No. 1 Arizona State (50-8) faces No. 15 Arkansas (43-19) in the Tempe Super Regional, 6:00 p.m. Saturday. The Sun Devils are rolling off the regional sweep, defeating University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and The University of Hawaii to advance. ASU looks to advance to the College World Series with a series win. From AZCentral.com:
"We talked all year about having Omaha go through Packard (Stadium)," ASU co-captain Kole Calhoun said of the path to the College World Series, where ASU and Arkansas finished third last year in opposite brackets. "Our home crowd is electric, and we really thrive off their energy. When we're playing here, we feel like we have a fantastic chance to win."
The series sets up as a contrast of styles, like bacon and chorizo -- both delicious but quite different, from Arkansas Sports 360:
The two teams are a contrast in how to win baseball games, much like PAC 10 baseball versus SEC baseball in terms of style. Arizona State is very, very aggressive offensively with lots of bunting, stealing, hitting and running. Coach Esmay's style puts relentless pressure on opposing pitchers and defenses for a full nine innings. The one thing Arizona State lacks is power as they have only hit 63 home runs as a team while playing home games in a hitter friendly ballpark. The Sun Devils offense works off momentum. One guy lays down a bunt single, then a hit and run, then a double in the gap and all the sudden you look up and they have a big inning. Will be crucial for the Hogs to handle the "small ball" and keep those extra runners off the bases with solid defense and throwing strikes.
The Razorbacks offensive style is skews more to the typical SEC type of ball club, using extra base hits and home runs to have the big inning. By comparison, the Hogs have hit 90 home runs this year as a team. The Hogs' philosophy can be a dangerous style to live and die by against good pitching but the intimidation of that type of lineup can also have its effect on the opposing pitcher. With so many guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark, pitchers tend to be too fine and nibble, which can put base runners all over the place awaiting the big hit. Odds are, the Razorbacks will have to execute some sacrifice bunts, hit and runs and swipe some bases to scratch out some runs against ASU's elite level pitching staff.
But don't start that potentially career-ending-injury-dog-pile just yet; those Hogs are used to playing in big games and in front of big crowds. Since it won't be 110 degrees of misery on Saturday night, it's a great time to head on out to Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark (catchy) to enjoy the lovely sound of pinging of aluminum bats and (fingers crossed) lots of long balls.