No offense to Wright State and Wayne State, but this is the ultimate battle for the acronym. The team that survives today not only get the opportunity to play tommorrow, they also earn the rights to the greatest and most important three letters that have ever been strung together: WSU. The loser is left with the shame of seeing their beloved school's name shortened to "WashSt" or "WichSt." We don't want that to happen Cougs!
Some may say that today is also important because the loser sees their season end. The pitching matchup pits Chad Arnold for WSU against Jordan Cooper for WichSt. Chad is an above average strikeout guy with below average control. His walk percentage of 12.1% is the highest on the team of anyone who had significant work and it is well above the national average of 9.3%. The good news for Chad is that the Cougs face a team once again that strikes out a lot. Wichita State strikes out 18.7% of the time, nearly 3% higher than the national average. If Chad Arnold is going to be successful today, he needs to trust his stuff and keep it in the zone. The Shockers will help him out by swinging and missing.
When the Cougs are up, don't be surprised to see them getting their fare share of strikeouts. Jordan Cooper has a pretty solid strikeout rate of 22.1% and Washington State is just as prone to missing the ball as Wichita State. Jordan isn't wild, as he has a very low walk rate of 5.2%. This blogger does not really like that combination of high strikeouts and low walks for the Cougs.
You don't have to take these numbers to mean that Jordan Cooper is going to dominate the Cougar lineup and Chad Arnold is going to struggle against the Shockers. Remember that Cooper put up his numbers against the 80th toughest schedule in the country, while Arnold compiled his stats versus the 4th toughest schedule in the country (according to Boyds World). Arnold has faced better batters who are more adept at hitting the ball and are tougher to strike out.
This game today will be by no means be easy. Both teams suffered heartbreaking losses last night and don't want to see their season end. Let's hope the Cougs can stay away from the barbecue for atleast one more day.
Go Cougs! Win the Acronym for Crimson and Gray!