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NC State vs. Oregon: Super Regional Preview

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Apparently Oregon is not just for ugly football uniforms and hot cheerleaders anymore. These ladies can swing it.

Go West, young ladies.
Go West, young ladies.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Super regional host Oregon boasts 11 players with 75 or more at-bats with a .328 average or higher. Conversely, NC State has one. The pitching matchups in the best-of-three series are far more even—the teams' ERAs are just four spots apart in the NCAA's rankings—but the Wolfpack will be hard-pressed to keep up with a Ducks' lineup that hits relentlessly from one through nine in the order. It probably doesn't help that Oregon will be looking for its third trip to the College World Series in four years while State is participating in a super regional for the first time in program history. This territory ain't on the Pack's charts. This is basically a Miracle on Ice level upset if the Pack pulls it off.

Behold the tale of the tape below and shudder:

Category

NC State

Oregon

Coaches' Poll Rank

NR

#1

RPI

#32

#4

Team Batting Average

.271 (191st)

.366 (3rd)

On Base Average

.372*

.467 (3rd)

Slugging Percentage

.462 (78th)

.614 (6th)

Earned Run Average

2.48 (26th)

2.37 (22nd)

CWS Appearances

0

3

*Rankings only go through top 30 for this statistic at ncca.org

At least the offense is all we have to worry ab...oh what's that? Their ace is an all-American? Well that is not comforting in the least. Lefty Cheridan Hawkins sports a tidy 1.40 ERA, good for 11th in the country, and she is awfully stingy too, allowing a miserly 3.27 hits per seven innings (seventh nationally). Hawkins nudges 9.7 batters back to the dugout via strikeout per seven innings (12th), and she is eighth in the nation with six saves.

If there is a glimmer of hope, it comes from Oregon not adopting the ride your ace every inning of every game ever approach favored by Shawn Rychcik. Number two starter Karissa Hovinga (11-1, 2.79 ERA) is good but not nearly as overpowering as Hawkins. In fact, Hovinga's batting average against (.275) is more than double Hawkins' miniscule mark of .132. There's a good chance Hovinga or Geri Ann Glasco (7-2, 4.12 ERA) will get the nod in game two with Hawkins waiting to close it out. If the Pack can jump on any less than starter Oregon runs out, it has a chance to pick up a win. Ultimately, they will have to find a way to beat Hawkins at least once to win the series.

Of course the Pack have their own ace in senior Emily Weiman, who is fourth in the nation in shutouts (11) and sixth in wins (31). Weiman has pitched three shutouts in regional play during her career and carried a shutout into the 11th inning of a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Tennessee two years ago. Last year she beat Georgia in the regional. Her and fellow senior Renada Davis, who boasts an Oregon-like triple slash line of .387/.496/.685, will fight with all they have to keep State in it.

NC State and Oregon had four common opponents this year: Florida, Iowa, Louisiana (the artist formerly known as Louisiana-Lafayette), and Cheater U. State went just 2-6 against that group while Oregon went 5-2. Neither team beat Florida and both beat Iowa by just a run, so, see there, we're really exactly the same!

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