Who isn’t cheering for the Davidson Wildcats at this point? The Wildcats were considered one of the weakest teams in the field with a record of 32-24 coming into the Chapel Hill Regional. They were expected to quickly roll over national No. 2 seed North Carolina, but instead shocked the world. The Wildcats knocked off the Tar Heels twice to get to the Super Regionals and will now face the Texas A&M Aggies with a ticket to Omaha on the line.
This series will be contested from Friday, June 9, 2017 through Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park in College Station. ESPN2 will broadcast the games on Friday and Saturday with a start time of 3 p.m. ET for Game 1 and 6 p.m. ET for Game 2. If necessary Game 3 will be played Sunday with a date and time to be determined.
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How They Got There
Texas A&M ended the regular season on a very sour note. The Aggies went from a team looking likely to get a national seed to a team that just barely held on to host a regional in a span of only two weeks. They ended the regular season winning just two of their last 10 games and were a trendy pick to be upset. However, in their Regional they made quick work of Baylor, Iowa, and Houston.
Maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised to see Davidson knock off UNC. Those teams met in the regular season and the Tar Heels could only beat the Wildcats by one run. After the Wildcats run through the Atlantic 10 Tournament that included knocking off top-seed Virginia Commonwealth twice, this team started to believe that anything is possible.
Brigham Hill should get one of the starts for the Aggies. Hill is 8-3 on the season with a 3.29 ERA and has logged more innings than anyone else on the roster. He has 101 strikeouts this season but also hit 10 batters.
Stephen Kolek is likely to get the other start and has very similar numbers to Hill. He doesn’t have the record to match, but his peripherals are very close to those of his teammate.
Opposing hitters have been successful against Davidson’s starters this season. Evan Roberts has fared the best out of the three, but even he is allowing batters to hit .264 against him on the year. These three don’t allow a lot of power, but do give up plenty of contact.
Hitters to Watch
Braden Shewmake had a fantastic debut season. He won SEC Freshman of the Year honors and was the Aggies best power hitter. Shewmake was the one Aggie that finished the season with double-digit home runs and he had a slugging percentage of .545. He needs to learn how to take some walks, but he has a bright future.
The Wildcats have some of the biggest hitters left in the tournament. They cranked 70 home runs as a team this season, 22 more than their opponents from College Station. Will Robertson and Brian Fortier led the way with Robertson posting a .644 slugging percentage and Fortier notching a .580 slugging percentage. This team strikes out a lot so they are boom or bust, but it has worked out so far.
What to Expect
The Aggies have a much better bullpen than the Wildcats do. The Aggies have been able to rely on their bullpen throughout the season, but the Wildcats don’t even have one guy they can consistently count on.
For Davidson to continue its magical journey, it is going to need the starters to go deep in games. Durin O’Linger has the stamina to go the distance, but the other two are more unproven.
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