The Wake Forest baseball team will begin play in the College Station Regional this Friday at 4 p.m. ET when they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. In a typical weekend series, projecting a starting pitching rotation is fairly straightforward. Each team sends its ace on Friday night, and the rest of the rotation follows. In a double-elimination tournament, however, there is definitely more game theory.
College Station Regional
1. Texas A&M (RPI: 4)
2. Minnesota (RPI: 50)
3. Wake Forest (RPI: 25)
4. Binghamton (RPI: 108)
Wake Forest's Starting Pitchers
|Pitcher||IP||Earned Runs||Strikeouts||Walks||Hits Allowed||WHIP||K/9||BB/9||ERA|
Wake Forest's ace all season has been Parker Dunshee. He has the lowest WHIP, ERA, as well as the most innings pitched and strikeouts per nine innings. Manager's Tom Walter's dilemma, is weighing how probable it is to beat Minnesota without using Dunshee, Is the risk worth the reward?
As a refresher, here is what the regional format looks like.
Games Times (all times Eastern):
Friday, June 3 Minnesota vs. Wake Forest 4 p.m.
Friday, June 3 Texas A&M vs. Binghamton 9 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 losers from Friday 4 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 winners from Friday 9 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 Elimination game 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 Championship game 9 p.m.
Monday, June 6 If necessary TBA
Wake definitely has the best chance of beating Minnesota if the Deacs choose to throw Dunshee in the opener. However, this diminishes the chances that Wake Forest will win its second game, which will likely be against Texas A&M. Friday isn't a true elimination game, but it's mostly a must-win, if Wake is to have any chance of winning the region.
I expect Tom Walter to utilize the same strategy that he did against Duke in the ACC Tournament, which was a true elimination game. It gave Wake a lesser chance of defeating Louisville, but it was a necessary move. Both options have tradeoffs, and I'm curious to see what Walter decides.
My projected lineup:
Game 1: Parker Dunshee
Game 2: Drew Loepprich - Was excellent against Clemson, and deserves to start.
Game 3 (If applicable): John McCarren
Game 4 (If applicable): Connor Johnstone
If Wake finds themselves playing on Monday evening, then I would expect Wake to utilize multiple relief pitchers to patch together and fill 9 innings worth of work.
Which strategy would you all employ?