The field of eight is set for the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, and the action will get underway Saturday. The eight teams have been divided into two double-elimination brackets, and the two survivors will meet in a best-of-three championship round that commences June 26. Oregon State, Cal State-Fullerton, LSU and Florida State make up one of the brackets, while...
The field of eight is set for the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, and the action will get underway Saturday.
The eight teams have been divided into two double-elimination brackets, and the two survivors will meet in a best-of-three championship round that commences June 26.
Oregon State, Cal State-Fullerton, LSU and Florida State make up one of the brackets, while Florida, Louisville, TCU and Texas A&M make up the second bracket.
Here's a look at the games on tap for this weekend:
Oregon State (54-4) appears to have the best chance of emerging from its bracket, based largely on its sensational record. They swept the Vanderbilt Commodores to get to Omaha, and head coach Pat Casey has a team that has gotten sensational pitching this season.
Jake Thompson went 14-0 with a 1.52 earned-run average, while left-hander Luke Heimlich went 11-1 with an 0.76 ERA.
However, Heimlich's status has not been determined after it emerged that he is a registered sex offender after pleading guilty to a charge of sexually molesting a six-year-old female relative when he was 15 in 2012.
The Oregonian published the story last week, and Heimlich opted out of the Super Regionals. He also went undrafted this week by Major League Baseball.
The newspaper reported Wednesday that it was unclear if Heimlich would even make the trip to Omaha with the team.
Nick Madrigal is the Beavers' leading hitter with a .383 average, and he also has 85 hits and 52 runs scored. The Beavers are not a big-time home run hitting team, but KJ Harrison leads them with eight blasts.
Cal State Fullerton (39-22) will try to get the best of the Beavers, and they were impressive in beating Long Beach State in the Super Regionals.
Scott Hurst is a solid hitter who leads the team with a .332 average and also has 12 home runs this season. Sahid Valenzuela is hitting .324 and has 70 hits.
Connor Seabold is a force on the mound with an 11-5 record along with a 3.01 ERA.
Louisiana State (48-17) swept Mississippi State in the Baton Rouge regional, and the Tigers are clearly playing excellent baseball at this point in the season.
Right-handed pitcher Alex Lange (9-5) was drafted by the Chicago Cubs Monday, and he has a plus fastball with 134 strikeouts in 111 innings this season.
Greg Deichmann can take care of LSU's offensive needs as he has blasted 19 home runs. The Tigers have shown they can come from behind, and that's a huge factor against teams have this type of quality.
Florida State (45-21) swept Sam Houston State in the Tallahassee Super Regional, and head coach Mike Martin is making his 16th trip to the College World Series.
The Seminoles sent a message in their final game against Sam Houston State with a 19-0 destruction of the Bearkats. Dylan Busby has 14 home runs to lead the team, while Quincy Nieporte has 10 homers and 72 runs batted in.
Shortstop Taylor Walls is fine all-around player who is hitting .276 and has delivered eight home runs.
Oregon State would appear to have an advantage based on their record, but the Heimlich controversy is a distraction. The Beavers are likely to struggle. Look for Florida State to emerge from that bracket.
On the other side, Texas A&M (41-21) was struggling before the start of the postseason when the Aggies lost five of six games. That will not help them in the College World Series.
Louisville (52-10) is led by player-of-the-year candidate Brendan McKay, and the Cardinals look strong. TCU (47-16) is making its fourth straight trip to the CWS, and head coach Jim Schlossnagle has a team that is peaking at the right time and appears ready to win.
Florida (47-19) survived a rainy series with Wake Forest to advance, and the Gators have an excellent pitcher in Alex Faedo.
The Louisville Cardinals should find a way to survive and will have an edge in the championship round, and they will come home with the CWS title.
Statistics courtesy of team websites.