Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 D-II Baseball National Finals - 5/28 Preview

The semifinals of the 2015 D-II baseball finals are upon us, and today is the first of what a couple teams are hoping two straight days of the same schedule. Henderson State has to beat Tampa twice in the next two days to advance to the title game, while Cal Poly Pomona has to do the same against Catawba.

Thursday, May 28th, 12:00 PM Eastern (Elimination Game for HSU)

Henderson State (33-20)
Tampa (41-13)

NCAA Live Stats ||| NCAA Live Video

The Cinderella story Reddies are facing their toughest task of the finals so far, having to defeat the Spartans today in order to force an if-necessary game on Friday.

We are in the portion of the tournament where it is possible that some starting pitchers could begin coming back for their second starts. If that is the case, the Reddies might lean on Colton Lorance (7-4, 3.37 ERA, 30/31 K/BB in 82.2 IP) again. If not, then it could be Luke Tebbetts (2-3, 6.02 ERA, 18/23 K/BB in 46.1 IP) taking the mound based on who their starting pitchers have been so far this season.

The Spartans had Michael Calkins pitch on the 23rd, while Chase Sparkman pitched yesterday. If Calkins returns for another game, he will carry a 5-4 record, 3.48 ERA and 67 K in 65.2 IP line in to the contest. If not, it looks like it could be Brad Hencke (7-1, 4.98 ERA, 47/21 K/BB in 68.2 IP) taking the mound.

Thursday, May 28th, 4:00 PM Eastern (Elimination Game for CPP)

Cal Poly Pomona (45-16)
Catawba (46-13)

NCAA Live Stats ||| NCAA Live Video

The Broncos have been the best offense in Cary so far, and they will hope to continue that trend as they also face a tall task in trying to defeat Catawba twice in the next two days to move on.

Pomona's first game of the tournament was on the 24th, which I think will put them a day short in returning Cody Ponce to the mound. If he does return on short rest, he'll bring in a 5-3 record with a 1.44 ERA and a 67/14 K/BB ratio in 62.1 IP. If not, Max Bethell (7-3, 3.67 ERA, 56/16 K/BB in 76 IP) is a worthy candidate to take the mound for the Broncos.

For the Indians, they could bring back Shaefer Shepard (11-3, 4.11 ERA, 79/36 K/BB in 95.2 IP) on short rest, but since it isn't an elimination game for Catawba, I think they will go with Connor Johnson (5-1, 4.04 ERA, 60/24 K/BB in 62.1 IP) on the mound to try and earn their victory and advance to the national title contest.

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