The Louisville Cardinals and TCU Horned Frogs are both looking for a shot at revenge. Both suffered losses to the Florida Gators and are now on the brink of elimination. Neither team has ever won a College World Series before but were looking for their first one this season. TCU and Louisville each need their offenses to get going if they want to avoid heading home before the weekend starts.
This game will take place at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 22, 2017. It will be broadcast on ESPN2.
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Louisville is likely to bring Nick Bennett to the mound on Thursday. Bennett was the third starter for the Cardinals all season long and hasn’t been used yet at the CWS. He didn’t play in the Super Regional against Kentucky as Louisville got the sweep, so he is very well-rested.
The Cardinals are undefeated in any game that Bennett has pitched. The team is 14-0 when he takes the mound at some point and Louisville is hoping he continues to be a talisman for them.
On the season, Bennett has a 2.70 ERA and averaged nearly a strikeout an inning. He didn’t walk batters either, allowing just 13 walks in 63.1 innings of action.
If Bennett struggles, don’t be shocked if the Cardinals use two-way star Brendan McKay. They are playing for their season and anything goes at this point.
Indications are that Mitchell Traver will get the start for the Horned Frogs. Traver has yet to pitch yet this postseason, but wasn’t bad in his 11 starts.
Traver had a 3.79 ERA this season and hitters batted just .205 against him. He averaged over a strikeout a game too, but there are some causes for concern with his performances.
If you didn’t see the games started statistic, you would think that Traver was a long reliever. His average start is less than four innings and that will likely be the case again here. Additionally, he gives up too many home runs for the relatively few amount of innings he has pitched.
Hitters to Watch
Evan Skoug finally got his feet under him a little bit in Omaha. Skoug was one of the best power-hitters in the country during the regular season, but whiffed three times against Florida in the CWS opener. He hit a double in the win against Texas A&M on Tuesday afternoon, but the Horned Frogs will need more if they want to emerge victorious here.
The other Horned Frog to keep an eye on at the plate is Austen Wade. Wade is the team’s leadoff hitter and has the best OPS too. He has some power, but gets on base better than anyone else. Unfortunately, he has yet to get a hit in Omaha, but did reach base in each of the first two games thanks to a walk.
It’s no surprise that Brendan McKay had the best game for Louisville at the plate against Florida. McKay was a star at the plate all year and was able to tag some of the best pitchers in the country. He hit two doubles against the Gators, but his teammates weren’t able to really capitalize.
Drew Ellis has underperformed up until this point in Omaha. He has just one hit thus far and has stalled out some rallies because of his inability to get on base. Ellis needs to remember his power.
College World Series ATS Pick
Louisville looked like the better team most of the season. The Cardinals and Horned Frogs may be even at the mound, but at the plate Louisville will do what it takes to win. Louisville has a solid bullpen too, so as long as the Cardinals can get ahead, they will be able to close out and get a win.
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