Here is your CWS Preview for Bracket 2. The second bracket of the College World Series features Arizona State, North Carolina, Texas, and Southern Miss. They will open up play on Sunday at 2pm eastern time when Arizona State and North Carolina square off while Texas and Southern Miss face off at 7pm eastern time in the final game of the opening round.
Arizona State (49-12 overall, 21-6 Pac-10)
The Arizona State Sun Devils enter the 2009 College World Series with a 49-12 overall record after going 21-6 in the Pac-10 conference. They swept through the Tempe Regional by defeating Kent State and Oral Roberts (twice) to head to the Super Regional round. In the Super Regionals, they squared off against Clemson where they picked up two wins by scores of 7-4 and 8-2.
Why Arizona State will win the CWS: The Sun Devils have two solid starting pitchers with Mike Leake and Josh Spence. Leake currently has a 16-1 record with an ERA of 1.36 in 17 appearances (16 starts). Josh Spence is 9-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts). Arizona State also has four players in their lineup with batting averages above .345 which is led by Jason Kipnis who is hitting .385 with 16 homers and 71 RBI.
Why Arizona State will not win the CWS: ASU doesn’t have a shutdown closer which could cause them trouble if they get put into a tight spot late in a game.
North Carolina (47-16 overall record, 19-10 ACC)
The North Carolina Tar Heels make their fourth straight appearance in the College World Series. They sport an overall record of 47-16 while going 19-10 in the highly competitive ACC. North Carolina has not lost a game in the NCAA Tourney yet as they defeated Dartmouth, Coastal Carolina, and Kansas. They took on in-state rival East Carolina where the Tar Heels picked up two wins by scores of 10-1 and 9-3.
Why UNC will win the CWS: The Tar Heels have three solid starting pitchers led by junior RHP Alex White (8-4, 4.13 ERA) who was selected 15th overall in the 2009 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians. Sophomore RHP Matt Harvey (7-2, 5.35 ERA) who was not eligible for the 2009 MLB Draft is expected to be one of the top picks in the 2010 Draft. Adam Warren rounds out the starting pitching with a 9-2 record with a 3.23 ERA. Dustin Ackley leads the hitters with his .412 average and 22 homers with 70 RBI. Ackley was selected by the Seattle Mariners with the second pick in the 2009 MLB Draft.
Why UNC will not win the CWS: The Tar Heels have not been able to bring home the title in the last three seasons due to the fact that they had some unfortunate errors that cost them games. This UNC squad is slightly weaker then they have been in the past and they have some difficult teams in their bracket this year.
Texas (46-14-1 overall record, 17-10-1 Big 12)
The Texas Longhorns head to the College World Series with an overall record of 46-14-1 while going 17-10-1 in the Big 12 conference. They swept through the Austin TX regional by defeating Army 3-1, Boston College 4-3 in 25 innings, and Army again by a score of 14-10. They then moved on to the Super Regional round where they took on TCU. The Longhorns won Game 1 by a score of 10-4 before losing Game 2 by a score of 3-2, and then won the deciding game by a score of 5-2.
Why Texas will win the CWS: The Longhorns have been playing with fire throughout the NCAA Tourney but have always come through in the clutch with their solid pitching staff holding down the opponents. They have a staff ERA of 2.84 which is far and away the best of the team’s left in the College World Series.
Why Texas will not win the CWS: The Texas offense only has a team batting average of .287 for the entire year and the Longhorns will be seeing higher caliber pitching over the next couple of weeks.
Southern Miss (40-24 overall record, 12-12 C-USA)
Southern Miss enters the College World Series for the first time in school history with a 40-24 overall record while going .500 in Conference USA with a 12-12 record. Southern Miss picked up wins in the Atlanta GA regional by beating Elon and then beating Georgia Tech before splitting the Championship games of the Regional to qualify for the Super Regionals. They went on the road again for the Super Regionals as they matched up against the Florida Gators. Southern Miss won the first two games of the three game series by scores of 9-7 and 7-6.
Why Southern Miss will win the CWS: DESTINY! Southern Miss is led by Corky Palmer who is currently in his 12th and final year in charge of the Golden Eagles program. They have a stud pitcher in Todd McInnis who won Conference USA pitcher of the year. He currently has a 9-4 record with a 3.61 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts). Southern Miss will be getting back offensive leader Brian Dozier who has been out with a dislocated shoulder this weekend as he is hitting .394.
Why Southern Miss will not win the CWS: The Golden Eagles do not have the depth of the other teams in their bracket and in the College World Series. A single victory for Southern Miss would be a great accomplishment.
1. North Carolina
2. Arizona State
3. Southern Miss
I have predicted for months that UNC and LSU would meet in the CWS Championship series and I will not change that until one of them gets eliminated. I think Southern Miss upsets Texas in the first game with the loser of the UNC-ASU game knocking out the Longhorns in the loser’s bracket matchup.