Its one of my favorite times of the year. Time for the NCAA College World Series! So many great memories of the great games and historic baseball that’s been played during this tournament. Truly, a wonderful time for fans of college baseball. This year proves to be no exception. The College World Series will host representatives of the Big 12 (Texas and Texas A&M), PAC 10 (California), ACC (North Carolina and Virginia) and the SEC (Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt). The brackets shake down as follows: Bracket 1 places Virginia, Texas A&M, California and South Carolina against each other. Bracket 2 will be Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Vanderbilt. Time to take a look at the teams that make up the College World Series.
Lets start with Texas. They had a good start in the Austin Regional beating Princeton. The next game was a loss to Kent State. That put them in a situation to fight from the bottom of the bracket. The Longhorns did so beating Kent State in 2 straight games to win the regional. Next up was their pairing in the Austin Super Regional. Arizona State jumped out on top taking the first game. Not a stranger to this position in tournament play this year, Texas tightened up their belts and fought back from the bottom to advance to the College World Series.
North Carolina is next. The Tar Heels stayed in the winners bracket beating Maine and then James Madison twice to win the Chapel Hill Regional. In the Chapel Hill Super Regional, North Carolina continued to show their strength in post season play this year taking the series 2-0 against a good Stanford squad. They have shown they like to be in the driver’s seat for tournament action this year.
Next up on our trip of teams to make the trip to Omaha is Virginia. Virginia started tournament action playing beating Navy to put them into the driver’s seat for the Charlottesville Regional. They also triumphed over St. John’s and East Carolina to advance to Super Regional Play. The Charlottesville Super Regional saw Virgina take on UC Irvine. UC Irvine took the second game of the series pushing a third game, Virginia beat them 3-2 to advance.
Our little trip around the CWS teams takes us to South Carolina next. Hosting the regional in Columbia, the Gamecocks beat Georgia Southern and Stetson twice to advance to the next round. Also hosting Super Regional play, South Carolina swept the series 2 games to 0, over UConn to advance to the College World Series.
Our trip, which started deep in the heart of Texas, now takes us a couple hours south from South Carolina to Vanderbilt. The Commodores hosted the Nashville Regional, and in true fashion of the host teams this year won their regional. They beat Belmont, Troy and Belmont again to advance to the Super Regional. Hosting the Super Regional as well, they followed form with the rest of their Super Regional host teams so far and swept the series against Oregon State in 2 games.
We now travel further south into the state of Florida. To Gainsville to be precise. Florida started their tournament play in the Gainsville Regional. Manhattan and Miami (twice) both fell in the Gators run to the Super Regional. Hosting the Super Regional, they split the first 2 games with Mississippi State forcing the all important Game 3. The final game ended in an 8-6 victory for Florida, advancing them to the CWS.
From here we take a turn and head back to the state of Texas. The Aggies hosted the regional in College Station. They cruised from the driver’s seat of the tournament against Wright State and Seton Hall. They had a harder time dealing with Arizona who pushed Texas A&M to a do or die game in the Regional. From there they headed to the Tallahassee Super Regional where they faced off against Florida State. Florida State blasted Texas A&M in game 2 pushing the do or die game. Texas A&M rose again to the top wining that game to advance to the CWS.
Our final stop on this trip, is in California. The Bears started their journey at the Houston Regional. Dropping the first game of the regional to Baylor, they had to fight back from the bottom of the bracket. Alcorn State, Rice and Baylor (twice) fell to the bears for them to advance to the next round. At the Santa Clara Super Regional, they faced off against Cinderella team Dallas Baptist. Cal ended the Cinderella story in 2 straight games to send Dallas Baptist home and themselves to the Series.
The lineup for the College World Series is now set. Looking at the teams that played well to get to this point we have: Texas, Texas A&M, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and California. Some teams cruised through to get to this point. Others had to dig deep down to find that special something to keep them fighting. No matter how they got here the series shaped up to be a good one.
I know where I will be on June 18th. Sitting in front of a TV, radio, or ESPN to see how the games shake out. Look for some outstanding baseball in this tournament.