Stony Brook celebrates their first trip to Omaha
The College World Series will begin tomorrow in Omaha, Nebraska. The Horn breaks down the remaining teams and who looks poised to make it to the end.
The Road to Omaha is complete.
The field of college baseball’s eight best-performing teams is set, and the College World Series has storylines galore.
Play begins Friday, June 15 at 4 p.m. CT with No. 2 seed UCLA meets No. 5 seed Stony Brook. Top-seeded Arizona will play No. 4 seed Florida State immediately after to conclude the first round matches for Bracket One.
Bracket Two play begins Saturday at 4 p.m. CT with Kent State facing Arkansas in a matchup of the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds respectively. Then, two-time defending champion South Carolina—and the No. 6 seed this year—will play No. 3 seed Florida.
The Arizona Wildcats play a good brand of baseball. Led by their star pitcher Konner Wade, the Wildcats can get off to a good start if Wade can match his complete game performance that he had against St. John’s in the Super Regionals. Keep an eye out for LF Johnny Field, and watch the base paths as the Wildcats are known to swipe some bases every now and then.
The Florida Gators probably boast the best pitching staff in Omaha, but the bigger story might be with catcher Mike Zunino, who was the third overall pick in the MLB Draft and the first collegiate player taken. In all honesty, the Gators have shown few weaknesses this season, and their pitching could carry them a long ways in the tournament.
Fans love the underdog story, and the two biggest ones in Omaha this year are Kent State and Stony Brook advancing to their first College World Series.
The Golden Flashes had strong outings in their regional and super regional appearances, besting the likes of Kentucky—in a 7-6, 21-inning marathon win—and Oregon in a 3-2 triumph Monday. Despite their fiery pitching staff, will Kent State be able to combat the nerves of being on the big stage?
As for Stony Brook, which defeated the host schools of both the regionals and super regionals, the Seawolves went from bottom of the pile to Cinderella story by advancing to the CWS as a No. 4 seed in regional play—just the second time that has happened since the field expanded to 64 in 1999. Stony Brook hits well, boasting a team batting average of .335, good for second in the country.
UCLA has won 16 of its last 17 games and has been dominant in postseason play. Better situated for small ball, the Bruins may find themselves in a ditch if the opposition brings enough wood. But in the playoffs, it pays to be the hot team.