The Hurricanes and Gauchos clash for the first time in game five of the College World Series this afternoon. Get your 2016 College World Series picks for Games 5 and 6 on Monday here.
Miami (50-13) vs. UC Santa Barbara (42-19-1)
The Hurricanes and Gauchos clash for the first time in school history in game five of the College World Series this afternoon, as the West Coast representatives need a win to remain in Omaha.
Danny Garcia (9-4, 3.48 ERA), a junior left-hander selected in the 15th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners, is expected to take the bump for manager Jim Morris' Sunshine State squad. The southpaw dropped his last outing 5-3 against Boston College in the Super Regional, gifting two earned runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work.
Miami went 12-5 SU in Garcia's starts this season. In all but one of the victories, the ‘Canes won on the run line by an average of 5.0 runs. Garcia led the team in strikeouts last season, notching 80 in 83 innings pitched. That number was down this year, however, fanning 50 in 94 frames. Meanwhile, his walks ballooned from 17 to 32. Overall, he owns a 16-6 record at Miami with a 3.86 ERA in his three years.
The staff is anchored by another Garcia, Bryan, whose 18 saves are second-most in the nation. His 43 career saves are the ninth-most in Division 1 history.
Freshman Noah Davis (6-4, 4.70 ERA) will command the hill for UCSB. Pitching in front of a solid defense, the Gauchos yielded five runs or less in all but one of the young right-hander's 14 starts this season.
Although 2-1 in three outings over the last calendar month, Davis has gifted eight earned on 21 hits in 15.1 innings pitched. His six home runs allowed leads the staff, and .284 batting average against is the highest among pitchers with three or more starts. He'll need to be mature beyond his years against a big-hitting Hurricanes squad led by first-round selection Zack Collins.
UCSB was just 12-12-1 away from home this season, but 6-1 on neutral field games, beating the likes of Washington, Kentucky, and Xavier.
The Hurricanes' 25 visits to Omaha are the second-most (Texas 35) of any program in the nation. They have gone home winless in only one of these trips (1979), and are 7-1 SU overall after dropping the opener. Baseball odds of -185 backing the Hurricanes are too steep to bet in this matchup, but bettors can find a reasonable price on the -1.5 run line -110 at sportsbooks. We will make that out free 2016 College World Series pick.
Oklahoma State (42-20) vs. Arizona (45-21)
Oklahoma State fans hope Tyler Buffet (8-3, 3.15 ERA) can match Thomas Hatch's opening-game performance tonight against the Wildcats. The Big 12 Pitcher of the Year tossed a 1-0 gem over UC Santa Barbara to advance the Cowboys to the Winners' Bracket for the first time since the 1990s.
Buffett, a seventh round baseball pick by the Houston Astros, pitched primarily from the bullpen this season, but is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in the postseason against powerhouse programs South Carolina and Clemson. Armed with four pitches, the best a nasty slider, he can ring opponents up and sports an 8.82 K/9 rate.
The Cowboys are 6-0 in the month of June with a 36-6 run differential. The staff has allowed three runs or less in 11 of the last 14 games.
Arizona has yet to name a starter, but whoever takes the hill should put in a solid effort. The team's 3.38 ERA is the lowest since 1976.
Like the Cowboys, the Wildcats are red hot, going 13-1 in their last 14 games. Also like OSU, pitching is stellar, having allowed three runs or fewer in 11 of the last 13 games. Arizona is undefeated at the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, going 6-0 all-time since opening.
Offensively, the Wildcats 646 hits this season are the 19th most nationally. Scoring 397 runs to the Cowboys' 358, they only hit 25 home runs all season (OSU hit 47). Arizona will look to jump ahead early, going 33-11 when taking the lead first.
Although we like Arizona as a live longshot to conquer Omaha, we are not keen on backing them as a short-priced dog here. Both staffs are hot, baseball odds UNDER 7.5 looks to be the play with the wind still blowing in form center.