Here is your preview of Bracket 1 for the College World Series. The bracket features Cal-State Fullerton, Arkansas, LSU, and Virginia. Cal-State Fullerton and Arkansas open up the tournament on June 13th at 2pm eastern time while LSU and Virginia face off in the nightcap at 7pm eastern time.
Cal-State Fullerton (47-14, 17-7 Big West)
The Cal-State Fullerton Titans enter the College World Series with a 47-14 record while going 17-7 in the Big West Conference. They have been perfect in the NCAA Tourney as they won the Fullerton Regional by beating Utah twice, and Gonzaga. They swept Louisville in the Super Regional by scores of 12-0 and 11-2.
Why Cal-State Fullerton will win the CWS: They have the best pitching staff in the tournament with an offense predicated on lots of bunting and stealing bases. Teams in the Bracket are not used to playing this style which gives the Titans the edge.
Why Cal-State Fullerton will not win the CWS: They have two starting pitchers in Tyler Pill and Noe Ramirez who are freshmen and are not used to the big stage in Omaha.
Arkansas (39-22 overall, 14-15 SEC)
Arkansas enters the College World Series with a 39-22 overall record after going 14-15 in the SEC. Arkansas has rolled through the Regionals and Super Regionals without losing a game. In the Regional round, they picked up a victory over Washington State before taking two games against Oklahoma in Norman. Arkansas was sent on the road to Tallahassee Florida where they defeated FSU in two straight games by scores of 7-2 and 9-8.
Why Arkansas will win the CWS: The Razorbacks have gone back to the way they played at the beginning of the year when they started the season 21-5. If they continue to hit and pitch the way they have in the Regionals then they will win the title this season.
Why Arkansas will not win the CWS: The Razorbacks pitching staff has a staff ERA of 4.56 while only hitting .273 which is substantially low for a team in the College World Series.
LSU (51-16 overall, 20-10 SEC)
The LSU Tigers enter the College World Series with a 51-16 overall record after going 20-10 in SEC play. They have not lost a game in the NCAA Tourney as they won the Baton Rouge Regional by beating Southern, Baylor, and Minnesota. The next weekend they hosted a Super Regional against Rice where they won by scores of 12-9 and 5-3.
Why LSU will win the CWS: The LSU Tigers are the most balanced team left in the NCAA Tourney as they have two quality starters in the rotation with Anthony Ranaudo (10-3, 2.95 ERA and Louis Coleman (13-2, 2.72 ERA). The Tigers also have a solid closer in Matty Olt who is 3-2 with a 2.17 ERA while picking up 16 saves. LSU also has a team batting average of .315 with 94 homers. They have five batters with batting averages of over .325.
Why LSU will not win the CWS: The biggest question mark with LSU is Austin Ross who is the number three starter. He is only 5-7 with a 4.94 ERA in 16 starts. If he can give the Tigers two good starts in Omaha, then the Tigers will win the CWS.
Virginia (48-13-1 overall, 16-11-1 ACC)
The Virginia Cavaliers enter the College World Series for the first time in school history after going 48-13-1 overall and 16-11-1 in the ACC. The Cavaliers opened the NCAA Regional round by getting sent to the UC-Irvine where they swept through with victories over San Diego State in a Stephen Strasburg start and over UC-Irvine twice. In the Super Regionals, Virginia was sent to Ole Miss where they lost the opening game in 12 innings 4-3 but came back to win the final two games by scores of 4-3 and 5-1.
Why Virginia will win the CWS: The UVA pitching staff has been outstanding all year with a staff ERA of 3.15 and have been even better in the NCAA Tourney.
Why Virginia will not win the CWS: The Virginia Cavaliers have never been to the CWS before and have a team loaded with Sophomores and Freshmen.
2. Cal-State Fullerton
This bracket is really wide open and any team could easily win it. I have been saying throughout the year that LSU would be in the CWS Championship Series and I will not change my opinion until they are eliminated.