Baseball NCAA Tournament Overview

The road to Omaha is set as the 64-team field for the 2019 NCAA Baseball Tournament as the selection committee announced the tournament field on Monday in what has become a Memorial Day tradition. College Sports Madness has capsules for every team and breakdowns for every region as 64 squads take their shot at reaching Omaha.
UCLA, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Louisville, and Texas Tech were awarded top eight national seeds. There is not much in the way of controversy as far as the eight teams but you could make a case that Georgia Tech was a bit high as the number three national seed but they did have 19 wins against Top 50 teams and beat Georgia two out of the three times that they played. Arkansas and Mississippi State both received very nice draws for their regionals as the Razorbacks will have Cal, TCU, and Bryant, while the Bulldogs will face a good Miami team, Central Michigan, and Southern so both of these teams should be able to cruise though their regionals and be set up for Super Regionals very nicely.
The remaining eight regional hosts are Oklahoma State, East Carolina, Stanford, Ole Miss, Louisiana State, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Oregon State. This sets up the possibility for several conference matchups in the Super Regionals with UCLA/Oregon State, Georgia Tech/North Carolina, Georgia/LSU, Arkansas/Ole Miss, and Texas Tech/Oklahoma State. On the surface this simply seems like an unintended consequence of the selection committee placing an emphasis on top 50 wins instead of the RPI. The Mountaineers getting a chance to host an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1955 is one of the better storylines of the opening weekend as Morgantown should provide an electric atmosphere all weekend long. And that is good for the growth of college baseball.
TCU was arguably the biggest beneficiary of the focus on top 50 wins as the Horned Frogs had an RPI of 59 and an overall record of 32-26. However, TCU did have 12 top 50 wins and did win 16 games away from Lupton Stadium and that turned out to be enough to get in the field. Florida went 13-17 in SEC play and also found their way into their NCAA Tournament as the number three seed in the Lubbock Regional. They were the beneficiary of getting rewarded for having 14 top 50 wins this season.
As for the toughest regionals, it would start with Stanford as the Cardinal will get UCSB, who has won 45 games as the number seed, and a Fresno State team that has a top flight pitcher in Ryan Jensen and is led offensively by Zach Ashford, who is hitting. 386 on the year with four homeruns and 21 runs batted in. McCarthy Tatum is the best power hitter for the Bulldogs as Tatum has hit 12 homeruns and has driven in 71 runs, while hitting .353 heading into regionals.
Baton Rouge should have plenty of fireworks as LSU will host Arizona State, Southern Miss, and Stony Brook. The Sun Devils led the nation in homeruns this season, belting 92 homeruns led by Spencer Torkelson, Hunter Bishop, and Trevor Hauver who have combined to hit 56 homeruns between the three of them. This regional has the feel of one that will end up going to a decisive game seven.
UCLA is set up nicely as one of the favorites to win it all once they get to Omaha as they have been so consistent winning every series this season. They have power with Michael Toglia, as he has hit 14 homeruns while driving in 56 so far in 2019. Garrett Mitchell and Ryan Kreidler provide the speed with 27 stolen bases between them in 34 attempts. Ryan Garcia and Jack Ralston are a nice 1-2 punch on the mound. They are a combined 20-0 so far this season and both guys do an excellent job of attacking opposing hitters and not giving away unnecessary walks. Vanderbilt is loaded offensively as Austin Martin, JJ Bleday, and Stephen Scott pace a lethal offensive lineup that has scored 501 runs and only allowed 247 for an eye-popping run differential of 253. If the Commodores can get big time performances by Mason Hickman and Patrick Raby on the mound, they will be a definite threat to win the national championship once they get to the College World Series.
Overall, unlike softball, the odds of all eight national seeds staying in tact all the way to Omaha is going to be challenging, especially with all of the potential conference matchups in the Super Regionals and dangerous lower seeds like  Coastal Carolina, who is hitting the ball as well as anyone right now and battle tested lower seeds like Ohio State, who is the number four seed in the Nashville Regional. The bottom line is it comes to down playing the game one pitch at a time, taking advantage of scoring opportunities and getting those elusive five wins in order to get to the College World Series. Once the final eight teams get to Omaha it is usually wide open where anything is possible and those players and teams that embrace that challenge will find themselves playing in the championship series with a shot to win it all.