Nationals Arm Race

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

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

4 Responses to '2022 CWS Group Play Recap and Final Prediction'

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  1. Great writeup Todd. I hope you didn’t do any betting based on your prediction.

    Mark L

    27 Jun 22 at 6:23 am

  2. good pitching beats good hitting, even with aluminum bats!

    very impressive holding OK to fewer runs in two games than they normally score in six innings.

    thanks Todd for all the coverage!


    27 Jun 22 at 9:46 am

  3. Add Tim Elko to the list of guys I’d love to see the Nats take a flyer on in rounds 5-10. He’s not in the top 200, and he does strike out a lot (84 times in 65 games), but he has a platinum clutch and 40 homers over the last two seasons. He seems to have a lot of Justin Turner in him.

    Ole Miss won the final round without even getting to their ace. Impressive depth in their pitching staff, and in their lineup.


    27 Jun 22 at 10:06 am

  4. Yeah … i was 7 of 8 with the super regionals … and then was flat out wrong with the final. Funny how that goes 🙂

    Todd Boss

    27 Jun 22 at 10:34 am

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