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June 5, 2008

Tempe Super Regional: Who has the edge?

After the many miles traveled by some teams last week, the Road to Omaha either continues or comes to abrupt halt for 16 teams this weekend.

With the Super Regionals around the corner, we take an in-depth look at how each team stacks up against the other.

We bring the Rivals.com Super Regional Edge.

WHO HAS THE EDGE? Athens | Baton Rouge | Cary | Coral Gables | Fullerton | Houston | Tallahassee

Tempe Super Regional: Who has the edge?

When Fresno State lost veteran pitcher Tanner Scheppers to an injury a few weeks ago, it appeared to be down and out. However, the Fresno pitching staff has really risen to the occasion in recent weeks. The Bulldogs are led on the mound by senior right-hander Clayton Allison, who's 3-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 86 2/3 innings. Justin Wilson is 7-4 with a 4.17 ERA in 99 1/3 innings, while Justin Miller is 6-3 with a 4.72 ERA in 74 1/3 innings. Also keep an eye on key contributors Holden Sprague and Brandon Burke. Sprague has appeared in 27 games and has a 3.49 ERA in 77 1/3 innings, while Burke has recorded 11 saves and has a 3.08 ERA in 64 1/3 innings. What the Bulldogs have accomplished without Scheppers is very impressive.

Besides Florida State, there's not a team in America that can score runs like the Sun Devils. Arizona State has been explosive throughout the season, and enters the weekend with a .341 team batting average. Junior third baseman Brett Wallace leads the Devils at the plate. Wallace is hitting .414 with 21 homers and 81 RBIs. He's also slugging .762 and has a .531 on-base percentage. First baseman Ike Davis is hitting .394 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs, while outfielder Jason Kipnis is hitting .363 with 14 homers and 69 RBIs. Also keep an eye on Petey Paramore and Kiel Roling. Paramore is hitting .361 with seven homers and 49 RBIs, while Roling is hitting .344 with eight homers and 50 RBIs.

The Bulldogs and Sun Devils enter the weekend with identical fielding numbers, but we're giving the edge to ASU. Fresno State has a .971 fielding percentage, while Arizona State has a .970 fielding percentage. Arizona State first baseman Ike Davis is fielding .993, second baseman Raoul Torrez is fielding .970, shortstop Greg Bordes is fielding .947, and third baseman Brett Wallace enters the series with a .930 fielding percentages. ASU has the overall advantage in this series, so Fresno State must be flawless in the field.

After a challenging season both on and off the field, the Sun Devils enter another weekend with extra motivation. The Sun Devils have been outstanding at home this season, where they have a record of 38-3. By comparison, Fresno State has a less than stellar away record of 11-15. Experience is also in ASU's favor. The Bulldogs are in unchartered territory, while the Sun Devils are familiar with what it takes to get to the College World Series. Add in the fact that ASU will have the home crowd and you have a recipe for success.

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at rogersk@yahoo-inc.com.