Lafayette Regional Preview

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Jun 9, 2013; Charlottesville, VA, USA; The Mississippi State Bulldogs huddle prior to their game against the Virginia Cavaliers during the Charlottesville super regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Davenport Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Louisiana – I believe they want to be called Louisiana now and not Louisiana-Lafayette. I may be wrong there, but I think so. Their name, Ragin’ Cajuns, suits them well.

What are the chances that Mississippi State would be headed to the ULL Regional in softball and baseball in the same year? What’s more, ULL was the #6 overall seed in both sports.

It’s been a good year for the Ragin’ Cajuns (four syllables is just a mouth full, wouldn’t you say?) athletically. Mark Hudspeth led them to their third straight bowl game – which was also their third bowl game all time. They’ve been 9-4 each year, so Hud is building a nice program there. In basketball they made it to the NCAA Tournament, and now in baseball they are the #1 team in all the polls and a national seed in the tournament.

So what about baseball? I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about ULL at this point. They are 53-7, eight more wins than any other team in America. But they’re kind of like Boise State in football because they haven’t played many good teams so their win total is a bit skewed. For example, MSU has played 24 games vs. the top 50 whereas ULL has only played four. They are, however, 17-4 vs. the top 100 (.810) whereas MSU is 24-18 (.571).

They can hit it and pitch it. They’re a good team there’s no doubt about it. The question is are they sharp enough after playing lower competition for so long that they can still execute at a high level? What I mean by that is have their hitters just been feasting off mistakes, and their pitchers getting away with mistakes against lesser teams. You can get really comfortable in that situation, then when the good teams come rolling in they don’t allow you to take advantage of those mistakes quite as often.

The good news for the Ragin’ Cajuns is they’ll be playing one of those lesser teams in their first game on Friday night. They should cruise past Jackson State who barely has a winning record, and has an RPI of 269.

2. Mississippi State – you already know about the Diamond Dawgs. If you haven’t been paying attention this year, you can certainly read the hundreds of baseball posts we’ve written over the last four plus months here.

3. San Diego State – MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn is the head coach of the Aztecs, however, he is suffering from mouth cancer and will not be making the trip. There’s a lesson there, kids – don’t chew tobacco. You can stick a couple of sunflower seeds under you lip if you feel like it makes you look cool and you won’t get cancer….plus seeds taste great.

SDST is another team that can hit the ball. The stereotype of a west coast team is that they pitch really well but don’t do much with the bats, but this team doesn’t appear to fit that mold. They’ve got a right-handed heavy lineup and hit .291 as a team. It looks like they’ve got some decent gap power with six players in double figures for extra base hits.

Most likely the Aztecs are going to try to win ballgames with their offense scoring 5.8 runs per game, then ask the pitching staff which has a 3.70 E.R.A. to keep them in the game.

They won the Mountain West conference tournament.

4. Jackson State – there’s not really much to say about the Tigers. They are expected to go two and ‘que without much resistance. If they are to get a win it will be cause for major celebration.

You might remember that their bus burned a month or so ago and Mississippi State along with some other schools donated equipment to their program so they could continue to play. Best of luck to them and hopefully they have a great time at the Regional.