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College World Series Update; The final is set

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Here’s an update of where we are in the 2013 College World Series (CWS).  We’re to the CWS final, having had the 8 competitors whittled to just two.

To recap the entire NCAA post-season tournament with links to previous posts:

A couple helpful resources for those who want to follow the College game: here’s a link to the CWS schedule page at, which I use as the best way to quickly find all the core college site data.  And here’s the best (only?) College Baseball blog out there:

CWS Field: here’s the two Original Brackets.

  • Bracket 1: UNC, NC State, UCLA, LSU
  • Bracket 2: Mississippi State, Oregon State, Indiana, Louisville

Days 5-6:

  • Results: Two elimination Games.  Oregon State v Indiana, and UNC v NC State.
  • Oregon State shut down Indiana in one loser’s bracket elimination game 1-0 behind a complete game 4-hitter from senior lefty Ace/Friday starter Matt Boyd.   Boyd improved to 13-4 on the season in what may have been his last collegiate start; he was a 6th round pick by Toronto.   Boyd out-dueled fellow Ace/Friday starter Aaron Sledgers, himself a 5th round pick by Minnesota, who finishes his 2013 season 9-2 after giving up just one run on 7 hits for his complete game loss.
  • UNC got a couple of runs on NC State’s ace starter Carlos Rodon (pitching on 3-days rest and on a pitch count limit) and #3/Sunday starter Hobbs Johnson made it stand up, throwing 8 1/3 shutout innings in the start of his career as UNC took the loser-bracket final 7-0 (box/gamer).  Johnson is an undersized lefty with decent velocity picked in the 14th round by Milwaukee.   By throwing their #3 starter, UNC can come back with their #1 Kent Emanuel and #2 Trent Thornton ready to go to try to beat UCLA twice to make the final.

Days 7-8:

  • Results: Bracket Finals: Mississippi State over Oregon State 4-1, and UCLA over UNC by the same score.
  • Mississippi State got to Oregon State starter Andrew Moore, hanging him with just his second loss of the season and their big-time hitter Hunter Renfroe hit a 3-run homer to win the game for the SEC team (box).
  • UNC’s Emanuel didn’t pitch badly (6ip, 1 earned run) but threw far too many pitches (112 pitches through six innings) while the Tar Heel’s offense couldn’t touch UCLA’s #3/Sunday starter Grant Watson, and UCLA cruised into the CWS final (box).

CWS Bracket Results: here’s the final standings of each of the two CWS Brackets:

Bracket 1:

  • 1st place: #12 UCLA
  • 2nd Place: #1 UNC
  • 3rd Place: #9 NC State
  • 4th Place: #4 LSU

Bracket 2:

  • 1st place: #11 Mississippi State
  • 2nd Place: #3 Oregon State
  • 3rd Place: #10 Indiana
  • 4th Place: #15 Louisville

Where do we stand in the tournament now/What’s next?

  • The final is set: Mississippi State and UCLA will play a 3-game set starting tonight 6/24, 6/25 and (if necessary) 6/26.
  • UCLA’s pitching staff is set up perfectly for the 3-game set, with Ace Adam Plutko set to go on 6/24 with more than a week’s rest since his 6/16 victory.  If the series goes all three games, none of UCLA’s starters will be on anything other than regular rest.  Meanwhile Mississippi State’s “rotation” has been a patchwork the entire post-season; their #1/friday starter Luis Pollorena hurt himself in the regionals and has only thrown a handful of innings in the CWS.  We havn’t seen their #3/sunday starter Jacob Lindgren the entire post-season.  The team has leaned heavily on #2/Saturday starter Kendal Graveman, who has now started four of their post season games (including two games in the Bracket) and on a couple of bullpen guys in Trevor Fitts and Chad Girodo to make up the innings (the Fitts/Girodo combo likely starts tonight).  Graveman would be on 4-days rest for the 2nd game, 5 days rest for a 3rd game in the CWS final but likely will not pitch the opener.
  • Is this a compelling CWS final?  The 3rd place PAC-12 team and a team that finished a distant 3rd in its division (and was barely over .500 in conference play) in the SEC?   I would have loved to see a Vanderbilt-UNC or a Vanderbilt-LSU SEC grudge match in the final.  I would have liked to see an ACC team at least challenge for the title to try to break their big winless streak.  That being said, both teams were very good; Mississippi State was a 50 win team, UCLA a 47-win team.

Prediction: I think UCLA’s pitching staff is setup and rested while Mississippi State’s staff is in disarray and will be tired.  I think this will make the difference as UCLA takes it in 3.