Fullerton hosts Missouri in super regional

Editor's note: No one knows the super regional teams better than their opponents. Will Kimmey talked to college coaches who had faced multiple teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament and offered them anonymity in exchange for their candor.

Fullerton Super Regional
At Goodwin Field (all times Eastern)
Fullerton, Calif.
Friday, June 9
Game 1 -- Cal State Fullerton 7, Missouri 1
Saturday, June 10
Game 2 -- Cal State Fullerton 9, Missouri 1
Cal State Fullerton (48-13) advances to the College World Series.

Cal State Fullerton Titans
Record: 46-13
How They Got Here: Won Fullerton regional in three games
CWS History: 13 trips to Omaha, last in 2004; four championships, last in 2004
Coach: George Horton (10th season)

Scouting the Titans: "Fullerton is really good.

"When it gets down to the nitty-gritty, you're talking about the best college middle infield in the country with Davis and Turner; they're like coaches on the field. The outfield will lead the galaxy in diving catches; they'll make more diving catches than the rest of the teams playing in the CWS.

"Their pitching surprised some people; they pitched beyond expectations. Roemer is real special. He's your typical low three-quarters pitcher. If he gets in a jam and tries to pitch around a guy, he takes the bury-it-in-his-ribs-and-get-the-next-guy approach.

"Roemer uses both sides of the plate. Gagnier has grown by leaps and bounds. He's turned into a real good player. Closer Vinnie Pestano being out can hurt them because the bullpen is very vulnerable; you're not sure if you can depend on Ryan Paul. They will ride their starters. You want to get the starters out and get into the secondary pitching, but the fact is that nobody's done that, and nobody will do that.

"Of all the teams we saw, they are the most advanced at all things. They sacrifice, slash, late-show drag, and if you're not used to that, you're dead. Fullerton makes you make errors. They fake bunt and steal. You play them and they beat you, you think you're the worst coach in America. They make you feel that way.

"It's the typical Fullerton offense. They don't have the power -- not even really doubles power -- most of their doubles come from hustle doubles, not boom into the gap.

"They hit .300 as a team, but if there's a runner on second with less than two outs, they get him over. Good left-handed pitching can give them trouble. You have to get the first guy of each inning out, pitch ahead, get count leverage. If you can beat them 2-1, 4-3, that's what you do. You want them to try to bang. If they have a plan and bunt and get locked in, it's over. It's a well-oiled team. They touch the ball and create offensive opportunities. They're clutch; they cash in and don't get tight with second and third and one out."

Missouri Tigers
Record: 35-26
How They Got Here: Won the Malibu bracket in five games after losing the opener;
First No. 4 seed to win a regional since 64-team field began in 1999
CWS History: Six trips to Omaha, last in 1964, one championship in 1954
Coach: Tim Jamieson (12 seasons)

Scouting the Tigers: "They have two of the better pitchers in the country in Scherzer and Culp.

"Culp obviously is not as electric as Scherzer as far as stuff, but he's got a high pitcher's IQ. He can see things in swings and attack things that some guys can't. He does a great job of executing his pitches, like a poor man's J.P. Howell. If they get good starting pitching in a super regional of just three games, those two arms can carry them. They can match up with anyone's starters.

"With Scherzer, we basically took the fastball away. It's a pro mentality vs. him. You can't cover all his pitches. We got good swings when we went up there looking fastball early in the count; he hasn't used his other pitches as much. Culp uses his fastball on both sides of the plate, with the cutter in on right-handers, and changeups. He just mixed us to death. Rick Zagone threw well against us; he's a low three-quarters lefty who mixes at 85-87 mph. In the bullpen, left-hander Taylor Parker throws fastball-breaking ball, and you're going to see that breaking ball at some point. Travis Wendte has good stuff: 91 with a Frisbee slider.

"Offensively, they don't have that big guy in the middle with power; they just have to execute and work within their offense to win 3-2. They look like a bunch of big strong donkeys, and as a pitcher you feel like you have to be really careful. But they're more battlers than home run guys.

"Priday at times gets pull-conscious; we just stay hard away and slider away with him. He's got bat speed and big power, but he's basically the standout guy.
If it's a situation where you don't have to pitch to him, the hitters in front of him and behind him are not as good. They can make you pay if your pitcher doesn't have great command; they can take advantage of that. Jamieson does a great job of teaching strike-zone discipline. All nine guys do a great job of making pitchers work. It's very similar to the old Oklahoma State teams under Gary Ward; get the pitch count up on starters and jump into the bullpen. They make you throw strikes."

Will Kimmey covers college baseball for Baseball America.