In some ways, today's NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional contest between College of Charleston and North Carolina State at BB&T Coastal Field sounds likes an intrasquad game, only with a lot more at stake.
Both Charleston and N.C. State are known for their power. The Wolfpack (38-22) has hit 97 home runs, with six players in double figures; the Cougars (42-17) have 96 homers, with four players in double figures. The Wolfpack is batting .329 as a team; Charleston is hitting .315.
"The big thing for us is to keep the ball in the ballpark," said Cougars coach Monte Lee, whose pitching staff gave up only 48 home runs this season. "We've got to make the pitches. Hopefully (Kevin) Decker is going to be on his game. He has to keep the ball down and not allow extra base hits. If he can do that, we should be in good shape."
Decker, a senior right-hander, has a 7-0 record and a 3.79 ERA this year. He has only given up four homers and a total of 14 extra base hits this year.
Lee said he's also aware of N.C. State's pitching staff, especially junior right-hander Jake Buchanan, who will get the start for the Wolfpack. Buchanan is 8-5 this year with a 3.65 ERA.
"I've seen Buchanan pitch. He is your quintessential strike thrower," Lee said. "He throws a lot of strikes, so he does give up some hits (100, 29 for extra bases). He's in the strike zone, so you're going to get some pitches to hit. But he has a good breaking ball.
"He throws everything for strikes. He doesn't walk many guys (27). You're going to have to swing the bat to beat him. He's not afraid to throw any pitch at any time in any situation. He's really, really good."
Charleston is seeded second while the Wolfpack is No. 3 in the regional, with first pitch today at 7 p.m. The winner meets the winner of the 1 p.m. contest between Coastal Carolina (51-7) and Stony Brook (29-25) at 7 p.m. Saturday; the losers meet at 1 p.m. Saturday.