The College Baseball Blog breaks down the top players in the College World Series who need to be watched on each squad. If these players have a big week, then their respective teams will be in excellent shape to walk away with a National Championship. Continue reading CWS Players to Watch (Bracket 1)
I asked all our writers for their thoughts on what teams would make the College World Series in Omaha. Our writers have some interesting views of the Tournament with some people picking Dallas Baptist to make it to Omaha which would be a huge shocker for me. Continue reading CBB Predictions for the CWS
Cal State Fullerton ended the regular season with a record of 33-23 and in the Big West Conference; they finished fifth with a record of 10-11. Now, normally that kind of resume gets you a note saying that y’all will be spending the summer at home. However, Cal-Sate Fullerton has history on it side, they will be making their 15 appearances at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Cal-State Fullerton and Omaha have become synonymous when talking about the College World Series.
Cal-State Fullerton entered the San Diego Regional as the two seed and had to travel to San Diego to play Fresno State the fourth seed, Minnesota, out of the Big 10 Conference, was the three seed and the Host San Diego, which had the number one seed. Cal State Fullerton won all three of its game to win the San Diego Regional. Cal-State Fullerton would get to host the Super Regional against the UCLA Bruins, which won the Long Beach State Regional. Cal-State Fullerton won the first game in convincing fashion 12-2 and then on Sunday night, it was a pitcher duel where the Titans prevail 2-1 to advance to the CWS for the 15th time in school history.
Leading the way for the Titans is the head Coach George Horton. Coach Horton has always been known for putting together a team that is known for its defense and pitching. Well this year is no difference than in years past. Leading the pitching staff are two very talented pitchers in Wes Roemer and Jeff Kaplan. Wes and Jeff is a combine 22-9 with an era of 3.2. The offense has struggle all year and when they got to the Tournament, it was a new year for the offense. During the tournament, Cal-State Fullerton’s offense batted a collective .336. During the regular season, it was at least 50 points lower.
With George Horton leading the way, Cal-State Fullerton has what it takes to make it back to the Championship Series at Omaha.
The Arizona State Sun Devils enter the College World Series after winning the Tempe Regional in three games and sweeping the Tempe Super Regional also. The Sun Devils opened the NCAA Tournament with a victory over Monmouth 5-3, then defeated UC-Riverside 9-2, and then in the Regional Championship knocked off Nebraska 19-7. The Sun Devils were then named hosts of the Super Regional match-up with Ole Miss which they swept in two games with a come from behind 4-3 victory and a 7-1 win to head to Omaha. The Sun Devils are led by 13th year head coach Pat Murphy who is the leading the Sun Devils to their third CWS appearance since he became the head coach. The Sun Devils are loaded on offense as they have nine players that are hitting over .327 on the year. They are hitting an outstanding .350 on the season as a team. Brett Wallace leads the team with a batting average of .423 and in homers with 16 on the year. The Sun Devils are not all about hitting as Josh Satow leading the pitching staff with a 13-3 record and a 2.41 ERA. Jason Jarvis is the closer on the team with eleven saves on the year with a 3.67 ERA. The Sun Devils will be an interesting team to watch to see if their pitching can handle the strong offenses in the CWS.
ASU CWS Notes
The North Carolina Tar Heels (53-13) are making their second consecutive trip to the College World Series after losing last season in the Championship Series to Oregon State. North Carolina started their run to Omaha by hosting a NCAA Regional at Boshamer Stadium. They swept through the Regional by defeating Jacksonville 6-0, East Carolina 11-10, and Western Carolina 6-5. The Tar Heels were then announced the host of their Super Regional match-up with South Carolina. North Carolina won the first game 9-6 after trailing the game 6-0 at one time. The Gamecocks came back to win Game 2 8-6 before the Tar Heels took the decisive game 9-4 as the Tar Heels got to the weak South Carolina bullpen. The Tar Heels rotation is led by senior Robert Woodard. He has a 10-2 record with a 3.01 ERA. He pitched in last years College World Series so he has experienced the atmosphere that the team will face in Omaha. The last two starters in the rotation are Luke Putkonen (7-1, 4.74 ERA) and Alex White (6-5, 4.22 ERA) who have struggled in the NCAA Tournament. The UNC bullpen is led by closer Andrew Carignan and reliever Rob Wooten. Carignan leads the team with a 2-1 record with 15 saves on the season with a minuscule ERA of 1.36. Rob Wooten has been used in 41 games this season out of the bullpen as he is the number 1 player to get called on by Head Coach Mike Fox. Wooten sports a 6-1 record with a 2.15 ERA. The offensive leader has been freshman Dustin Ackley who has a .416 BA. Reid Fronk leads the team with 11 homers on the year. The Tar Heels with the experience of some of their everyday players should not be in awe of the environment in Omaha and should be able to compete against any team in the country.
UNC CWS Notes
The Louisville Cardinals are the Cinderella story of this NCAA tournament as they have made the College World Series with some impressive victories. Louisville headed out to Columbia (MO) for a NCAA Regional hosted by Missouri. The Cardinals won the first game of the regional over Miami by a score of 13-7 then played the host Tigers in which they lost 7-5. This set up a rematch with Miami which the Cardinals won 8-7 then on the same day knocked off Missouri 4-3 to force a decisive game. The Cardinals jumped all over the Missouri pitching staff for 8 runs in the first inning as they cruised to a 16-6 victory. Louisville was then named the host of their Super Regional showdown with Oklahoma State. Louisville took the opening game 9-0 then lost a heart breaker in game 2 by a score of 3-2 before beating the Cowboys in the decisive game 20-2 to clinch their first trip to the NCAA Tourney. They are led by first year head coach Dan McDonnell who inherited a senior laden team from Lelo Prado who left for University of South Florida. The offense is led by Boomer Whiting who is hitting .367 but has an outrageous amount of stolen bases with 73 in 86 attempts. Isaiah Howes leads the team in hitting with a .392 average and has a team leading 18 homers on the year. In the Super Regional clincher, Howes drove in six runs. The Cardinals pitching staff is led by the two headed monster of Zach Pitts and Justin Marks. Pitts was named the Big East Pitcher of the Year as he currently has a 10-3 record and a 2.23 ERA. Marks was named the Big East Freshman of the Year as he has an 8-2 record with a 2.54 ERA. The Louisville team has some solid players who have been playing extremely well throughout the year and should give any team fits in Omaha.
Louisville CWS Notes
The Mississippi State Bulldogs (41-23) head to Omaha with a perfect record in the NCAA Tournament. They opened the tournament in the Tallahassee Regional with victories over Stetson (6-3) and defeated the host Florida State twice by scores of 3-0 and 9-4. The Bulldogs followed that up by heading home to host the Clemson Tigers in which they swept the Tigers behind a solid offense with victories of 8-6 and 8-5. Mississippi State is led by head coach Ron Polk who is making his sixth appearance with Mississippi State in Omaha and his eighth in his glorious 34 year career. Mississippi State is led by a solid offense which is headlined by Brandon Turner. He is hitting .397 on the year. Edward Easley has hit a team leading 12 homers on the year. Justin Pigott leads the pitching staff as he shut down the FSU offense for seven innings in the 3-0 shutout victory in the NCAA Regionals and pitched six effective innings in the Super Regional clincher over Clemson. Aaron Weatherford has become the shut down closer for the Bulldogs in the NCAA tournament as he has a season ERA of 3.20. The Bulldogs will be a tough out in Omaha behind the strong hitting that they possess and they have the genius coaching of Ron Polk on the bench.
MSU CWS Notes