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CBD Column: CWS Update (June 19th)

CWS Update

In the Driver’s Seat

Arizona
Went 2-0 in first two games defeating Florida State & UCLA

Game Two vs. Florida State:
-Arizona started the CWS off on the right foot with a 4-3 win over Florida State
-After this game, the Wildcats generated a lot of buzz from CWS fans, becoming the favorite of many to take it all

Game Six vs. UCLA:
-The Wildcats took their second game of the CWS with a 4-0 win over Pac-12 co-champ UCLA
-Through the first two games, Arizona has proven to have not only strong pitching, but also a batting order that doesn’t seem to have any holes

Looking ahead:
-The Wildcats play the winner of the UCLA/Florida State game Thursday 6/21 at 5pm ET

Impression so far:
-Arizona has been buzzed about since before the season even began, but after starting the CWS out strong, the Wildcats are more buzzed about than ever, and deservingly so. Arizona continues to show just how complete of a baseball team they are with their ability to continuously get on base and get runnersacross the plate. A roster that has seven guys batting above .320, it’s clear to see how the Wildcats are so successful at the plate. On the other side of the Wildcats success so far is an excellent pitching staff. Both starters so far have been excellent and Arizona has excellent relief options and a strong closer as well. The Wildcats have the makings of a team that can definitely continue the success that they have had so far in Omaha if they continue to play as they have all year.

Arkansas
Went 2-0 in first two games defeating Kent State & South Carolina

Game Three vs. Kent State
-Arkansas began the CWS on a positive note after an 8-1 win over Kent State
-Baxendale was phenomenal on the mound, making perhaps his best start of the year, which was nicely complimented by a strong offensive night by the Razorbacks

Game Eight vs. South Carolina
-The Razorbacks continued to be successful as they ended South Carolina’s 22-game NCAA tournament winning streak with a 2-1 win over the Gamecocks
-Pitching was a large part of the Razorbacks’ success yet again, as both Ryne Stanek and Barrett Astin combined to defeat the Gamecocks

Looking ahead:
-The Razorbacks play the winner of the South Carolina/Kent State game Thursday 6/21 at 9pm ET

Impression so far:
-The Razorbacks are now playing the kind of baseball that shows why they were ranked #3 in the country earlier this season. The Arkansas pitching staff has been lights out and the batting order has been productive. No question about it, Arkansas is now playing the best baseball that they have played all year. If the Razorbacks continue to be productive at the plate and the pitching staff continues to be dominant, the Razorbacks will be a hard team to beat…and especially to beat twice in a row.

Middle of the Pack

South Carolina
Went 1-1 in first two games, defeating Florida & falling to Arkansas

Game Four vs. Florida
-The Gamecocks were victorious in their first game of the 2012 CWS with a 7-3 win over #1 ranked Florida
-South Carolina showed why they have been so successful in the NCAA Tournament as they were able to pick apart mistakes made by Florida and capitalize on the opportunities that came their way

Game Eight vs. Arkansas:
-Arkansas snapped the Gamecocks’ 22-game NCAA Tournament winning streak with a 2-1 loss to the Razorbacks in their second game of the CWS
-South Carolina didn’t play terrible against the Razorbacks at all, however the Gamecocks had difficulty being productive, stranding many runners on base, several in scoring position.

Looking ahead:
-The Gamecocks battle Kent State Wednesday 6/20 at 8pm ET

Impression so far:
-South Carolina has obviously had success in the NCAA Tournament in the past, and it’s easy to see why when watching this team play. The team will need to find ways to be productive at the plate like they did in their win over Florida if they would like to be competitive. The Gamecocks pitching is strong enough that if South Carolina can be more productive with the runners that they get on base, that they will be successful. South Carolina is definitely a strong team that knows how to win when under pressure, so despite the possibility of ending their Omaha trip early if they lose, expect the Gamecocks to be strong in every game that they play.

UCLA
Went 1-1 in first two games, defeating Stony Brook & falling to Arizona

Game One vs. Stony Brook:
-UCLA started out hit with a 9-1 win over Stony Brook
-The Bruins showed extreme patience & composure when batting—proving that they may be the most composed team in the country at the plate

Game Six vs. Arizona:
-The Bruins fell to Pac-12 co-champs, Arizona with a 4-0 loss in their second game of the CWS
-UCLA struggled to be productive, In a game where Arizona’s Wade was pitching phenomenally.

Looking ahead:
-UCLA will play Florida State Tuesday 6/19 at 8pm ET

Impression so far:
-Similar to some of the other teams in the CWS sitting at 1-1, UCLA needs to capitalize on the runners that they get on base. Since they are so composed, they’re able to get runners on pretty regularly, however if they don’t find a way to get them across the plate it will be hard for them to come out on top of teams that have strong pitching from top to bottom. However, if UCLA has proven anything this year, it’s that they can compete with anyone and that they ARE capable of putting runs up against strong pitchers. The path that the Bruins need to take to advance in the CWS will test that ability and their own pitching staff who has been great this season.

Kent State
Went 1-1 in first two games, defeating Florida & falling to Arkansas

Game Three vs. Arkansas:
-The Golden Flashes fell to Arkansas 8-1 in their CWS debut
-Kent State played in front of the largest crowd that they’d seen by far and struggled a bit in their battle against the Razorbacks’ Baxendale who pitched a game that would be hard for any team in the country to beat.

Game Seven vs. Florida:
-Kent State stunned the college baseball world with a 5-4 win over Florida, eliminating the #1 ranked Gators
-The Golden Flashes showed CWS fans just why they deserved to be in Omaha as they fought to eliminate #1 ranked Florida in their second game, for the program’s first-ever CWS win.

Looking ahead:
-Kent State will play South Carolina Wednesday 6/20 at 8pm ET

Impression so far:
-The Golden Flashes are a team that has truly had to battle to prove that they deserve to be at the CWS. In Game Seven vs. Florida their point was proven. Kent State is definitely capable of competing with any team in the country when they’re in their groove, and beating Florida seems to have eliminated any nerves that they may have had. With Stony Brook eliminated, Kent State sees to be the team that Omaha has adopted and is pulling for. Kent State has excellent starting pitching options and if Kent State plays like they did against Florida and continues to produce run, they could go far in this tournament.

Florida State
Went 1-1 in first two games, defeating Stony Brook & falling to Arizona

Game Two vs. Arizona:
-Florida State fell to Arizona 4-3 in their 2012 CWS opener
-The Seminoles battled against the Wildcats, but came up just short in their first game of the CWS.

Game Five vs. Stony Brook:
-The Seminoles defeated Stony Brook 12-2 to stay alive
-In the Seminoles’ second game of the CWS, they showed the Florida State team that has been golden all season.

Looking ahead:
-Florida State will play UCLA Tuesday 6/19 at 8pm ET

Impression so far:
Although the Seminoles dropped game one to Arizona, Florida State is playing some excellent baseball right now. Coming off of an excellent win over Stony Brook, the Seminoles have all the momentum that they need to continue playing solid baseball. The team has the talent and intangibles to go the distance if they play their best baseball.

It was a Nice Run…

Stony Brook
Went 0-2 in first two games, eliminated by Florida State

Game One vs. UCLA:
-The Seawolves fell to UCLA in a 9-1 loss
-Stony Brook battled a UCLA team that is arguably the most composed team that they’ve seen at the plate all year.

Game Five vs. Florida State:
-Stony Brook fell to Florida State in a 12-2 loss

Final Impression:
Stony Brook set out on a mission to “Shock the World” in the post season and the Seawolves did exactly that. Despite going 0-2 in the CWS, the Seawolves did so much for college baseball by just reaching the College World Series. Stony Brook captivated college baseball fans all across the country and also earned a lot more fans for college baseball. The approach that Stony Brook took into every game is one that even the most storied programs in the country can learn from. The standard that this team set for their program is one that will last long after this season and will be adapted by schools in the Northeast and smaller programs across the country. Thanks to Stony Brook for a great season and for the advancements that they’re helping college baseball make by simply shocking the world.

Florida
Went 0-2 in first two games, eliminated by Kent State

Game Four vs. South Carolina:
-The Gators fell to South Carolina 7-3 in their first game of the tournament

Game Seven vs. Kent State:
-The Gators were eliminated in their second game after a 5-4 loss to Kent State
-The loss was a heartbreaker for Florida that came down to the final pitch.

Final Impression:
The Gators entered the College World Series as the #1 seed, with high expectations and a roster full of talented players that had the ability to help them get there. Although many are pinning the Gators as severe underachievers this season after going 0-2 at the CWS, it’s necessary to note that this Florida team embodied all of the things that make up a great college baseball team. The Gators had excellent starting pitching, a strong and deep bullpen, power hitters throughout the order and the drive to stay competitive even when things didn’t go the way that they wanted them to. Props to Florida on an excellent season. They may not have won it all, but they definitely provided a lot of excellent college baseball for fans across the country from the first pitch of the season to the last.

  • Scott

    nice synopsis