To start with, we have complete statistics from both the College World Series as well as the NCAA Tournament. Kudos to our resident stat guru, Pete LaFleur, who compiled this information since the start of the conference tournaments. This is data that can only be found at collegebaseball360.com...seriously.
Even the NCAA did not distribute an all-encompassing statistical data base for every NCAA Tournament game. They did update the national stat leaders, but those statistics cover the entire season, our stats tell you what teams did during the tournament itself, including the CWS.
We also have an exclusive podcast interview with LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. The Word Association segment alone is worth listening to. You don't have to be an LSU fan to appreciate the things he talked about.
Alright, enough plugging ourselves. On to some thoughts on what we saw from teams and players before and during their time in Omaha.
- Fullerton Flop...What happened to Cal State Fullerton? The Titans hit .447 (to lead all NCAA teams) and averaged nearly 13 runs a game in their five Regional and Super Regional games (all wins) prior to the CWS. Their pitching staff also turned-in a stellar 1.80 ERA in those games (9 earned runs allowed). The wheels came off in Omaha though, where Fullerton was two and out. The staff ERA was 9.00 (17 ER allowed), while the offense scored a total of 11 runs in losses to Arkansas and Virginia.
- Wither Wood...Texas closer Austin Wood received a lot of well deserved national attention for his 13 inning effort in the Longhorn's 25-inning win over Boston College in the Austin Regional. However, Wood was not the same after that outing that saw him throw nearly 140 pitches. In his two combined Regional outings Wood totaled 15.0 IP with 2 hits, 4 BB, 17 strikeouts and no runs allowed. However, in his six appearances after the famed 13-inning outing here are the lefty's numbers: 11 IP, 16 hits, 10 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, with a 6.54 ERA. Wood made his nation-leading 41st appearance of the season when he toed the rubber for the last time in the final game of the CWS vs. LSU.
- Slightly Saved... Wood had 15 saves during the season, and CWS teams combined for 131 saves going into Omaha. However, Arkansas' Mike Bolsinger had the only save at the College World Series. It's the lowest save total at the CWS since 1993 when no saves were recorded. Part of the lack of saves is partially due to the fact that just six of the 15 games at the CWS were decided by three or fewer runs. Because of the best of three championship format games are also now more spaced out so that teams play only every other day, which gives coaches the chance to use starting pitchers out of the bullpen more often. Speaking of which...
- Nice Arm Young Mann...Texas freshman Taylor Jungmann was 3-0 on the mound in Omaha, with three relief appearances and one start to his credit. Jungmann made 12 relief appearances during the season, but the right hander had also made six straight starts going into the CWS. Jungmann totaled 15.1 IP with a 0.59 ERA, allowing just two runs on 8 hits with 15 Ks and 5 BB in Omaha. After making three relief appearances (including his third in game one of the championship series), Jungmann tossed the only complete game of the CWS in the Longhorn's 5-1 win over LSU in game two of the championship series. It was also his only CG in 2009. (North Carolina's Alex White did pitch 9 innings in the Tar Heel's 10-inning loss to Arizona State in game 3.)
- Molden-Power...How about another Longhorn who waited for the right time to get hot: Russell Moldenhauer. The Longhorn DH was batting just .250 with 4 doubles as the only extra base hits to his credit in 2009 entering the CWS. However, in six games in Omaha Moldenhauer hit .350 with four solo home runs and a double for a slugging percentage of 1.000. Moldenhauer's injury-riddled junior season saw him total just 15 hits prior to the CWS, but he had seven knocks in Omaha, and tied Arizona State's Kole Calhoun for the CWS lead with 20 total bases.
- Longhorn Longball...Texas hit 14 home runs (12 solo) in six games at the CWS for an average of 2.3 per game. That after hitting just 39 in 61 games prior to Omaha for a .63 a game average. All told, Texas scored 17 of its 36 runs at the CWS courtesy of home runs. The Longhorns had just a .413 slg% going into Omaha, but slugged at a .537 clip during the CWS.
- No Small Ball...Texas averaged 1.5 sac bunts a game (96 in 61 games) prior to the College World Series, but ended-up with just 8 in their six CWS contests. The Longhorns had just a .373 success rate advancing runners (8th of the 8 teams in Omaha), while flying-out a series high 57 times.
- Clutch When It Counts...LSU collected 23 2-out RBIs en-route to winning its championship. The Tigers plated 26 of their 51 CWS runs in 2-out situations. While LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook struggled at times (8 strikeouts in 6 games) the freshman also had four 2-out RBIs in Omaha, including the game-winner in the 11th inning in game one of the Championship Series.
- Theft Control...LSU stole 111 bases (on 151 attempts) in 67 games prior to the CWS, but the Tigers stole just two bags on four tries in six games in Omaha. D.J. LeMahieu had both of the thefts (he was also caught once).