Davidson Baseball Playing With House Money

You know how this story goes.  You’re at the casino with your buddy when he goes off to try and hit on the cocktail waitress.  As you wander around trying to pass the time you sit down at the blackjack table and throw a hundred down on the table.  Before you know it you’re up a hundred!  Every decision is paying off.  Suddenly you’re the hit of the table and can do no wrong.  And that’s when it happens.  Dealer change.  A small Vietnamese lady that has to stand on a stool to reach the table comes to deal.  And she wins every hand.  All the money is gone. 


Lets face it, you probably didn’t have Davidson making it past the regional round.  They were the 4 seed at the Chapel Hill Regional and had to play the #2 National Seed North Carolina Tar Heels in the opening game.  If you honestly thought they would win you either: A. are an alum of the school or B. you have the Grays Sports Almanac from Back to the Future.  Now that the matchup is set, lets take a closer look at those Davidson Wildcats.


The Davidson Baseball program is led by head coach Dick Cooke in his 25th year at the helm.  They play their home games at T. Henry Wilson, Jr. Field with a maximum capacity of 700.  To put that number in perspective, Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park in College Station, Texas holds 6,100.  Davidson will meet Texas A&M on Friday June 9 at Olsen Field for Game 1 of the College Station Super Regional.  Game 1 starts at 3 p.m. eastern while Game 2 starts at 6 p.m. the following day, June 10.  There will be an if necessary Game 3 on June 11 at 6 p.m. eastern. 


So how did these teams get here?  Davidson won the first game of their regional against the host and #2 national seed Tar Heels.  In the winners bracket the next day they met up with Florida Gulf-Coast University.  A win there sent the Davidson Wildcats to the regional championship game Sunday.  They would meet North Carolina again but would have to lose twice to be eliminated.  They took care of business in game 1 and became only the second #4 seed to sweep a regional ever.  Not too shabby for your first appearance in the NCAA tournament.  The Aggies from Texas A&M were sent to the Houston Regional as a 3 seed.  The Aggies defeated 2 seed Baylor in Game 1.  This set The Aggies up with Iowa with a trip to the regional final on the line.  After winning that game, Texas A&M would have to lose twice.  On Monday Texas A&M would go on to defeat Houston and claim their spot in this weekend’s Super Regional Round.  Texas A&M will host the Super Regional as the national seed (North Carolina) was eliminated and The Aggies (3) are a higher seed than Davidson (4).


How does each team match up on the mound?  Davidson has relied the most this season on Durin O’Linger.  So far this year, he has thrown 109 innings (leads the team) and has a very impressive 2.89 ERA with 90 strikeouts.  Westin Whitmire leads the Wildcats with 13 saves.  Through 27.2 innings, Whitmire has a 4.55 ERA with 17 strikeouts.  In the regional round at Chapel Hill, Davidson only used a total of five pitchers.  The ace of The Aggie staff is Brigham Hill.  Hill has 101 strikeouts in 90.1 innings with a 3.29 ERA.  After Hill, Davidson will have to worry about starters Corbin Martin and Stephen Kolek.  Martin has pitched 81.1 innings this year and has a 2.99 ERA with 87 strikeouts.  Kolek is equally impressive with 80 strikeouts in 87.2 innings and a 3.59 ERA.  On top of that trio, The Aggies also have a couple good arms coming out of the bullpen in Kaylor Chafin and Cason Sherrod.  Any team would be lucky to have such a talented group of pitchers.  Advantage: Texas A&M.


How does each team match up at the plate?  Davidson has an impressive four batters in their starting nine that are hitting above .300 on the year.  They are led by Will Robertson who is currently sitting on a .336 average.  Robertson also has 18 home runs, 58 runs scored, and 46 RBI.  The Aggie pitchers will also have to pay special attention to Brian Fortier.  On the season Fortier is hitting .313 with 15 home runs, 41 runs scored, and 53 RBI.  The other two Wildcats hitting over .300 are Eric Jones and Alec Acosta.  Texas A&M have two of the most legitimate best hitters in the country.  Davidson pitchers will have to be extra careful with Braden Shewmake and Nick Choruby.  Shewmake is hitting .333 with 11 home runs, 42 runs scored, and 67 RBI.  Choruby is equally impressive with a .317 average and 53 runs scored. Advantage: I have to say they are equal.


Who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story?  March Madness hogs all the glory when it comes to the underdog story, but baseball can provide just as much drama.  Davidson is appearing in just their first NCAA tournament ever and a trip to Omaha and the College World Series would be quite the reward.  Can it happen? It isn’t out of the question.  I just hope that Texas A&M isn’t that short Vietnamese dealer at the blackjack table that always comes and takes your money away for Davidson.


 If all else fails and these teams are just too even to crown a champion by Sunday, lets just let each team’s most famous alumni play a game of horse to decide who advances.  For Davidson that would be one Steph Curry.  For the purpose of this article I choose Johnny Manziel to represent Texas A&M.   If any Aggie fans are reading this I apologize for choosing him but it’s my hypothetical game of horse.  Advantage: Davidson.

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