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June 7, 2007



Oklahoma State is in their first super regional since 1999. The Cowboys were the #3 seed in the Fayetteville Regional last weekend, and swept through it with a win over Creighton and two over top seeded and #7 national seed Arkansas (14-3 and 7-6). Louisville is in their first super regional ever, and got here by winning the Columbia, MO Regional. The Cardinals won their opener against Miami, then lost to Missouri in their second game, but they battled back to take their first regional championship, eliminating the Hurricanes and then defeating Missouri twice (4-3 and 16-6).


This is the first postseason action hosted at Louisville’s Jim Patterson Stadium. The facility, which opened in 2005, is named after the founder of Long John Silver’s, who is also a former Louisville baseball player. The field dimensions are 330 down the left and right field lines, 375 in left and right center, and 402 in center. The stadium is one of just a couple in the NCAA that have Field Turf on the entire field. Its official seating capacity is 2,500 (1,500 chair backs), but it can seat well over capacity.


Starting Pitching
If OSU does have a potential weakness, it’s their starting pitching. Oliver Odle is their best arm and pitched a complete game against Creighton, but behind him, their other two starters last weekend, Joe Kent and Jeff Breedlove, couldn’t make it past four innings. Louisville, meanwhile, has the Big East’s Pitcher of the Year in Zack Pitts (9-3, 2.37 ERA), and Justin Marks (8-2, 2.61 ERA) behind him. Pitts had a rough outing against Miami, but that’s an aberration for a guy who’s been outstanding all year. With their top two, Louisville has a definite edge in the rotation.
Advantage: Louisville
Oklahoma State is one of the nation’s top hitting teams. The Cowboys are batting .326 as a team with 82 homers, and have six players hitting .333 or better, led by Ty Wright (.411/6/40), Tyler Mach (.401/16/81), Corey Brown (.339/21/70), and Rebel Ridling (.333/13/67). Louisville’s pretty good at the plate as well, hitting .311 with 65 homers, led by Isaiah Howes (.392/16/59), Boomer Whiting (.368/1/23/72 steals - 1st in nation), and Logan Johnson (.363/13/57/26 doubles). Oklahoma State has the edge in hitting, but Louisville’s ability to put the ball into play is big, considering their 149 stolen bases, which is tied for second in the country.
Advantage: Oklahoma State
Out of the Pen
Oklahoma State has used a number of arms out of the bullpen this season, the best of which is Justin Friend (6-3, 2.36, 77 Ks, 7 saves). Behind him, it’s been bullpen by committee, and it worked this past weekend in a close championship game with Arkansas. Louisville has a dominant closer in Trystan Magnuson (3-1, 1.02, nine saves), and a couple of reliable relievers in Gavin Logsdon (2-0, 1.81) and Kyle Hollander (4-1, 2.34). For long relief, or an extra starting arm, the Cardinals have Colby Wark (3-3, 3.53, 69 Ks). Louisville has the advantage here because of reliability.
Advantage: Louisville
Even though this is the farthest each team’s coach has been as a head man, each has had success as a assistant. OSU’s Frank Anderson won a national championship as an assistant at Texas in 2002, and Louisville’s Dan McDonnell went to two straight super regionals at Mississippi. Anderson has done an excellent job getting OSU back to national prominence, and McDonnell, one of the nation’s top young coaches, has spearheaded a historic season for Louisville in only his first year as a head coach.
Advantage: Even
Oklahoma State has a long postseason history, but this is the first time they’ve been this far in quite a while. Louisville’s first regional win was last Friday. But the Cardinals are riding the wave of success, and McDonnell is going to have his team knowing what to expect, having been here the last two seasons with the Rebels. The same can be said for a Cowboy team that’s trying to restore the program to its former status. Home field is going to be big for Louisville, as the home crowd is going to soak up this first-time experience, and the Cardinals will no doubt feed off of it. Despite a lack of postseason experience, the core of Louisville‘s team is made up of seniors who want to extend their college careers for as long as possible, and they‘re going to do what they can to see to that.
Advantage: Louisville


This is a toss-up. Oklahoma State’s hitting prowess means that they’re in it no matter what the score is, but Louisville does have the pitching to slow those bats down. That being said, OSU is going to need their own rotation to produce enough innings to not put overwhelming pressure on the bullpen. Louisville’s speed on the bases is going to be a factor, because the ability to get runners into scoring position with relative ease is almost as big as being able to send a 2-1 fastball over the fence. Runners have stolen 50 of 60 times against OSU this season, and as mentioned, Louisville has stolen 149, so that’s an area the Cardinals will no doubt try to take advantage of.
There’s a lot at stake for both programs, as the Cardinals are trying to extend a historic run, and the Cowboys are trying to reclaim their place among the nation’s elite. This is definitely a series that bears watching, because win or lose, the nation is going to see a program that‘s just getting started in Louisville, and in OSU, a team with a bunch of hitters with the potential to be on MLB rosters soon enough. The Cardinals have a bunch of seniors itching to keep this run going, and in the end, I think they’ll prevail and add a couple more wins to that school-record total, along with booking a first-ever trip to Omaha.


Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
Louisville Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
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