh person we talked about.
Nick:​I don’t know about that. Maybe, because I didn’t think he was ever going to come to campus.
Nick:​It was a situation where, obviously, his sister is here. You tell teams, I want X dollar amount, and they’re like, I don’t know about that. But Florida’s happy to have him, and they’ll have him for two more years after this. Talk about rising to the moment, since post season play started Schwarz is 17 of 32 hitting 531.
Nick:​That’s the SEC tournament and regional. There’s only been one game in the, let’s see Florida played four games, five games in Hoover, three games. In the eight games there’s only been one game where Schwarz didn’t have a multi-hit game, and that was against Auburn, the first win of the SEC tournament.
Then another kid, another freshman swinging the bat really well, is Jeremy Vasquez, someone who we didn’t really talk a lot about, because Ryan Larson, sophomore, played so well and was hitting so well. He hit 330 for most of the year. Did look a little overmatched in the regional, and Vasquez made all the starts, except for when Mike Rivera missed a game. Vasquez was 6 for 12 in regionals, hitting 500 in the regional, and he’s a guy that as he continues to hit well and get more playing time you just see the confidence growing.
So much in baseball is momentum, and it’s such a mental game that when you have a week where you hit 6 for 12, and now you’re starting after being a spot starter for most of the year. You start getting confident. That ball starts looking a little bit bigger when it comes in. It kind of a snowball. You get a single, even a seeing eye, single to break out of a slump, and now the ball starts getting bigger. Then you hit another ball hard. Florida top to bottom right now, all the way from 1 where Harrison Bader’s been hitting down to 9 in Mike Rivera, there’s no easy out in that lineup.
Andrew:​Yeah. Rivera, a lot people don’t talk about Rivera’s stick, but he’s clutch. Then a lot of people don’t talk about Buddy Love, Buddy Reed, and his stick.
Nick:​Buddy Love brought out the long ball.
Andrew:​Yeah. You and I talked about this last year, and we said Buddy Reed’s going to be a really good center fielder, but could he hit enough? I think that he has improved his stick enough that he potentially becomes a guy that you could stick in the two hole, or possibly in the one hole, the leadoff spot, going down the road, because he’s improved his bat so much, whether that’s from his glasses or what it is, but he’s just improved.
Nick:​It might be the glasses. He really kind of took off since getting the glasses. I can’t imagine playing at the level he did for so long, for his entire life, even through his freshman year in college, without glasses, and then kind of realizing I couldn’t see anything. He is a guy that you can hit him anywhere in the lineup, 1, 2, even at the bottom of the lineup if you wanted to. I think you want to get him more at bats. You wouldn’t put him at the bottom of the lineup, but he’s a guy, his speed.
They had him clocked at 3.9 down to first base in game in Hoover in the SEC tournament. I asked him. I said, are you faster than that? He said, yeah, I’m faster than that. That was in game. I didn’t know they were timing me. He said, I can beat that. For people that don’t know, anything under 4.2 in the majors is considered fast, and Buddy Reed’s been running the same 90 feet down to first base, and he’s doing it in 3.8, 3.9. So he is moving.
Andrew:​Well, Nick, before we get off here. Let’s go a little rapid fire. There’s 16 teams remaining. Let’s run through each bracket, and let’s both of us go a little quick prediction on this, and then we’ll end this bad boy. Let’s start off. I’m looking at the NCAA bracket right now. At the top Virginia, kind of went to Santa Barbara and did a little upset over there. Maryland went to UCLA and upset the number one team in the country. Nick, Virginia or Maryland, who you got?
Nick:​Maryland’s got to be riding high off of that UCLA win, and this is really interesting, because you had 60% of the one seeds made it through, and now this super-regional is two three seeds. So I think Maryland did have the one last in their regional. Virginia’s got a great staff. I’m going to have to go with Virginia here, even though Maryland was able to knock off the one seed in UCLA. I’m going to go with Maryland.
Andrew:​Okay. Are you going with Maryland or Virginia?
Nick:​Sorry. I’m going to go with Virginia. Sorry. I’m going with Virginia over Maryland.
Andrew:​Okay. I’m going to go with Maryland. I’ve seen Maryland at the beginning of the year. Good sticks all around. Had some good arms in the pen. Coming off that big emotional win at UCLA, plus they’re the home team this weekend. I’m going to go Maryland. That’s where I’m going to go. I’m going to go Maryland.
Nick:​I’m writing all this down. We’re going to have to have some kind of wager.
Andrew:​That’s fine. We can go any wager you want, Nicholas, because I’m winning. Let’s go to Arkansas, Missouri State. I think Arkansas might have been the most underrated two seed in the country. They went to Oklahoma State, and I watched a lot of these different analysts predict, and I don’t think I’ve seen anybody not predict Arkansas, but Arkansas’s hosting despite Missouri State being a national seed. Who you got, Nick, the hogs or Missouri State?
Nick:​I’m going pig sooie. I got the hogs. I am an SEC homer, and I’m going with Arkansas. Saw them play a bunch of times this year with Florida going up against them. That’s a very good team.
Andrew:​Yeah. It wouldn’t shock me if they won the World Series, but we’ll go on with that next week. Miami, they get a little dot in VCU. What a joke, but VCU did go to Dallas Baptist and beat that joke of a region. So Miami, VCU, it’s got to be the Canes, right?
Nick:​I’m going with the Canes. The Canes had to sweat it out a little bit down there in the Coral Gables regional, but I think Miami, another team that I saw this year in person. Good squad. I’m going to go with Miami over VCU.
Andrew:​Quick, real quick. Can Anthony Grant take his basketball team to run the bases for VCU?
Nick:​I don’t know.
Andrew:​I got to go Miami, so I’ll go Miami there. We talked about Florida, Florida State. I know we’re both going Gators. Let’s go real quick. Three games or two games, Nick?
Nick:​I’m going to say it is going to go, we’ll go with two. We’ll just say it’s going to go two. You’re going to get a win on a Friday night from Logan Shore, and you’re going to get a win on Saturday from AJ Puk.
Andrew:​I love you, Nick, and I’m going two games, but I’m going an extra inning game on Saturday night to make your night really long. Gators in two. Now here’s an interesting bracket for me, matchup for me. LSU and Lafayette. Lafayette came on hot at the end of the year, very hot. Beat my Alabama Jaguars on a walk off grand slam that went off the score board, but Lafayette has power sticks throughout the order. I think if they can hit, if they can put some runs on the board against LSU they may have a chance. What you got, LSU or Lafayette in Alex Box?
Nick:​This is interesting, because I think these two schools are separated by 48 miles. So before when I talked about it only being 140 miles FSU travels to Gainesville really well. Take out 100 miles, and Lafayette fans, Cajun fans are going to be going into LSU. I think that’s going to be heated, and I actually think that will go to three games, but I do think LSU comes out on top.
Andrew:​I’m going to go LSU, but let’s go a little bit further. Over under 10,000 beers drank per night?
Andrew:​Yeah. I agree.
Nick:​LSU had 10,000 people in the stadium for a game that was cancelled due to weather, and then when they made it up at noon on a Monday they had 5,000 people in the stands that day.
Andrew:​How many people went home though? Did they all have hangovers and sleep in Alex Box?
Nick:​Maybe they kept drinking so they wouldn’t get hungover.
Andrew:​There you go. So we’ll both go LSU there. That’s three SEC teams already moving on. Let’s go TCU, Texas A&M. I think this may end up being the best regional outside of Florida, Florida State. Both are one seeds, and there’s a little bad blood here. A&M feels like they should have had the national seed. TCU got that national seed. What do you think, Nick?
Nick:​There is some bad blood, and also schools kind of close together. This is another really good matchup, and I know people say I don’t want to see teams that have played each other, specifically talking about Florida and Florida State, but I like that. I like when you get teams that know each other, that have some history, that have maybe some bad blood. Raise the emotions up. I like that. I’m going to go with TCU here. I think both teams lost a game in their region, but I’m going to go with TCU. I just don’t know if defensively Texas A&M is going to be good enough. I kept watching them shoot themselves in the foot with mental errors and physical errors on the field. I think I’m going to go with the Horn Frogs here.
Andrew:​TCU got lucky to get there. North Carolina State had an emotional breakdown. I believe it was two walks, four errors in something like 2-5 pitches, two wild pitches in the eighth inning.
Nick:​Something like that can get you going. Something like that can get the ball rolling.
Andrew:​I’m going to go A&M. Here me out on this. I think A&M comes off of that emotional win, because they had to beat Cal twice to get there. Once they were down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth and had to take care of business. So I think that they come on an emotional high, plus they’re pissed at having to go to TCU. I don’t even know where TCU is, but wherever TCU is they have to go there to play them. So I’m going to go A&M here. I like A&M here. Let’s move on real quick. The Illini versus Vanderbilt. I didn’t really know much about Illinois.
Nick:​You were talking TCU, Texas A&M. I think this is probably one of the tightest super regions. Illinois had a crazy run where they won 24 or 25 or 26 games in a row this year leading up into their post season tournament. They’ve been a team to be reckoned with all season long. Obviously Vanderbilt not the same team that won the College World Series last year, but that pitching staff is phenomenal. One of the best pitchers. He’s up for the Golden Spikes award, in Carson Fulmer. This is a tough one for me. I like Illinois. I like Vandy. I think I’m going to have to go with pitching, and we talked about Florida’s top two. I think Vandy’s top two will get them through this region, super regional.
Andrew:​Illinois loses the first game, bounces back with the next two against a Vandy team that has been struggling offensively. So I’m going to go the Illini here.
Nick:​I’m not confident in my Vandy pick. You could be taking that one there.
Andrew:​I really like Carson Fulmer, and I think that he’s a dang good one starter, but to me can Vandy put up enough runs to win that second game or potentially third game? Because that’s been their question mark. When Dansby Swanson’s not hitting the ball out of the ballpark where’s the offense coming from?
Nick:​That’s true, but he’s been hitting the ball out of the ballpark a lot. That Derek Jeter play he made in their regional. I mean, he was playing basically in shallow left to make him throw across the diamond hopping backwards. That kid’s just incredible.
Andrew:​We’re watching two great shortstops in the SEC in him and Bregman at LSU, in my opinion.
Nick:​Then you get overshadowed Richie Martin. If not for Bregman and Swanson’s Richie Martin’s probably talked about as the best defensive guy, best maybe even all around shortstop. It’s just Bregman and Swanson are kind of just in a different level.
Andrew:​I get the pleasure of watching Andrelton Simmons every night, and, Nick, you’re a baseball guy like me. You appreciate what Andrelton Simmons does. Andrelton Simmons makes my jaw drop, but when you watch some of Dansby Swanson’s plays it’s like, wow, where did that come from? Let’s not get off topic here. The last regional, in Louisville, the Cal State Fullerton versus Louisville this weekend. Louisville is a three seed. Who you got?
Nick:​No, Louisville’s a one seed.
Andrew:​No, three seed overall, excuse me.
Nick:​Oh, yeah. I’m going Louisville here. First off, Louisville’s a very talented baseball team, and then that is a long way to go for Cal State Fullerton from Long Beach, California to Louisville, Kentucky. I’m going to go with Louisville here.
Andrew:​I’m going to go the same thing. I think the cards go that way. If I’m reading the bracket right, and everything goes as we have it, it looks like Florida and Miami first game in Omaha. Am I reading this wrong? Is that kind of how it’s matching up?
Nick:​I think so. We might have to check on that to see if they’re going to re-seed or they move things around, but they are on that bottom end of the bracket, and that’d be a great matchup to see again. Fourth time they’ve faced off this year. I’d love to see that.
Andrew:​Right now we both have four SEC teams moving along. Softball put five in the College World Series. Can baseball somehow get five there? Who knows? One thing is for sure, SEC’s the best conference in the country. We all know that.
Nick:​Real quick. We’ll see. We both picked Arkansas and Miami, Florida, LSU, and Louisville. So our three games to watch are going to Maryland, Virginia, or three series to watch, Maryland, Virginia, Texas A&M, TCU and Illinois, Vandy.
Andrew:​Yeah. We’ll be watching it. You and I will probably be catching a few games together this weekend. If anybody has any idea of how to not make me do the tomahawk chop if I hear it, let me know. We’ll see you guys. Nick, I’m out of here. Say your thing, and we’ll sign off this bad boy.
Nick:​You stay classy, Gator Country.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.