This year’s College World Series is bound to be one of the best in the past few years. All of these teams are good and playing a good brand of baseball otherwise they wouldn’t be here. There’s the Cinderella stories, the postseason winning streak, the favorites, the offensive powerhouse, and everything in between in this College World Series. I think this year is going to be one of the best because any one of these teams has a great shot at winning it all. I’ll take a look at each team.
The first team is the Arizona Wildcats. Right now they’re playing great baseball. They have a high power offense that can keep outhit probably every team in Omaha. That’s probably the biggest thing they have going for them. The only problem is if the Arizona pitchers don’t pitch well and the offense goes into a lull in Omaha. Just like every other team here, that can lose just as easily as they can lose. I like their chances because they can hit so well and score so many runs, but if they go up against a good pitcher and their pitcher doesn’t keep up with the other pitcher. They’re facing Florida State first which will be a good offensive game. The fate of the Arizona Wildcats depends on whether their offense will show up or whether they will get into a lull and cause the Wildcats to be eliminated.
The UCLA Bruins are a very good team and they’re playing a good brand of baseball right now. They have a really good pitching staff that has helped them throughout the regular season and in the postseason. I think the biggest reason why they are in Omaha is because their offense has stepped it up to back up the the great pitching staff during the postseason. If the offense can continue to have that type of production, the Bruins have a good shot at winning the championship. Their pitching is so good that if it has that awesome offense to back it up, they can beat any team here.
Florida is the favorite going into this College World Series and there’s a good reason for it. The Gators have one of the best pitching staffs that there is and have an amazing offense that scores a ton of runs. Turgeon, Pigott, and Zunino are all hitting over .300 and are the leaders of the Gators offensive attack. Pitchers Brian Johnson and Jonathon Crawford are two of the best pitchers in this College World Series and they’re both on the same team. With those two pitchers plus the rest of their staff that is world class in addition to the Gators’ powerful offense is why the Gators are the favorites to win the College World Series. They have the pitching and offense to beat any team out there. If the offense is in a lull, the pitching can bail them out and visa-versa. That’s what makes them so great, but they aren’t unbeatable. Despite being so good, I don’t think they’ll win this championship.
Florida State is a good baseball team that’s playing really well right now. (Otherwise they wouldn’t be in the College World Series) Their offense has played really well right now and were very impressive against Stanford who has some of the best pitchers out there. The problem is that their offense has gone through long lulls during the regular season. Whether the Seminoles can win or lose depends on their offense and how they play in Omaha. If the Seminoles of late show up, they can beat a lot of teams. They have some good pitchers, but two of their best pitchers are true freshman. That’s a good thing for the team going into the future, but it could mean that those pitchers will make some mistakes that will lead to bad things for Florida State. This is a good team, but ultimately I don’t think they win the College World Series.
Stony Brook is probably the best story of this College World Series. (Not meaning to take away from Kent State) They are only the second #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament to make it to the College World Series. The other was Fresno State in 2008 and they ended up winning. The Sea Wolves have been really good lately and are very determined to “Shock the World”. They have good offense and good pitching, but I think the biggest reason why they are winning games right now is that they know how to execute. They have a goal in mind (winning the College World Series) and they will do anything to win every game they play. There’s heart on all the other teams in Omaha, but none like this team. That is their greatest advantage.
South Carolina is the two-time defending champions and it shows in the way they carry themselves. The Gamecocks are, well, cocky. They have the confidence it takes to win the College World Series because they’ve been there before. My favorite quote is from Michael Roth saying, “When we got here the first time, we were told it would be a once in a lifetime chance. Ever since that moment, I’ve been trying to change that.” Roth will pitch his heart out because this will be his last year as a Gamecock. Price is a good closer that won the College World Series last year and has done really well this season. Walker is the best hitter in the lineup, but everyone else is capable of getting clutch hits to win games.
Kent State is another great story in this College World Series. They did, after all, win a 21-inning game during the Gary Regional over a good Kentucky team. They can put up runs and pitch well, but they aren’t spectacular in either category. The thing that goes well for them is that, like Stony Brook, they have the heart and desire to prove people wrong and win the College World Series. They have some players that are really good at the plate that can deliver clutch hits to help win the game. I’m not a Kent State believer, but they can prove some people wrong, no doubt. I don’t think that they’ll be able to match up with all of these teams and that’s why I don’t think they’ll win the College World Series. It would be a great story if they proved me wrong, though.
Arkansas is a good baseball team and they’re playing pretty good right now. Their offense hasn’t been spectacular and yet the Razorbacks are still winning a lot of games. If they can get their offense to get hot, they can win a lot of games. They have excellent pitching that is easily good enough to carry them through the College World Series if they get a little offensive help. The Razorbacks aren’t anywhere close to being favorites, and they aren’t Cinderellas. They are right in between those two. I think they can surprise some people because nobody expects them, but I don’t think they’ll win it all.
This year is going to be a great College World Series, so don’t miss it. The games start on Friday and continue until Monday or Tuesday the 25th and 26th. Don’t miss any of the action as all of the games are on ESPN or ESPN2.