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NCAA TOURNAMENT OPEN GAME THREAD: Washington State vs. Arkansas

Today is going to seem very familiar for players on the Washington State and Arkansas baseball teams.  Cougar starter Matt Way and Razorback pitcher Dallas Keuchel faced off to start the season.  Arkansas won that game 4-2 and the next two to complete a three game sweep of the Cougs.

In that first game, Matt Way was his own worst enemy, as his walked four batters in just four innings pitched.  He was able to miss a lot of Hog bats though, as he struck out 7 of the 22 batters he faced.  That should be expected again today.  Matt posts a fantastic 27.2 strikeout% and the Razorbacks as a team strike out 19.8% of the time.  For reference, the NCAA average for the last three seasons was around 16%.  A guy whose great at missing bats meets a team that strikes out more than their fair share.  Sounds like a good combination for the Cougs.

When Washington State is at the plate don't expect there to be a lot of pitches taken.  Dallas Keuchel is well below the national walk% at 6.7 (The national average is 9.3%).  The Cougs also check in with below average "eyes" as they walk only 8.1% of the time.  The good news is that Dallas does not seem to have overpowering stuff, as he only strikes batters out 16.1% of the time.  The Cougs will be swinging and most likely making contact when they do.  Let's hope those baseballs find some holes to drop into (or a fence to fly over).

As Nuss pointed out in this post, this game is more or less a toss up statistically speaking.  Both these teams have been tested as Boyd's World lists WSU as having the fourth toughest schedule in the land and Arkansas the third.

If the Cougs are going to advance, they need to get this one.  Their ace Matt Way is on the mound and this matchup is entirely too good for the Cougs to let slip away.

You may be able to find live video of the game here.  I'm not sure if there is a fee or not for viewing the games.  (Hat tip to GoCougs for the link) If that doesn't work, this is where you can find the gametracker.

Go Cougs!  Beat the Hogs!