TALLAHASSEE -- Yes, as with other sports, momentum can play an important role in college baseball. How well a team plays one week can impact how it performs in another. Winning streaks are real; losing streaks even realer.
Losers of their last four games -- two of which were decided by walk-off home runs -- the Seminoles open the Tallahassee Regional and yet another NCAA Tournament looking for three wins that will allow them to return next week. With second-seeded Alabama, third-seeded Troy and No. 4 seed Savannah State coming to Dick Howser Stadium starting Friday afternoon, they have a good chance to make all of that happen.
On paper, the Seminoles should win their bracket in the 64-team tournament. Not only do they hold a higher seed than the others in the field, but they have better overall numbers than the teams they will be facing. This time of year, pitching and timely hitting peppered with some power wins games.
Compared to the others in this four-team field, the Seminoles have the best mix of that. Troy's mix of it isn't so bad, either. If it were wholly up to the statistics, both teams would meet in the Regional final Sunday (and Monday, if necessary) in order to determine who would move on to the Super Regionals to face the winner of a Bloomington, Ind. Regional that features rival Florida.
Games, of course, aren't decided on paper.
Ahead of this weekend's action that begins at noon Friday with an in-state meeting between Alabama and Troy, the Chopping Block is taking this quick look at the numbers and story lines you should pay attention to:
SAVANNAH STATE TIGERS
Record: 33-21 (12-10 away, 4-0 neutral)
Conference Tournament: Champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)
Trips to NCAA Tournament: First of any kind since 1999 when it was still a Division II member.
Current streak: 5-game winning streak
Team batting average: .271
Opponent batting average: .278
Team ERA: 4.85
Opponent ERA: 3.95
Pitchers to watch: RHP Kyle McGowin (12-1, 1.33 ERA, 129 K, 115.1 IP, 5 HBP, 2 HR allowed); RP Eric Franks (3-1, 2.75 ERA, 5 saves, 36.0, 32 K, 27 hits allowed, 8 HBP, .202 opponent's batting avg); SP Jack May(5-3, 4.31 ERA, 2 CG, 71.0 IP, 76 hits allowed, 9 HBP)
Hitters to watch: Todd Hagen (.320, 64 hits, 26 RBI, 39 runs, 13 HBP, 16-18 stolen bases, 19 errors); Mendez Elder (.307, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 23 runs); David Richards (.303, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 5 3B); Joseph McCrary (.296, 61 hits, 32 RBI, 37 runs, 4 3B, 19 errors); Darrien Campbell (.260, 33 hits, 19 BBs, 14 sacrifices, 24-25 stolen bases); Antonio Scott (.250, 7 HBP, 23-26 stolen bases)
Miscellaneous: The Tigers are 13-15 in games decided by five or more runs. ... When the Tigers score no runs, one run or two runs in a game, they are 3-9. ... Opponents have outscored Savannah State 41-37 in the first inning.