The Arkansas Razorbacks and Florida State Seminoles are set to meet up in Omaha on Saturday night in the second game of the College World Series. Neither team is a stranger to the World Series, but both are looking for their first national championship. Florida State has the most appearances without a title at 23 while Arkansas has been their 10 times without reaching the pinnacle of college baseball success. Can either team get their first title this year? It starts with a good showing in their College World Series opener on Saturday.
First pitch for the game between Arkansas and Florida State is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The matchup will be shown on ESPN.
You can bet on College World Series odds at BookMaker.eu.
The Seminoles are one of the bigger surprises to even reach the College World Series this season, ranking lowest amongst the eight-surviving team in RPI.
Florida State upset No.4 Georgia in the Regionals and then took down another SEC powerhouse and ranked opponent in the LSU Tigers in the Super Regionals. The offense did the talking in back-to-back wins over Georgia, dominating the Bulldogs 22-4 in two games. Things were close against LSU as FSU outlasted the Tigers in a 12-inning showdown to clinch a College World Series berth.
The Seminoles are 41-21 overall, but have won six straight games, outscoring the opposition 58-19 in that span. Granted immediately prior to that, FSU lost three of four, including a series loss to fellow College World Series team, Louisville.
Arkansas has a better winning percentage at 46-18 and while nearly unbeatable at home, they’ve been solid at 12-9 on the road.
The Razorbacks are 5-1 since the start of the NCAA Tournament, losing 13-5 against Ole Miss in the second game of the three-game series, before coming back with a 14-1 win on Monday.
In that game, Arkansas allowed a run in the first inning and then the pitching shutdown Mississippi the rest of the way while the bats exploded, scoring four in the second and tacking on runs every inning until capping things off with a five run sixth.
Arkansas has a strong ace atop their rotation to help led the Razorbacks to a strong start in the College World Series.
Isaiah Campbell was selected No.76 overall in the MLB draft, one spot behind teammate Dominic Fletcher.
Campbell has put together a strong season with a 12-1 record and 2.26 ERA. He’s pitched 111.1 innings and has 115 strikeouts to just 82 hits and 20 walks, giving him a WHIP below one and an opponent batting average of just .205. Of the hits he does allow, most are weak. Only five have gone out of the park.
The right-handed senior should give the Razorbacks several quality innings and a chance to win. From there, the bullpen is set up to close it out.
Closer Matt Cronin is another early round draft pick after striking out 40 batters in 27 innings this season and pitching to a 2.00 ERA. He’s walked 14 which translates to a little more than one every other inning. That is a concern, but he’s limited the opposition to just 15 hits.
Bridging the gap between Campbell and Cronin are a plethora of dynamic options like Jacob Kostyshock and Kevin Kopps.
For FSU, CJ Van Eyk is the team ace. Drew Parrish and Shane Drohan are serviceable starters, but Van Eyk must step up for the Seminoles to get past the first round here in the College World Series.
The sophomore right-hander was drafted out of high school before opting for college and was elected to the ACC All-Freshman Team last year. This year, he’s gone 10-3 as the ace with a 3.80 ERA in 94.2 innings of work. In that time, he’s notched an impressive 120 strikeouts thanks to some electric stuff. His walk rate is solid and home run rate also respectable, though both—along with his batting average against—pale in comparison to Campbell.
In the bullpen, the Seminoles have a very strong closer in J.C. Flowers. The right-handed pitcher also brings a solid bat as an outfielder. On the mound, he’s notched a dozen saves with a 1.40 ERA in 25.2 innings, walking 11, allowing 17 hits and striking out 23.
Chase Haney and Conor Grady are other strong options to keep an eye on out of the pen for Florida State.
The Razorbacks and the Seminoles each have some solid power in their lineup, ranking in the top-20 in home runs per game in college baseball, but Arkansas has the edge in terms of making solid contact with a .301 team average to Florida State’s .272 mark entering the College World Series.
Florida State has just three batters on the roster with an average north of the Razorback’s team average. Mike Salvatore leads the way batting .341 and while he has just seven home runs, he’s got 22 doubles and four triples, leading the team in extra base hits.
Robby Martin has a solid .332 average and .414 OBP and is a threat to get on base whenever he comes up. Meanwhile, Drew Mendoza—the first Florida State player drafted in the MLB draft, going in the third round—is tops on the team in OBP at .484 He’s also the most dangerous bat with a team high 16 home runs and 56 RBI.
Those three represent the best all-around hitters on the team. J.C. Flowers has some good power and speed, leading the team in steals, but he’s batting just .272. He’s also stolen just 11 bases as Florida State isn’t all that great at manufacturing runs.
For the Seminoles to win, they need big games from Salvatore and Mendoza. If Arkansas can slow those two, they’ve got a good chance.
That’s especially true given how strong the Razorbacks are offensively.
Heston Kjerstad hit his team leading 16th home run in the team’s World Series clinching win in the Super Regionals. Meanwhile, four other players have reach double-digits in home runs, including Dominic Fletcher whose name was called on Day 1 of the MLB draft along with Campbell. Fletcher has a .316 average, one of five players batting over .315 with at least 190 at bats. He’s also one of three with at least 20 doubles along with Trevor Ezell and Casey Martin.
The offense is deep and a big part of the team’s 46-18 run and No.5 national seeding heading into the tournament.
Look for a strong outing by Campbell, turning the ball over to the pen and eventually Cronin to record the save for Arkansas.
FSU will struggle to mount much of a rally against Campbell as the team relies on the home run ball and only has a few strong contact hitters. With Campbell not allowing many homers, it could be a slow day for the Seminole offense, at least until they get Campbell out of the game.
On the other side, look for Kjerstad, Fletcher, Ezell and Martin to lead the Arkansas offense against Van Eyk. The FSU hurler will get some strikeouts, but the Arkansas offense is too good to keep down, they’ll stratch across enough runs to get the win.
Take Arkansas to grab the win at BookMaker.eu.
MLB Odds: Arkansas 5, Florida State 4
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