The Oxford Regional (hosted by Ole Miss) begins Friday, June 1. The first game is the two/three – Tennessee Tech (2) vs Missouri State (3) at 2:00 p.m. CST. The hosts, Ole Miss (1), will get in action later against Saint Louis (4) at 6:30 p.m. CST.
WarrenNolan ran regional simulations and Ole Miss had the third lowest potential (53.1%) of any top-eight national seed to advance. Only Georgia (45.6%) and Arkansas (48.3%) were lower.
Tennessee Tech has a 29.8% chance to win the regional, while Missouri State sits at 9.1% and Saint Louis is at 8%.
Tennessee Tech’s incredible offense, scoring 10.5 runs per game, leading the nation in OPS and home runs, obviously boded well for them in the simulations.
But high-powered offenses don’t always win in the postseason. Last season’s national champion Florida was 180th in scoring offense, but they were in the top 20 in ERA and top-40 in WHIP.
In the last two seasons, 14 teams have gone on the road to win a regional. Of those 14, only one upset a top-four national seed – Davidson, a four-seed autobid miraculously upset the number two overall seed North Carolina in 2017.
Ten of the fourteen were in the top-50 for team ERA, while Davidson and Mississippi State came in at 111 and 153 in 2017, respectively. UC Santra Barbara stood just outside at 54 in 2016, and Boston College was at 63 when they won the Oxford Regional in 2016.
The only team who won a miraculous pitching mismatch on paper was Davidson. The Wildcats upset North Carolina who had the fourth-best ERA in the nation for 2017. However, Davidson allowed just six runs (all earned) in the Chapel Hill Regional for an ERA of 2.00, which was an improvement on their 4.45 ERA from the regular season.
Ole Miss only has one team in its regional who has an ERA in the top-50 – Saint Louis has the 18th-best ERA in the nation at 3.32. Meanwhile, Missouri State comes in at 92 with an ERA of 4.25, while Tennessee Tech enters with the 175th ERA at 4.98.
The Rebels come in at 43 with an ERA of 3.71, though they’ve taken it to a new level of late. In their last four games (37 innings), the Rebels have allowed just three earned runs, which comes out to an ERA of 0.73 over that stretch.
Furthermore, the Rebels one-two punch in their weekend rotation – Ryan Rolison and Brady Feigl – has been stellar for the last three weeks, compiling an ERA of (approximately) 2.60 (2.5984).
Ole Miss is 11-2 in their last thirteen games with just three being played at home. Ole Miss is 9-2 in their last ten home games with the lone losses coming to LSU and Georgia.
But back to the other teams in the field and, more specifically, their pitching.
The Golden Eagles’ ace Travis Moths has an ERA of 3.74 in 16 starts. Moths has a WHIP of 1.3483, an average of 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
Tennessee Tech has one pitcher with an ERA under three, Ethan Roberts who is their closer. Roberts has an ERA of 2.25 in 24 appearances, racking up 14 saves. He has pitched 60 innings in his 24 appearances, so the Golden Eagles aren’t afraid to extend his outings that average out to about 2-and-a-half innings per outing, though that number itself is technically impossible. The point being: Roberts is probably one of their few reliable arms out of the bullpen. Opponents bat .211 and .209, respectively off of fellow relievers Grant Phillips and Tyler Sylvester. However, Phillips and Sylvester’s outings are significantly shorter on average.
Missouri State has an ace, too, in Dylan Coleman, who has a 3.63 ERA, a WHIP of 1.2578, and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
In Dylan Coleman’s only other start against a national seed, Oregon State chased him from the game after only 3 1/3 innings. The Beavers racked up six earned runs in that time. Coleman struck out five, walked four, hit one batter, and allowed four hits – two of which were home runs.
The Bears’ other starters, Ty Buckner (4.22 ERA) and Logan Wiley (4.40 ERA) combined only have 122 strikeouts on the season. There’s a significant drop-off in terms of swing-and-miss stuff when you get past Dylan Coleman.
Missouri State relies heavily on reliever Connor Sechler. Sechler has a 2.98 ERA in 51.1 innings over 30 appearances. He has a WHIP of 1.1546 and strikes out approximately 10 batters per nine innings (10.039).
The Saint Louis pitching staff, the 18th best on paper, is led by ace Miller Hogan, who has an ERA of 2.19 in 102.2 innings. Hogan’s WHIP is 0.8317, his strikeout-to-walk ratio 10.75 to 1, and he strikes out 11.36 batters per nine innings.
Hogan’s 129 strikeouts are more than the Billikens other two common starters, Drew Reveno (47) and Jackson Wark (78) who combine for 125 strikeouts.
Reveno has an ERA of 1.84 and a a WHIP of 1.1392 in 16 appearances (11 starts) with a record of 10-2, and he strikes out 6.7 per nine innins.
Wark strikes out 8.6 batters per nine innings. He has an ERA of 3.40 and a WHIP of 1.4878. Jackson is 9-2 in 15 starts.
Strikeout-to-walk ratios also take a sizable dip when the Billikens aren’t starting Hogan. Hogan’s ratio is 10.75 strikeouts to one walk, but Reveno is 1.47 strikeouts to one walk, while Wark is 2.17 strikeouts to one walk.
Ryan Lefner, who leads Saint Louis in saves at 7, has the best swing-and-miss stuff out of the bullpen, or at least most consistent. Lefner has 42 strikeouts in 33.1 innings pitched; he averages 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. No other Billiken reliever with at least 20 innings has more strikeouts than innings pitched, or is even equal to innings pitched.