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Pitching leads powerhouses (AP)

Discussion in 'Diamond Gators' started by gatorjjh, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    Pitching leads powerhouses
    Arms make Louisville, defending champ Vanderbilt college baseball favorites
    By Eric Olson Associated Press
    With almost all of its pitching staff back from the team that made the program’s deepest postseason run, Louisville begins the season Friday ranked No. 1 in three of the six major polls.

    Defending national champion Vanderbilt lost six everyday players but is atop the other polls largely because it returns possible No. 1 draft pick Austin Martin and postseason pitching sensation Kumar Rocker. Louisville coach Dan McDonnell embraces the high expectations.

    “When six of your top eight arms come back and you finish third in the country, and with good position players, you feel like, OK, we’re probably going to be ranked pretty high this year,” McDonnell said. “We tried to prepare for the kids before Christmas as to what the rest of the country will think about us. You have to be mature in how you handle that.”

    Reid Detmers, the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference pitcher of the year, Bobby Miller and Luke Smith make up the weekend rotation. Each started games in the College World Series. The Cardinals also have a proven closer in Michael Kirian. Third baseman Alex Binelas, a freshman All-American last year, is among five position players who are back from a 51-18 team.

    The Cardinals lost all three of their games with Vanderbilt last year, including two in the CWS. The last was in a bracket final, with the Commodores scoring twice in the ninth inning for a 3-2 win. The teams have a regular-season game scheduled May 5 in Nashville, Tennessee. Vanderbilt has two of the college game’s biggest names in Martin and Rocker.

    Florida State (42-23)
    Mike Martin Jr. takes over for his father, the all-time wins leader in college baseball, and will field a team that brings back five position players, two starting pitchers and three relievers who appeared in the CWS. Reese Albert, who hit nine homers despite missing 18 games because of injury, will be counted on to bolster the offense. Ten-game winner CJ Van Eyk is the ace of a strong pitching staff.
    Florida (34-26)
    The Gators won their fewest games since 2013 and didn’t make the CWS for the first time since 2014. SEC coaches nonetheless picked the Gators to finish second in the conference. The spotlight will be on starters Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich — poster boys for Florida’s struggles on the mound (5.37 ERA) — and prized freshman left-hander Hunter Barco. Six everyday players are back from an offense that has pop.

    Georgia (46-17)

    Pitching leads powerhouses
     
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