Kentucky is set to host Oregon State in one of the most highly-anticipated Super Regionals of the weekend.

Both Kentucky and Oregon State cruised to a regional title last week and will now be playing in a best-of-3 series for the right to go to Omaha for the College World Series. UK has never reached Omaha before in program history while Oregon State hasn’t been there since 2018.

Kentucky is the No. 2 overall seed, but the Wildcats are not significant favorites against Oregon State going into this matchup. Here’s a look at the pitching and hitting for each team, as well as a breakdown of what public projection models are saying about this matchup:

Betting lines for the Lexington Super Regional

Kentucky: -136 to win (via FanDuel)

Oregon State: +104 to win (via FanDuel)

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Projected pitching matchups for the Lexington Super Regional

Kentucky’s pitching staff …

  • Trey Pooser: 3.71 ERA in 76.1 innings | 71 strikeouts | 29 walks
  • Dominic Niman: 6.24 ERA in 70.2 innings | 66 strikeouts | 25 walks
  • Mason Moore: 5.02 ERA in 84.1 innings | 76 strikeouts | 45 walks

Trey Pooser has been Kentucky’s best starter all season long, so it would make sense for him to go in Game 1 of the Super Regional. However, it’s worth noting that Kentucky did start Dominic Niman in the first game of the regional round last week before following up with Pooser in Game 2. Moore will likely figure into the rotation at some point as well and is coming off of a great start — 6 shutout innings — in UK’s regional final win over Indiana State. 

For Oregon State, here’s how its projected rotation looks going into this series:

  • Aiden May: 2.88 ERA in 68.2 innings | 79 strikeouts | 22 walks
  • Jacob Kmatz: 3.29 ERA in 82 innings | 88 strikeouts | 20 walks
  • Eric Segura: 4.93 ERA in 69.1 innings | 72 strikeouts | 23 walks

Oregon State also swept through its regional with a rotation of Aiden May, Jacob Kmatz and Eric Segura, in that order. All 3 have proven to be capable starters this season, but May has been especially dominant. Over his last 6 starts, May has given up 6 total runs and struck out 46 batters in 37 innings of work.

How the lineups stack up in the Lexington Super Regional

Kentucky’s offense is led by 5 players who are hitting above .290 so far this season: Ryan Waldschmidt, Nick Lopez, Emilien Pitre, Mitchell Daly and Ryan Nicholson. It’s Nicholson who is the team’s best power hitter as he led the group with 20 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage this year. Waldschmidt isn’t far behind with a .359 average, 14 homers and a .657 slugging percentage.

However, Kentucky’s team-wide numbers do not stack up well against the nation’s top offensive teams. The Wildcats rank 54th nationally in slugging percentage, 92nd in batting average, 44th in on-base percentage and 46th in runs scored. UK has relied on having an elite walk rate (they led the SEC in total walks) this season, but Oregon State’s starting rotation has done a great job of keeping walks in check.

Oregon State’s offense is built around Travis Bazzana, who is widely-expected to be a top-2 pick in this summer’s MLB Draft. Bazzana hit .415 with a 1.512 OPS and 28 home runs this season as he established himself as one of the best hitters in the country. However, Bazzana is far from the only dangerous hitter in this lineup. Gavin Turley, Elijah Hainline, Micah McDowell and Dallas Macia are also big-time threats in the order.

Oregon State did arguably face weaker pitching in the Pac-12 than Kentucky did in the SEC, but the Beavers finished 7th nationally in slugging percentage and 13th in total runs.

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What public models are saying about the Lexington Super Regional

Although Kentucky is a national seed, the Wildcats are a near-coin flip in the betting markets to beat Oregon State in this Super Regional. After taking a look at some of the advanced metrics, it’s easy to see why the market is higher-than-expected on 15th-seeded Oregon State:

Warren Nolan’s ELO ranking has Kentucky ranked 3rd and Oregon State at No. 12 nationally entering this weekend. The Beavers moved up 12 spots after their dominant regional performance last week.

Sonny Moore’s power ratings have Oregon State ranked above Kentucky entering this week. That site lists Oregon State at No. 9 nationally while Kentucky is a couple spots lower at No. 11. However, it’s by a very slim margin — slim enough that Sonny Moore’s ratings would give Kentucky a slight edge in this series after factoring in home field advantage.

Parker Fleming’s projections favor Oregon State outright in this series, even when factoring in home field advantage. His model gives the Beavers a 53.12% chance to win the series in Lexington. No other road team is favored in the Super Regional round, per Fleming’s projections.

Pick for the Lexington Super Regional

I’m concerned about Kentucky’s reliance on walk rate given this matchup against a strong Oregon State rotation that doesn’t often issue free passes. Oregon State has better numbers on both sides of the diamond, but it got there by playing the 65th-best strength of schedule in the country (per RPI). Kentucky played the 7th-toughest in a loaded SEC. I’ll back the more battle-tested home team in this spot.

PICK: Kentucky -136 to win the Lexington Super Regional (via FanDuel)

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