The Louisville Cardinals are the favorites to win the College World Series. Louisville is in the bottom half of the bracket, away from powerhouses Oregon State and LSU, and will likely be a large favorite against the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday. The Aggies have the worst odds to win it all in Omaha and are somewhat fortunate to get here after knocking off a Davidson side that stunned North Carolina in the Chapel Hill Regional.
This game will take place at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 18, 2017. It will be broadcast on ESPN.
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It will be interesting to see who manager Dan McDonnell picks to head to the bump for Louisville in this one.
Kade McClure was the starter in the first game of the postseason and in Game 1 of the Super Regional against Kentucky. He wasn’t great against Radford, but did all he was asked against Kentucky. On the season, he is 8-3 with a 3.43 ERA, but is striking out over a batter an inning.
If McClure doesn’t get the start, it will likely go to do-it-all superstar Brendan McKay. McKay was just selected with the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft and won the John Olerud Award for being the best two-way player in college baseball for the third consecutive year.
He is the best pitcher on the team and has pitched in the second game thus far in the postseason. He is striking out over 12 batters per every nine innings and isn’t walking batters either. It’s hard to go wrong with whoever McDonnell selects.
Brigham Hill is likely to get the start for Texas A&M. He started the first game of the postseason and the Super Regional and has been the most reliable option for the Aggies. Hill only averages six innings an outing, but is the one pitcher on the team to tally over 100 strikeouts. He can be boom or bust.
Hitters to Watch
McKay has been the second-best hitter on Louisville this season too. He has an OPS of 1.121 on the year and his 17 home runs were the second-most on the team. McKay has been fantastic at getting on base with a .464 OBP, the best on the team, and doesn’t strike out a lot either.
The real power belongs to Drew Ellis. Ellis is slugging .729 on the season and has colossal strength. He tallied 20 home runs on the season and picked up 161 total bases this year. 39 of his 81 hits this year have been for extra bases.
Braden Shewmake has been who the Aggies have turned to for a big inning this season. He leads the team in home runs and has double the RBIs as the next closest player on Texas A&M. His .538 slugging percentage is also tops on the team, but his weakness is that he just doesn’t take walks. Shewmake only walked 15 times this season.
The only player on the Aggies that is taking a lot of walks is Nick Choruby. He has 23 more walks than the next closest player on the team and that’s the reason he is the only Aggie starter with an OBP over .400. He has good speed too and has yet to ground into a double play.
College World Series ATS Pick
The pitching match-up is somewhat even no matter who takes the mound for the Cardinals. Although McKay or McClure may have a slight edge, Hill has shown that he can take over when he needs too.
The difference maker will be the line-ups. Louisville is a much better team at the plate than Texas A&M and will be able to get to Hill early. The Aggies don’t have a great bullpen and that should lead to a Cardinals victory.
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