Free pick with analysis for Texas Tech and Coastal Carolina game, first time in program history Thursday, the winner moving on to face TCU in the 2016 College World Series semifinals.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (50-17) – Jason Bilous (3-1, 4.04 ERA)
The Chanticleers are making the most of their first ever trip to Omaha. Upsetting the No. 1 Florida Gators 2-1 in the first round, they need a win tonight to extend their stay after falling to TCU 6-1 on Tuesday. Momentum is on their side. Along with the Horned Frogs, their .882 winning percentage over the last 17 games is tops among all teams at the College World Series (CWS).
Longtime head coach Gary Gilmore is expected to give the pill to the highly-touted freshman Jason Bilous. The right-hander, who some project as a first-round pick in a couple of years, slings a fastball that ticks the low-to-mid 90's on the gun consistently, and is complemented by an excellent changeup. Bilous struggles a bit with control, however. Gifting 31 walks in 42.1 innings pitched he owns a 1.71 WHIP.
Bilous made nine starts this season, his last coming against N.C. State in the Regional Finals. He yielded two runs on six hits and three walks in 3.2 innings of work in the no-decision. Overall, the Chanticleers are 7-2 when Bilous commands the hill, outscoring opponents 78-32 against mostly Big South competition.
Missing his senior year of high school due to Tommy John surgery, Gilmore has kept the youngster on a strict pitch count. Bilous has never tossed more than 5.1 innings and averages less than 4.0 per outing. Expect the pen early in this one.
Despite crossing the plate once in each of its first two CWS games, the Chanticleers can hit. They scored 32 runs combined in six NCAA Tournament games versus St Mary's (Calif.), N.C. State and LSU before traveling to Omaha. Their 94 home runs were the most in the NCAA, and they rank in the top 10 runs scored, walks drawn, and stolen bases.
No.5 Texas Tech Red Raiders (47-19) – Erikson Lanning (3-3, 5.07 ERA)
Texas Tech matched the Chanticleers heroics by knocking the Gators out of Omaha 3-2 on Tuesday for its first ever CWS win. A 5-3 first-round loss to its Big 12 rival TCU put them in the Elimination Bracket. The Red Raiders are the only national seed left in the CWS and are 8-1 all-time versus Big South opponents.
Head coach Tim Tadlock is also expected to field a freshman on the mound in Erikson Lanning. The young southpaw made 10 starts this season, going 3-3 with a 5.07 ERA. The Red Raiders have won his last five outings after dropping all but one of his first five. He is coming off his best effort this year against East Carolina in the final game of the Super Regionals. He tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks with a career-high six strikeouts. Like Bilous, the youngster does not work deep into games, averaging 4.2 frames per start.
The Big 12 champions can mash the ball as well. Their 55 homeruns led the conference, and they owned the second-most runs with 655 behind TCU. In the NCAA Tournament, their hitting .263 as a team with 53 runs scored in nine games.They'll look to jump on the Chanticleers early, going 31-9 when scoring first on the season.
Analyse the updated baseball odds,The 2016 College World Series has seen nine UNDERS in nine games played, with a record-low 42 runs scored overall. Not one game has reached a double-digit score. Great pitching and defense, the ballpark, strong incoming winds, and other factors are at work. Will it go low again tonight? We're not taking that risk. The winds have shifted, and both teams are in desperate need for pitching experience. The over-under of 10 runs is tempting, but maybe too high for us to bite on the OVER. Instead, we'll back the Red Raiders as our baseball pick at -125 to prevail. Since the Super Regionals went to its current format in 1999, at least one national seed has made it to semifinals every year. We expect it to happen again today.