Entering this week’s College World Series, the Tennessee Volunteers were thought to have the best offense on the Virginia Cavaliers’ side of the bracket. UVA dispatched with the Volunteers and shut out that offense, 6-0 on Sunday.
The Volunteers might be considered the best offense, but the Mississippi State Bulldogs’ offense is not far behind.
On the season they have a .280 team average and have averaged over 7 runs per game. Over the course of the NCAA tournament, they have averaged over 7.5 runs per game and they’ve only had 2 games during this run in which they did not score at least six runs. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, one of those two times was on Sunday when they only mustered two runs, but held the Texas Longhorns’ lineup to just one run.
Like Dallas Baptist, the Bulldogs’ lineup is lead by leadoff man Rowdey Jordan and two hole hitter, Tanner Allen.
Jordan, a 2nd Team All-SEC outfielder, was 2 for 4 on Sunday against Texas, but batted .329 on the season with a .571 slugging percentage. He lead the team with 70 runs scored and 20 doubles while adding 10 home runs and 43 RBI of his own.
Tanner Allen was the SEC Player of the Year and for good reason. The Junior outfielder has batted .386 on the season and slugged a gaudy .623. He lead the Bulldogs with that batting average and slugging percentage, but also has the most hits (91) and RBI (62). He struggled against Texas on Sunday going 0-4 and being quite aggressive early in the count seeing more than 2 pitches only once. But as bad of a day he had on Sunday, he had the opposite type of night in their clinching game against Notre Dame in the Super Regionals going 2 for 4 with a double, home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.
Unfortunately for Bulldog opponents, Allen and Jordan are not the only ones in their lineup to have double digit home runs. Though none hit for quite the averages of Allen and Jordan, Logan Tanner (14), Kamren James (11), and Luke Hancock (10) all have double digit home runs of their own. James and Hancock are the biggest reasons why the Bulldogs were able to put up two runs on Sunday as they scored the only two runs for Mississippi State.
If there is one aspect where it appears the Bulldogs are susceptible it is to the strikeout. Though they have only struck out 398 times on the season (UVA has 428), which averages out to just under 6.5 per game, over their last four games in the NCAA Tournament those strikeouts have increased to 8.25 per game, including 12 on Sunday against Texas pitchers Ty Madden and Pete Hansen. UVA has seen Griff McGarry dominate lineups with strikeouts over the last two weeks with 10 strikeouts against Dallas Baptist in just 7 innings and 8 strikeouts in just 3.1 innings against Old Dominion the week before.
Virginia has faced four elite level offenses the last two weeks in South Carolina, Old Dominion, Dallas Baptist, and Tennessee. If they want to keep the good vibes in Omaha, dispatching with another high powered offense on Tuesday is just what they’ll have to do.