Baseball CWS Preview

It’s College World Series time once again as college baseball fans were treated to an epic weekend of Super Regional baseball with six of the eight Super Regionals going to a decisive third game. The defending national champion Florida Gators headline a group of eight teams that should provide plenty of epic drama at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. In Bracket one, Oregon State is the number three national seed and they will be joined by North Carolina, Mississippi State and Washington. Bracket two will have Florida, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Texas. Thus, you have a field full of college baseball bluebloods and a team in Washington that is playing very well in the NCAA Tournament and knocked out Cal State Fullerton 6-5 in 10 innings last Sunday night in Fullerton to win the series two games to one.


Florida is back in the College World Series for the fourth consecutive season as the Gators eliminated the Auburn Tigers 3-2 on Monday night in a decisive game three. Austin Langworthy was the hero for Florida as he hit a walk-off solo homerun in the bottom of the 11th inning as the ball popped out of Steven Williams glove and went over the right field fence. They are loaded on the mound with Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar in the starting rotation and Michael Byrne is lights out as a closer. Jonathan India anchors an offensive attack that when they are on can absolutely annihilate opposing pitching. Arkansas is probably the biggest threat to the Gators in this bracket as the Razorbacks have a deep lineup 1 through 9 that can torch quality pitching on any given day. Casey Martin, Carson Shaddy, Heston Kjerstad, and Eric Cole have combined for 54 homeruns and 202 runs batted in on the season. On base percentage is another underrated strength for the Razorbacks. They have five players with an on base percentage of .400 or better. Pitching is going to dictate whether Arkansas gets to the championship series let alone win the national championship. Blaine Knight and Kacey Murphy will need to get deep into games to take pressure off the bullpen.


Texas Tech and Texas are going to be tough deal with in this bracket as the Red Raiders have plenty of experience in Omaha and can score runs with anyone. Josh Jung, Grant Little, Zach Reams and Cameron Warren provide plenty of firepower and, if they can get an early homerun or clutch base hit against Florida on Sunday, it could give them that necessary confidence to turn the opening round game into a heck of a fight. For the Longhorns, as they renew an old Southwest Conference hatefest against the Razorbacks, they will need to Kody Clemens to continue to be dominant at the plate for Texas to get that win let alone make a deep run at Omaha.


Oregon State will be looking for redemption in 2018 as they lost two games to LSU in Omaha and fell short of having a shot to play Florida. Luke Heimlich should be on the mound against North Carolina in the first game and it will be interesting to see how Heimlich responds on the big stage. Offensively, the Beavers can beat you in several ways and Nick Madrigal leads a lineup that will be very difficult to slow down. The Tar Heels are back in the College World Series for the first time since 2013. It will be up to North Carolina to try and get this game against the Beavers into a bit of a higher scoring affair to get to the winner’s bracket game on Monday. Michael Busch leads the Tar Heels offensive attack with 13 homeruns and 63 runs batted in and he will need to lead the way for North Carolina if they are to win bracket 2 and get to the championship series.


Mississippi State and Washington are in the best position as they have zero pressure on them and they can play loose and with nothing to lose, which will make the opening game fun to watch between these two teams. Jake Magnum is the spark plug for the Bulldogs offensively and he is complimented by Rowdey Jordan, Hunter Stovall and Elijah MacNamee to create a dynamic attack. MacNamee has come up clutch multiple times with walk-off homeruns in the Tallahassee Regional and the Super Regional at Vanderbilt. Ethan Small and Connor Pilkington will probably be the two primary starters in Omaha and will need to pitch at a high level if the Bulldogs are to beat the Huskies. Washington is making their first appearance in Omaha and the Huskies are very battled tested as they have series wins over UCLA and Stanford during the regular season let alone their success so far in the postseason. Joe Wainhouse brings the power with a .312 batting average, 19 homeruns and 59 runs batted in. Braiden Ward, Nick Kahle, Levi Jordan, Mason Cerillo, AJ Graffanino, and Willie MacIver provide a great mix of speed, power and plate discipline that will challenge Mississippi State on Saturday night. The first trip to Omaha is always special and it will be fascinating to see how the Huskies respond and if Joe Demers gets the start and can keep the ball down against the Bulldogs, it should help Washington settle in nicely on Saturday.


Expect a ton of intensity and drama in the 2018 College World Series and look for all eight teams to lay it all on the line and leave everything they have on the field. Also, a surprise upset or two is also very capable of happening starting on Saturday when Oregon State and North Carolina get things started in Omaha.


NCAA Tournament Central