1. Florida State
2. Mississippi State
National Seeding: Florida State played their way into a national seed late in the year. They are seeded 7th.
Player to Watch: Andrew Karp. Karp is Florida State’s #2 pitcher and would likely face State if the Bulldogs can beat OU in the opener. Karp is 8-4 with a 3.97 ERA this year but has given up 13 home runs – the most of any pitcher in this regional (no other pitcher has double-digits, actually). This is a key match-up for Mississippi State if they want to play for the regional title.
Top 3 Themes in This Regional:
1. Can State Win Another Regional? – After losing the opener in the Hattiesburg Regional last year, the Bulldogs won four-straight to advance to face LSU in the Supers. State would need an equally improbable run to oust national seed Florida State.
2. Can the Bulldog Offense Get Going Again? State scored 49 runs in their last 4 regular-season SEC games against Kentucky and Florida. Can HailState rev up the run-production in Tally?
3. Perhaps the deepest regional – The four teams in this regional combine for the most top 50 RPI wins in the tournament. Florida State leads with 21 followed by Mississippi State (16), OU (10), and Samford (2) for a total of 49. It is the only regional where three teams have double-digit wins over top 50 teams.
Mississippi State’s Chances To Win It: Not great. Perhaps 25%. The Bulldogs don’t have the starting pitching to compete with FSU. State’s weekend starters combined for an 11-12 record this year – the worst of any team in the tournament. It would take the bats getting super hot – like how they ended the regular season – to win this regional. It’s doable but just not likely.
Why FSU Will Win It: Our writer Brad Towns thinks that FSU is the darkhorse national champion pick. They are deep, they have great starting pitching, they can hit, and they are at home.
What is Success for MSU? Getting to the Finals of the Regional. That would signify a good step in what is likely the end of the road for Gary Henderson at State. After the job he did cleaning up Andy Cannizaro’s mess, I hope Henderson gets another shot as a head coach.
SouthernCFB’s SEC Regional Previews