Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Archive for the ‘College/CWS’ Category

2022 CWS Finals: Ole Miss Wins!


Ole Miss wins! Photo via Getty

Here’s how the finals between Ole Miss and Oklahoma played out:

  • Game 1 Ole Miss opted to go with a “bullpen game” instead of putting out their predicted starter on shorter rest, and it ended up paying off in spades. Reliever Jack Dougherty got the call. And he delivered, throwing 5 perfect innings to start the game before tiring in the 6th. Meanwhile Ole Miss’ bats delivered and put the game away in the 8th with back-to-back-to-back homers to win Game 1 10-3.
  • Game 2 saw a classic starter battle, as Ole Miss’ Hunter Elliott threw a solid 6ip 2run game, and Oklahoma’s Cade Horton was out of this world, striking out 13 in 7 1/3 innings. However, Horton ran out of gas, and Oklahoma’s bullpen absolutely imploded, giving up 3 runs in the 8th to seal their fate.

Your 2022 College World Series Champion: Ole Miss. They win their first ever CWS title, the year after Mississippi State wins their first. Great period for the southern state, a stalwart of baseball for decades. And they win without even getting to their ace starter. Amazing. Most pundits think Ole Miss was one of the last teams into this field of 64 (based on a losing SEC record and struggles during the latter part of the season), and now they’re champs.

This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2022.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college) once the draft happens in mid July.

CWS links/resources

2022 CWS coverage:

Written by Todd Boss

June 27th, 2022 at 10:32 am

Posted in College/CWS

2022 CWS Group Play Recap and Final Prediction


We’re to the final of the 2022 CWS tournament; here’s a recap of group play in Omaha.

Resources/links I use heavily during CWS time:

In the Top Bracket ( Notre Dame, #9 Texas, #5 TAMU, Oklahoma )

  • In the opening games, TAMU’s pitchers couldn’t find the plate and Oklahoma blew them out. Then in the night cap, Notre Dame showed why its so dangerous, shutting down Texas with solid veteran pitching and getting hits up and down the lineup to win comfortably.
  • In the first elimination game, TAMU won an interminable slog of a game over state rival Texas to stay alive and send Texas (and their hitting coach Troy Tulowitzki) home as the first team eliminated.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Oklahoma played solid ball on both sides and cooled the confident Notre Dame team, putting them in the driver’s seat for the CWS final.
  • In the play-in game, Notre Dame could get nothing going against TAMU and the veteran team exited 5-1, earning TAMU an old-school Big12 rematch against Oklahoma in the group final.
  • In the group final, Oklahoma held serve, topped TAMU 5-1, and advanced to the CWS final loss-less.

Final Group standings: Oklahoma, #5 TAMU, Notre Dame, #9 Texas

In the Bottom Bracket ( #14 Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas, #2 Stanford )

  • In the opening games, Stanford’s Brock Jones hit a homer in the top of the first … and then it was all downhill from there for Stanford as they got obliterated by Arkansas 17-2. In the nightcap. Ole Miss continued to surprise, taking out Auburn 5-1 behind a dominant start from Dylan DeLucia.
  • In the first elimination game, the highest ranked team in the tournament (#2 Stanford) was sent packing by Auburn.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Ole Miss looked unstoppable in racing away from Arkansas 13-5.
  • In the play-in game, Arkansas’ starter Will McEntire, their mid-week/#4 starter, was unhittable early and Arkansas battered Auburn’s taxed pitching staff to an easy win 11-1 and earn an all-SEC rematch in the group final.
  • In the group final, Arkansas won a nail-biter 3-2 to force the winner-take-all group final. From there though, DeLucia showed up again, throwing a 4-hit complete game shutout to send Ole miss to the final.

Final Group standings: Ole Miss, Arkansas, #14 Auburn, #2 Stanford

A strange CWS in that the unseeded teams really shined. However its important to remember that these are not your ordinary unseeded teams in Omaha.

  • Notre Dame was ranked as high as #2 this year by Baseball America in February and finished with the 2nd best overall record of any ACC team.
  • Ole Miss was literally the #1 team in the nation in March before struggling through its SEC slate and barely making the field.
  • Oklahoma kind of inexplicably didn’t get a national seed but headed into the post season ranked 9th by D1Baseball. It was only #19 in RPI .. but played a massive percentage of its games against top 50 opponents.
  • Arkansas was ranked #2 pre-season by d1baseball and is still a top 25 team.

CWS Preview and Prediction: one of the things I hate about the CWS final is that it gives the teams, who have been playing basically every day for a week, just one day off before a Sat-Sun-Mon final. This badly penalizes teams for getting their pitching stretched, and (for me) may dictate who wins. But logistically you can’t keep kids in Omaha for a month, so it is what it is.

Here’s who i think these teams will throw as starters:

  • Game 1 Sat 6/26: Jake Bennett for Oklahoma (10-3, 3.66 ERA) vs Hunter Elliott (5-3, 2.70 ERA)
  • Game 2 Sun 6/27: Cade Horton for Oklahoma (5-2, 5-24 ERA) vs John Gaddis (3-2, 4.31 ERA)
  • Game 3 Mon 6/28: David Sandlin for Oklahoma (9-4, 5.59 ERA) vs Dylan DeLucia (8-2, 3.68 ERA)

Lets be honest: Oklahoma’s pitching is not why they’re here. They have a staff ERA of 5.33 (but have battered opposing pitching to a 7.24 ERA on the season). Their ace Bennett should hold the fort in game 1. Their 2/3 starters have outplayed their stat-lines in Omaha; Horton gave up 2 runs in 6 IP and struck out 11 to beat Notre Dame to continue his late-season dominance: by most accounts he’s made himself a 1st rounder in this CWS and has lowered his ERA several points in the last few weeks. Sandlin absolutely dominated TAMU (7ip, 5hits, 12 Ks) to win their group. So, they’re showing up at the right time.

Ole Miss had to burn DeLucia to get here, meaning he can’t go until Game 3 (and it’d be on just 3 days rest after a 119 pitch outing; ugh says every MLB scout). However, Elliott is their “Ace” on the year and dominated Arkansas on Monday, so Game 1 should be great on both sides of the ball. In game 2 Ole Miss probably goes tandem with Gaddis and their other spot starter (Jack Washburn), who both served as spot starters for the team this year. Gaddis and Washburn combined to throw 7 innings of 3-run ball against Arkansas, but it wasn’t enough and they took a loss.

However, for me the story is Ole Miss not getting a start out of DeLucia until its possibly too late. I think game one may be relatively close, but expect Oklahoma to score runs (they’ve scored 24 in 3 games so far in Omaha) and ride fresher pitching to the title.

Prediction: Oklahoma in two.

Star Power/Players to watch in the final. Keith Law posted his 5 players to watch; they’ve mostly been mentioned in this space here or before, but here they are:

  • DeLucia: Law sees him as an org-arm/4A starter ceiling, but his stuff can play up and he may make for a nice 6-10th round pick.
  • Hayden Dunhurst, Ole Miss’ Catcher. He’ll either shine or be exposed this weekend, as Oklahoma runs like heck. He started the season as a 2nd round projection, but had an awful season at the plate and might very well refuse to sign wherever he goes and try again next year.
  • Peyton Graham, SS for Oklahoma. Probably the highest ranked player remaining, outside of where Horton has ascended to.
  • Bennett: good control, 4th starter ceiling.
  • Horton, as mentioned, would be a great Cole Henry like pick for the Nats in like the 2nd or 3rd if he’s still there.

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2022 at 9:09 am

Posted in College/CWS

CWS 2022: Super Regional recap and CWS Preview


Reminder, here’s my set of CWS resources:

Resources/links I use heavily during CWS time:

Here’s a quick run-through of the Super Regionals (the higher seed is the host in all cases; the teams are listed in classic 1-16, 8-9, 5-12 … format as this dictates the pools in Omaha. Bold = Winner.

  • #1 Tennessee vs Notre Dame: Notre Dame shocked the #1 team in the nation in Game 1, jumping way ahead early and holding on. Tennessee rebounded to blow out ND in game two 12-4 and force the decider. In that decider, ND’s senior leadership led to a huge upset, downing the #1 overall seed and ensuring that the #1 overall seed misses Omaha for the 3rd successive season with a 7-3. win.
  • #8 ECU vs #9 Texas: ECU dominated game 1, with Battlefield grad Zach Agnos playing SS and pitching the last two innings for the save. Texas turned the tables on ECU in game two, coming from 2-7 down in the 7th to walk it off in the 9th to force the game 3 decider. Unfortunately for ECU, Texas came out swinging in game 3 and blew away the Pirates to advance.
  • #5 TAMU vs #12 Louisville: TAMU got a walk-off win in game 1, winning in the 9th. In game 2 TAMU held on for a 4-3 win to be the first team to punch a ticket to Omaha.
  • #4 Virginia Tech vs Oklahoma: VaTech’s starter was wild early, and the Hokies couldn’t recover, dropping game 1 to the Sooners. Tech blew out Oklahoma in game two 14-8 to force the decider. In that decider, Oklahoma scored in 7 of the game’s 9 innings to overpower tech 11-2 to move to Omaha.
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Auburn: Game 1 turned into a bullpen game, and Auburn held on for the upset win. Oregon State won a tense 4-3 battle in game 2 to force the monday finisher. there, the SEC team held serve and held on to take another close battle to advance.
  • Ole Miss vs #11 Southern Miss: USM’s pitching melted down to give up 7 runs to put the game 1 out of reach. In Game 2, Ole Miss’ pitching was dominant, giving up just 3 hits to a 5-0 win and a two game sweep. Lest we forget, Ole Miss was a 3-seed in its regional, now they’re going to Omaha.
  • Arkansas vs #10 UNC: Arkansas controlled game one with stellar starting pitching. In a thrilling game 2 finish, Arkansas scored two in the 9th to get a comeback, walk-off win to break UNC’s hearts and advance.
  • #2 Stanford vs UConn: UConn destroyed Stanford’s starter (the Pac12 pitcher of the year Alex Williams, getting him for 7 runs in the first inning and a half … then somehow survived Stanford scoring 6 in the bottom of the ninth to come up just short in a 13-12 thriller. Stanford 1st rounder Brock Jones had a 3-homer day and it still wasn’t enough. Stanford won comfortably 8-2 in the second game to force the Monday close-out game. Stanford controlled game three and was never really in jeopardy, punching their ticket to Omaha as the favorite thanks to #1 Tennessee’s ouster.

Summary: the seeds and hosts got shredded. #1 out, #3 out, #4 out, #10 and #11 swept by non-seeds.

My Super Regional predictions: #1 Tennessee, #9 Texas, #5 TAMU, Oklahoma, #14 Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas, #2 Stanford.

Super Regional actuals: Notre Dame, #9 Texas, #5 TAMU, Oklahoma, #14 Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas, #2 Stanford

So I got 7 of 8 predictions right. Missed on Tennessee like everyone else … though i will say the d1baseball guys really thought Notre Dame had a chance there, so its not a huge surprise.

Here’s your 2022 CWS field.

  • top half: : Notre Dame, #9 Texas, #5 TAMU, Oklahoma
  • bottom half: #14 Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas, #2 Stanford

Field discussion/Conference representation: 

  • ACC: 1: Notre Dame
  • SEC: 4: TAMU, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Auburn
  • Big12: 2: Texas, Oklahoma (ironically, both moving to SEC soon)
  • Pac12: 1: Stanford

SEC comes up big here, sending 4 teams to Omaha and 2 more who are actively moving to the SEC.  The ACC, despite being nearly on a par with the SEC from a conference ranking perspective, really came up short.

Star Power in the CWS: Here’s some of the big names and top 2022 draft prospects in the CWS. Not a lot; maybe a couple guys who could go in the back half of the first, maybe a couple 2nd rounders. This is definitely not like years past where we had upper 1st round arms all around.

  • Notre Dame: Jack Brannagan, RHP/3B two way guy, might be a 6th/7th rounder
  • Arkansas: Cayden Wallace, 3B. Perhaps a 3rd rounder. Helium guy, can play 3B or OF, great arm, showing a ton of power.
  • Arkansas: Robert Moore, 2B. Son of KC GM Dayton Moore, may be a 4th/5th rounder. Bat has struggled but still has speed.
  • Arkansas: Peyton Pallette, RHP: TJ surgery earlier this year, so not actually playing but projected as a 1st rounder perhaps before surgery. Might go 2nd round.
  • Oklahoma: Peyton Graham, SS. Perhaps a 2nd rounder. Really tall and skinny guy, unclear if sticking at short.
  • Oklahoma: Jake Bennett, LHP: Nats pick in 2019, big body lefty who can bring it mid 90s. 2nd/3rd rounder. His showing against Virginia Tech may have bumped him up a round or so, could be a riser.
  • Texas: Ivan Melendez, 1B; national leader in homers this year with 29 and made a run at the division 1 triple crown. 1B only, but will get drafted 2nd/3rd round
  • Texas: Silas Ardoin, C. Little recruited out of HS 3 years ago, now a solid C prospect; Perhaps 3rd round.
  • Texas: Trey Faltine, SS: defense-first, has slipped since being more highly regarded out of HS. Seems like a 5th rounder
  • Texas: Pete Hansen, LHP. Pitchability guy without overpowering stuff, maybe an 8th rounder
  • Ole Miss: Hayden Dunhurst, C. Not a big bat, likely an 8th-10th rounder
  • Ole Miss: Derek Diamond, RHP; not big stuff, might go in the teens.
  • Stanford: Brock Jones, OF who blew up in the super regional and looks like a late 1st rounder.
  • Stanford: Kody Huff, C might be a 5th/6th rounder.
  • Auburn: Sonny Dichara, 1B who is the team’s biggest slugger. Has just ridiculous stats this year (.392/.560/.809) but was undrafted out of HS and may go in the 5th-6th round.


  • In the top-half…#5 TAMU over #9 Texas.
  • In the bottom half…#14 Auburn over #2 Stanford

Final: TAMU wins.

Written by Todd Boss

June 14th, 2022 at 9:31 am

Posted in College/CWS

CWS 2022 Field of 64 announced; Local team preview


Its College Baseball post-season time, something we’ve followed in this space for years. Here’s a quick guide to the CWS 2022 post season.

First off, some resources for you.

Your top 8 seeds and favorites to make Omaha, in order:

  1. Tennessee (RPI = 1)
  2. Stanford (3)
  3. Oregon State (2)
  4. Virginia Tech (5)
  5. Texas A&M (22)
  6. Miami (15)
  7. Oklahoma State (10)
  8. ECU (8)

You can see that the committee stayed pretty true to RPI for the top 4 seeds, then clearly deviated from the RPIs for the rest of the top 8, which is going to leave some of these teams facing really difficult #2 seeds in their regioanls coming up. Here’s the rest of the top 10 by RPI and who they’re facing:

  • 4. UNC: hosting a regional but as the #10 national seed
  • 6. Wake Forest: not even a host, goes to Maryland as that region’s #2 seed
  • 7. Vanderbilt, this high due to #1 Strength of Schedule, goes to Oregon State as that region’s #2 seed.
  • 9. Maryland, who spent most of the season in the top 10 of the rankings, gets dropped to a #15 seed in the tournament and has to face Vanderbilt, who’s actually got a higher RPI.

So, this is going to lead us to some very, very good regionals and a ton of upsets. Here’s some comments on all our DC/MD/VA local teams in the tourney:

  • Virginia Tech: as noted, #4 national seed, has been ranked as high as #3 this year, strong RPI, dominated in the ACC (which was every bit as good as the SEC this year). For their troubles they get a very, very easy regional, with #2 Gonzaga coming west-to-east and only ranked #27 by RPI, the Ivy league champ Columbia, and Wright State. Couldn’t ask for a better regional.
  • Maryland: #15 National seed and given the #6 RPI team in Wake Forest coming out of a far better conference as their #2 seed. Apologies Terps fans; you’re likely losing this regional on home soil. I suppose the recent Lacrosse national championship makes up for it.
  • Liberty gets the #3 regional seed as an at-large in the UFlorida region, an interesting matchup for them since they went to Florida to open the season and won 2 of 3. They have to contend though with Oklahoma first, a very good Big12 team that nearly made a case to host itself. Probably the hardest regional
  • VCU won their conference, and get to head to UNC as that regional’s #3 seed. Uphil climb here, since UNC is better than their #10 national seed indicates.
  • Virginia entered the ACC tourney looking like a top 16 seed/regional host, but got blown out by Louisville to end any chance; that loss dumped their RPI down to #24 and now they’re the #2 seed in East Carolina’s regional. Which isn’t bad: ECU’s got a great RPI (#8) but they’re from a weaker conference and were just 2-7 against top 50 RPI teams all year. UVA has to really like their chances in this regional.

Other local teams who we thought had a chance: Old Dominion was one of the last teams cut, coming in at #40 on the RPI but who really needed to win their weaker conference to get in. The next best team in the area to not make the cut was William & Mary, with an RPI of #84 and who clearly needed to win the Colonial to make it.

Quick predictions for the 16 regionals, ordered by National Seed super Regional matchup

  • #1 Tennessee will get a challenge from ACC’s Georgia Tech, but should advance.
  • #16 Georgia Southern gets Notre Dame, the ACC finalist and a complete snub for hosting, along with tough Big12 team Texas Tech. A dogfight of a regional here.
  • #8 ECU as mentioned has UVA in its region and I think gets upset.
  • #9 Texas gets an intriguing #3 seed in Dallas Baptist but a weaker #2 seed in C-USA champion Louisiana Tech. Texas should advance here.
  • #5 Texas A&M inexplicably gets a #5 national seed despite an RPI in the 20s, but is let off the hook with a weaker regional that includes a TCU team that isn’t as good as its reputation and the Sunbelt champion Louisiana (aka Louisiana-Lafayette).
  • #12 Louisville, who will be a tough out, gets a couple of cold weather teams in its regional and should advance
  • #4 Virginia Tech as discussed above gets a cake-walk of a Regional, all things considered.
  • #13 Florida gets, as discussed, both Liberty and Oklahoma, one of which has beaten them this season and the other which can beat them. Florida went just 11-17 against top 50 opponents this year despite its ranking and RPI, and I think they get beat. A deep regional.
  • #3 Oregon State cannot be happy seeing Vanderbilt in their regional; upset watch here.
  • #14 Auburn will, like nearly every SEC team, have to contend with an ACC team in Florida State but won’t be worried about a weaker Pac12 team in UCLA.
  • #6 Miami will have fun with two perennial powers in Arizona and Ole Miss, but both of these similarly ranked RPI teams probably cancel themselves out
  • #11 Southern Miss gets LSU and a tricky Kennesaw State team. Upset watch here.
  • #7 Oklahoma State had to be happy to see Grand Canyon as its #2, even if a recent national champion Arkansas is in here as #3.
  • #10 UNC gets a relatively easy draw with Georgia and VCU. UNC played top-50 ranked opponents no less than 36 times out of 57 games, good for the #2 hardest schedule this year behind Vandy.
  • #2 Stanford, who went 21-9 in the PAC12 but was just 10-9 against top 50 teams, nonetheless won’t be threatened by its regional but could be in trouble in the supers.
  • #15 Maryland has to deal with Wake Forest and one of the best cold-weather teams in Uconn, and seems like an upset in the making.


  • #1 Tennessee
  • Notre Dame
  • UVA
  • #9 Texas
  • #5 Texas A&M
  • #12 Louisville
  • #4 Virginia Tech
  • Oklahoma
  • Vanderbilt
  • #14 Auburn
  • #6 Miami
  • LSU
  • #7 Oklahoma State
  • #10 UNC
  • #2 Stanford
  • Wake Forest

Super-Early Omaha predictions:

  • #1 Tennessee
  • #9 Texas
  • #12 Louisville
  • Oklahoma
  • #6 Miami
  • #7 Oklahoma State
  • #10 UNC
  • #2 Stanford

Prospect Watch. Who are the top ranked college prospects to look for? Borrowing from the mock drafts and ranking boards, here’s some big names in play for first round action who are in the CWS:

  • Georgia Tech’s C Kevin Parada, who many mock drafters have going to the Nats at #5, is in Tennessee to play (and lose to) the #1 team.
  • Tennessee is led by two OF 1st round talents in Jordan Beck, a mid-1st rounder who is tooled up, has a ton of power and can play CF, and the guy who actually IS playing CF for them in Drew Gilbert, a high-contact hitter who can also pitch.
  • Arizona’s C Daniel Susac is in action but likely goes home early.
  • Virginia Tech is led by top 15 candidate OF Gavin Cross
  • LSU’s top player is a 1st round projection in Jacob Berry, but he’s held back by lack of position and defensive liability.
  • Texas Tech has a winnable #16 seed region with their star player and 1st rounder Jace Jung, whos brother Josh Jung was a top 10 pick in 2019.
  • Florida’s #1 starter at the beginning of the year was LHP Hunter Barco, but he went down with Tommy John and isn’t pitching (but still might be a 1st rounder).
  • Florida’s best hitting prospect is likely OF Sterlin Thompson, who will be a draft-eligible sophomore with a big bat.
  • Oklahoma State’s #1 starter is RHP Justin Campbell, a likely back of the first rounder
  • Gonzaga has a top starter in Gabriel Hughes, with a 33% strikeout rate. Should make for a fun outing in his regional when he goes.

Written by Todd Boss

May 31st, 2022 at 10:07 am

2021 CWS Winner Crowned: Mississippi State wins!


2021 CWS coverage:

Here’s how the finals played out.

  • Game 1 6/28/21: Vanderbilt jumps all over Miss State starter Christian MacLeod, who gave up 6 runs in the first on 2 walks, 2 HBPs and 2 hits. Vandy co-ace Jack Leiter had all the run support he’d need, going 6 comfortable innings and handing off the lead to one of Vandy’s solid closers for the easy win.
  • Game 2 6/29/21: In a battle of #3 starters, Mississippi State jumped on Vandy’s starter while their staff controlled the Commodores to force a ddcider.
  • Game 3 6/30/21: In his final collegiate start, Kumar Rocker left a sour taste in scout’s collective mouths by dripping runs throughout his start, leaving in the 5th. But the story was Vandy’s Will Bednar, who pitched 6 no-hit innings on three days rest to make a heck of a statement in a decider.

Your 2021 College World Series Champion: Mississippi State, their first ever baseball title after 12 trips to Omaha … and the first NCAA championship EVER for the school in a team sport (a pretty amazing fact).

Commentary: well, I thought getting two starts from Rocker/Leiter would guarantee the title … but I discounted the offensive woes of Vandy, which most pundits pounced on in their predictions. Congrats to a long-suffering team.

This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2021.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college) once the draft happens in mid July.

Written by Todd Boss

July 1st, 2021 at 9:09 am

2021 CWS Group Winners and CWS final preview


Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019

Lets review the CWS group play.  The CWS plays just one or two games a day; a far cry from the first weekend, where 64 teams played hundreds of games over the course of a long weekend.  So this post has been written in one or two sentence increments for a week and a half…

My initial Predictions for the Group stages: Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

In the Top Bracket ( NC State, #9 Stanford, #5 Arizona, #4 Vanderbilt )

  • In the opening games, NC State continued its upset ways and shocked #9 Stanford with ease, while Vanderbilt’s #1 Kumar Rocker gave up 5 runs in 6 innings against a solid-hitting Arizona team, but somehow Vandy rallied to win in extra-innings 7-6 to move on.
  • In the first elimination game, two top programs in #9 Stanford and #5 Arizona battled to stay alive, and Stanford sent home Arizona two and out with a comfortable 14-5 win. Arizona goes 2 and out.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Vandy’s run in the post season came to a halt despite Jack Leiter‘s best efforts. Leiter went 8 innings, gave up 4 hits, 1 walk and struck out 15. Normally that’d be a winning score line …but one of those 4 hits was a no-doubt blast from NC State’s cleanup hitter, and that’s all it took. Leiter was matched pitch for pitch by NC state 2nd-year freshman Sam Highfill, who shut down Vanderbilt over seven 2-hit innings, handing it over to Richmond-native Evan Justice for the two-inning save. NC State shockingly is in the driver’s seat.
  • In the play-in game, Vanderbilt was down to their last strike in the 9th before rallying and winning on a walk-off wild-pitch from Stanford’s ace Brendan Beck, who had come out of the bullpen to the horror of every draft evaluator this year (he threw 109 pitches on Saturday and another 43 high-leverage pitches last night on 3 days rest). They survive and advance, but have to beat NC State twice to move on. Luckily they have their two aces lined up on decent rest for the task.
  • In the group final, Vanderbilt topped the 13-man NC State team behind Rocker’s solid 7 innings, then got a walk-over into the CWS final. The situation is extraordinary enough to require a separate post coming soon.

Final Group standings: Vanderbilt, NC State, Stanford, Arizona

In the Bottom Bracket ( #3 Tennessee, UVA, #7 Mississippi State and #2 Texas)

  • In the opening games, UVA got a huge pitching performance from Halifax County’s Andrew Abbott who shut out #3 Tennessee for 6 innings before UVA’s bat’s exploded for the win. But Abbott’s pitching wasn’t nearly as good as Miss State’s Will Bednar, who struke out 15 in 6 innings against #2 Texas to shut them down and lead his team to victory.
  • In the first elimination game, #2 Texas won a slug-fest against #3 Tennessee in a back-and forth game to send the SEC finalists home 2-and-out.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, UVA faced off against Mississippi State for the CWS winner’s bracket driver’s seat. UVA’s Griff McGarry took a no-hitter into the 8th with a 4-0 lead … and somehow Mississippi State won the game 6-5. Just one thing after another in a nightmare 8th inning for UVA, who went from absolutely controlling this bracket to being dumped to the loser’s bracket inside of about 15 minutes.
  • In the play-in game, UVA sent former ace Mike Vasil to the mound for what likely was his final collegiate appearance, and he shook off some early dust to put in a great line: 7ip, 4h, 1ER, 8/1 K/BB. However, the bullpen couldn’t hold that lead, and Texas’ big middle of the order bats kept pushing and broke through in the 8th and 9th innings to put it away. UVA’s cinderella season is over; Texas moves on.
  • In the group final, Texas clased one back to forced the decider, but then Mississippi State advanced with a walk-off in the final.

Final Group standings: Mississippi State, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee

CWS finals discussion: Vanderbilt given a huge advantage by getting the walk-over and thus not burning Leiter, who will throw in game 1. Mississippi State had to burn both their top starters just to get to the CWS final. A rested full strength Mississippi State lost 2 of 3 in Vanderbilt earlier this year, but did beat Leiter.

Pitching Matchups:

Vandy’s 3 starters look like this:

  • 6/28: Jack Leiter, last pitched Mon 6/21, threw 123 pitches, would be on 6 days rest
  • 6/29: Christian Little, last pitched Wed 6/23, threw 70 pitches, would be on 5 days rest
  • 6/30: Kumar Rocker: last pitched friday 6/25, threw 111 pitches, projected to pitch Wednesday if needed, would be on 4 days rest

So, this would be an entirely different series if Vandy had been forced to burn Leiter to beat NC State a second time … the only potential for damage here is if Rocker comes into game 2, which would be pretty reckless. 123 pitches for Leiter a week ago was … pushing it. But the same coach pulled Rocker in the 7th at 111 pitches, doing the right thing.

Miss State’s 3 starters look like this:

  • 6/28: Christian Macleod, last pitched 6/22, threw just 35 pitches and got knocked out of the 1st. would be on 5 days rest
  • 6/29: Houston Harding, last pitched 6/25, threw 82 pitches, would be on 3 days rest
  • 6/30: Will Bednar, last pitched 6/26, threw 97 pitches, would be on 3 days rest

Bednar is the ace. Macleod has struggled and Harding is more of a swing man. But you see the significant dis-advantage Mississippi State is in; the only way they get their Ace is if it goes 3 and even then he’s on 3 days rest, for a guy who is used to 6 days rest. And their game 2 starters is on 3 days rest regardless … and he’s their 3rd best arm. Meaning its likely a bullpen game.

This situation represents a massive advantage for Vanderbilt in this series. But, on the flip side, Vandy’s offense has been in neutral. I think its enough to make this a pretty close series.

Prediction: Vanderbilt in three.

College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 27th, 2021 at 5:08 pm

Posted in College/CWS

2021 CWS Super Regionals Recap and CWS Field set


  • #1 Arkansas vs NC State: Arkansas destroyed NC State in game one 21-2. That’s a beat-down. NC State rebounded to force game 3, where they shocked the nation’s #1 team to advance as an unseeded team to Omaha.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Stanford: Stanford shocked the host Texas Tech team 15-3 in game one, then blanked them in game two 9-0 for a dominant super regional win on the road.
  • #5 Arizona vs #12 Ole Miss: Arizona with relative ease in game one, and Ole Miss trounced them in game two to force the tiebreaker. Arizona rebounded again in game 3, with a 16-3 destruction to punch their ticket to Omaha.
  • #4 Vanderbilt vs #13 East Carolina: Vandy’s two aces dominated ECU, giving up just one run between them, and Vanderbilt advances to the CWS with ease.
  • #3 Tennessee vs LSU: Tennessee held serve in game 1 and handled LSU in game two with ease to move to the finals as a big favorite.
  • Dallas Baptist vs UVA: DBU with the close one in game 1, getting to UVA ace Andrew Abbott and holding on for the win. UVA blanked the Patriots in game two behind 7 2-hit innings from Griff McGarry (who sported an ERA north of 6.00 on the season) to force the Monday tie-breaker. In the breaker, UVA’s freshman Nate Savino struggled early, was replaced by middle reliever Matt Wyatt, who shut down DBU for the rest of the game, setting the stage for a clutch 7th inning Grand Slam from Kyle Teel, their best hitter on the season, to move them to Omaha.
  • #7 Mississippi State vs #10 Notre Dame: Miss State outslugged ND in game one 9-8. Notre Dame blasted the SEC team 9-1 to force the Monday tie-breaker. There, Notre Dame just couldn’t score enough to overcome their own pitching and lost 11-7.
  • #2 Texas vs South Florida: Texas won a close game 1 and blew out the cinderella team in game 2 to advance to Omaha.

Super Regional predictions: Arkansas, Texas Tech, Arizona, Vandy, Tenn, UVA, Notre Dame, Texas.

Super Regional actuals: NC State, Stanford, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, UVA, Mississippi State, Texas. Prediction went just 5 for 8 in the super regionals.

CWS field: 

top half: NC State, #9 Stanford, #5 Arizona, #4 Vanderbilt

bottom half: #3 Tennessee, UVA, #7 Mississippi State and #2 Texas

Despite losing the #1 overall seed, Omaha is pretty stacked, with 5 of the best 8 teams in the land, plus #9 Stanford who dominated the #8 seed to move on.  We’re about to see some really good baseball.

Star Power in the CWS:

  • Vanderbilt: Leiter and Rocker, both likely going top 5 of the 2021 draft in a few weeks time, continue to show why Vandy is the team to beat.
  • Texas: Ty Madden, their Ace, continues on and might be in the mix for the Nats pick at #11.
  • UVA: Zach Gelof, Andrew Abbott, Mike Vasil: all likely 2nd day picks.
  • Mississippi State: Wil Bednar, Christian MacLeod, two solid arms.


  • In the top-half: It is hard not to look at the way Vanderbilt’s two aces can dominate even a top offensive team like ECU and not just pencil them in for wins.  Look for Vanderbilt to win the first two games of their CWS bracket, then wait in the final.  Stanford took 2 of 3 versus Arizona at home in May, but the friday night game was a 13-inning affair that saw both teams’ aces give up runs, so its hard to predict who might come out of the loser’s bracket, but i like Arizona to challenge Vandy but ultimately lose.
  • In the bottom half…#3 Tennessee is my favorite here, despite being the slight underdog to #2 Texas. D1Baseball has Tennessee above Texas in their rankings, and I wonder if Texas will save their ace for game 2 as a result. Tennessee will start with UVA, while Texas will start with Mississippi State. I like the top 2 seeds to move on, with Tennessee eventually advancing out of the group.

This would leave a CWS final of Vandy vs Tennessee, a rematch of a mid-April 3-game series at Tennessee where Vandy won 2 of 3, beating Leiter in the saturday game. Still thinking Vandy takes this.

Written by Todd Boss

June 15th, 2021 at 11:32 am

Posted in College/CWS

Tagged with

2021 CWS Field of 64 Review and Predictions


Wow, it feels good to be back (somewhat) to normal. The 2021 College World Series field of 64 was announced over the weekend, which will feature 16 mini tournaments to determine who advances to the “Super Regionals” next weekend. This is a great, fun weekend of college baseball coming up, and there’s all sorts of local rooting interest and national draft interest in the field.

We had no 2020 event, and in 2019 I didn’t do a ton of coverage, so here we are. Lets review the field of 64, note some of the more interesting matchups, and make some predictions. I’ll list these in the order of their eventual Super Regional matchup (i.e. #1 national seed’s region then #16 national seed region, then #8/#9, etc).

#1 Arkansas, with Nebraska, Northeastern and NJIT. The #1 seed, which did not win its own conference, gets a very difficult #2 seed in Big12 champ Nebraska, who is ranked #42 in RPI. I’m not saying they’re going to lose, but certainly this is one of the more difficult #2 seeds. Prediction: Arkansas

#16: Louisiana Tech, who gets NC State, Alabama and Rider. Alabama as a #3 seed is kind of ridiculous; they played top 25 teams 22 times this year. They’re higher RPI than NC State. La Tech lost its conference championship but rocketed up the RPI rankings into a host, but I don’t think they can beat two solid down-division teams from ACC/SEC. Prediction: Alabama.

#8: Texas Tech, who gets UCLA, UNC and Army. Kind of a tough #2 seed for a national seed in UCLA, who got a number of top-25 wins this year. I smell a slight upset possibility here. Prediction: Texas Tech.

#9: Stanford, who gets UC Irvine, Nevada and North Dakota State. Stanford had a very solid season, and UC Irvine is the kind of random California team that excels only in baseball and can give the blue bloods fits, but not this year. I like Stanford here.

#5 Arizona, who gets Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara and Grand Canyon. Oklahoma State is quite high in RPI, but sports a pretty poor record against top25. This will be an interesting show-me series between two solid teams in the top secondary divisions in the sport. I also like the secondary story of GCU, which is the sole for-profit Division 1 team in the country and who has had spats with other Pac12 members publicly about whether they were even eligible to compete. I like Arizona to move on.

#12 Ole Miss gets Southern Miss, Florida State and Southeast Missouri State. A very talented top 3 here, all with pedigree and top-25 history. I have no reason to doubt the SEC team Ole Miss moves on, especially at home.

#4 Vanderbilt gets Georgia Tech, Indiana State and Presbyterian. I’m still not quite sure how Vandy ever loses, with its two top starters (Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter) both projected to go in the top 5 of the draft and a slew of other talented players in the lineup. They get a gift of a regional, with Ga Tech down in the 40s in terms of RPI.

#13 ECU headlines a local-favorite filled regional that includes Charlotte, Maryland and MEAC champ Norfolk State. ECU isn’t quite as good as they have been in the past but was a top25 regular this year and should move on.

#3 Tennessee gets an interesting draw in ACC champ Duke, local favorite Liberty and Wright State. It isn’t often that the ACC champ isn’t a regional host, but Duke didn’t really merit it during a down year for the ACC. Liberty has done some damage this year locally, but won’t be able to take down the national power Tennessee.

#14 Oregon hosts Gonzaga, LSU and Central Connecticut. LSU was a pre-season favorite to fight for the title before losing their friday starter (Jaden Hill) to TJ surgery. They survived an awful start to the season to qualify and I think they’re a dark horse. I think Oregon is weak this year, and Gonzaga is a geographic-based seed to save on travel dollars. LSU to advance.

#6 TCU gets a tough regional for its troubles, with Oregon State, Dallas Baptist and McNeese State. Dallas Baptist isn’t as good as they have been recently, but did win their conference… as did Lake Charles’ McNeese State, who led the way in a sneaky good baseball conference and could make some noise. Hard to bet against the powerhouse TCU, but this regional may be tough.

#11 ODU, for being a top 10 team this year, somehow doesn’t get the honor to host and has to travel to South Carolina to compete in a regional where they’re the #1 seed. They’re joined by UVA and Jacksonville as perhaps the best #4 seed in the tourney as the Atlantic Sun champ. Tough break for ODU, who I think falls to South Carolina. UVA makes the tournament in a down year, but just doesn’t have the bats to compete.

#7 Mississippi State gets VCU, Campbell and Stamford in a relatively easy regional.

#10 ACC Champ Notre Dame, hardly a baseball power, gets UConn, Michigan and Central Michigan in a regional that seems designed to ensure a cold weather team makes it to next weekend. UConn normally is solid but is down this year, so Notre Dame (who got shellacked in the ACC tournament by UVA) moves on.

#15 Florida gets a very “Florida” regional, with South Alabama, long-time rival Miami and South Florida in their regional. I can see a Florida-Miami winner’s bracket final, but otherwise see no reason to doubt Florida moving on.

#2 Texas, who is overseeded by a handful, nonetheless gets a very easy regional with Arizona State, Fairfield and Southern. Interestingly, Fairfield is the #2 team in the nation in RPI, having gone 37-3 this year, albeit with no games against anyone in the top 50.

So, i’m going mostly chalk, with a couple of upsets. We’ll see how it plays out. Games start friday at Noon!

Written by Todd Boss

June 1st, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Posted in College/CWS

Tagged with ,

2019 CWS Finals: Vanderbilt wins!




Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:

Here’s how the finals played out.

  • Game 1 6/24/19: Michigan stud starter Tommy Murray held Vanderbilt to 3 runs on 6 innings while the Michigan offense continued to chug along, beating Vandy’s ace Drake Fellows 7-4 to take game 1.
  • Game 2 6/25/19: Vanderbilt’s super freshman Kumar Rocker saved their day again, giving up 1 run on 3 hits with 11 punchouts in 6 1/3 innings against the best offensive team in the post season to force game 3.
  • Game 3 6/26/19: Vanderbilt got to Michigan’s ace Karl Kaufmann and held on for the 8-2 win and the come-back title.

Your 2019 College World Series Champion: Vanderbilt

Commentary: The final played out like I thought it would, with Michigan stealing a win behind their lefty stud, but then Vandy coming back to win.  Its still a pretty amazing accomplishment for Michigan to have gotten this far, but in the end the better, stronger team won.

This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2018.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college).  I don’t really cover the summer collegiate wood bat leagues: for that I’d suggest, which is really coming into its own in terms of local coverage for all players with local ties.


College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 27th, 2019 at 10:01 am

2019 CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

one comment


Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:

Lets review the CWS group play.  The CWS plays just one or two games a day; a far cry from the first weekend, where 64 teams played hundreds of games over the course of a long weekend.  So this post has been written in one or two sentence increments for a week and a half…

Predictions for the Group stages: Vanderbilt and Texas Tech.

In the Top Bracket (Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State)

  • In the opening games, we got two upsets right out of the box.  Michigan beat TTU 5-3 behind a solid outing from 2nd rounder Karl Kaufmann, while Florida State topped Arkansas in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel.  Nats picks Drew Mendoza went 0-4 for FSU, while Arkansas closer Matt Cronin pitched a scoreless 9th inning.
  • In the first elimination game, Texas Tech beat Arkanasas 5-4 to eliminate the #5 seed.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, 2nd round pick Tommy Henry pitched the game of his life, throwing a 100-pitch 3-hit shutout to blank FSU 2-0 and put Michigan in the driver’s seat.  FSU’s Mendoza went 0-4 with two punchouts against the tough lefty, and badly threw away an easy grounder in the field.    This sets up Michigan and their 2-Ace staff nicely; they don’t play again until Friday, giving their #1 starter Kaufmann 5 full days of rest for that regional final.  And if they have to go to the next game … Murray would have four full days of rest.  Michigan is going to be hard to beat.
  • In the play-in game, Texas Tech eliminated Florida State and sent their legendary manager Mike Martin into retirement without having ever won the CWS, despite dozens of appearances.  The final collegiate game for Mendoza did include a hit (on a questionable scoring call), and his 1B bailed him out of another easy throwing error early.  But FSU is done and Mendoza should be cleared to start negotiating.
  • In the group final, Michigan scored early and often to blitz Texas Tech and advance loss-less to the final.  just an amazing story.

Final Group standings: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, Florida State, #5 Arkansas

In the Bottom Bracket (Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt)

  • In the opening games, Vanderbilt held serve and topped Louisville 3-1, while Mississippi State scored 4 in the 9th to beat Auburn 5-4.
  • In the first elimination game, Louisville took out Auburn across two rain-delayed days to eliminate Auburn.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Vanderbilt got another stellar start from freshman sensation Kumar Rocker, this time throwing “only” 95 pitches and giving up 1 run in 6 complete, to down #6 Mississippi State and take control of the group.
  • In the play-in game, another walk-off win as Louisville spoils a gem of a start from Mississippi State’s J.T. Ginn by scoring 2 in the 7th and 2 in the 9th to win 4-3 and eliminate Mississippi State.
  • In the group final, Karm police took hold of Louisville starter Luke Smith, who pitched 8 stellar innings … and profanely let the Vandy dugout know it, only to lose in the 9th as Vanderbilt walked off for the win.

Final Group standings: #2 Vanderbilt, #7 Louisville,  #6 Mississippi State, Auburn

CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for Mon-Wed 6/24/19 to 6/26/19.

Pitching Match-ups:

  • Game 1: Monday 6/24/19: Vanderbilt’s #1 Drake Fellows (7 days rest) vs Michigan’s #2 Tommy Henry (6 days rest)
  • Game 2: Tuesday 6/25/19: Vanderbilty #2 Kumar Rocker (5 days rest) vs Michigan’s #3 Jeff Criswell (3 days rest from a relief appearance)
  • Game 3: Wednesday 6/26/19: Vanderbilt’s #3 Mason Hickman (4 days rest) vs Michigan’s #1 Karl Kaufmann (4 days rest)

Thoughts: Michigan is the cinderella … but Cinderella had to burn a second CWS start from their ace Kaufmann to get there.  Meanwhile, Vanderbilt advanced to the title without interrupting its rotation whatsoever and has its staff lined up exactly as they want.  Michigan gets the ball to their stud lefty Henry, who shut down FSU and should be pretty effective against Vanderbilt’s lefty-heavy middle of the order.  I’m predicting that Michigan sneaks a win from Henry, but then (as in the super regional) Vanderbilt will explode against the rest of the Michigan staff and runs away with it in three.

Prediction: Vanderbilt in 3

College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2019 at 10:17 am