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2021 CWS Winner Crowned: Mississippi State wins!

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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

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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

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  • #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.

Predictions? 

  • 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

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2021 CWS Field of 64 Review and Predictions

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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

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2019 CWS Finals: Vanderbilt wins!

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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 NovaBaseball.com, 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

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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

2019 CWS Super Regional Recaps, CWS Omaha field and performance of Nats draft picks

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


CWS Super Regionals were played this past weekend.

Super Regional Recaps:  I’ve got these ordered by they way they’ll be playing into the CWS field (i.e. by bracket, with former National seeds 1,8,5,4 in the top and 6,3,7,2 in the bottom).  And this is the order they’re listed on d1baseball’s Tourney Central, the quickest way to find results.

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan: In the opener, Michigan shocked UCLA to win game 1 3-2.  Nats 8th rounder Jeremy Ydens went 0-3 playing RF and batting 7th.   UCLA scored one late to take game 2 and force the decider (Ydens batted 8th and went 2-3 with a walk).    Michigan proved game 1 was no upset by going and sweeping UCLA to advance to its first CWS since 1984.   A huge upset, not only having the tournament lose the #1 seed (a team that had basically been #1 the entire season), but an upset by a regional 3rd seed.  Nats pick Ydens did his part in the 2nd, going 3-4, batting 6th and playing RF in likely his final collegiate game.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State; TTU held serve in the opener, winning 8-6.  OSU returned the favor, winning game two 6-5 to force the Sunday decider.  In the final, an amazing back-and-forth game featuring these two very powerful lineups ended up with the host Texas Tech coming out on top to advance.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: Arkansas held serve in the opener winning easily 11-2.  Nats draftee Matt Cronin did not see action, as Arkansas’ starter Isaiah Campbell nearly pitched a CG.  In game 2, Ole Miss reversed the score, trouncing Arkansas 13-5 to force the Monday decider (again, no Cronin appearance).  In the decider, Ole Miss scored in the first…then didn’t score again as Arkansas ran up the score to win 14-1.  Cronin pitched the 9th in the win.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU; Florida State got to Lynchburg’s Zach Hess in the 8th to seal a come-from-behind victory in game 1.  Nats draftee Todd Peterson went 4 1/3rd middle relief innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits.  Nats 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza batted 3rd for FSU and went 0-2 with 3 walks.  In a scintillating Game 2, FSU held off an LSU come-back and Mendoza got a walk-off RBI-single in the 12th to complete the sweep and send Florida State back to the CWS.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC; Auburn surprised UNC 11-7 in game one, and then UNC blanked Auburn 2-0 in game two to force the Monday decider.  In that decider, Auburn scored 13 runs (!!) in the first inning to end it before it started, eventually winning 13-7 to advance to its first CWS trip since 1997.
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford; In Game 1, Mississippi State got to Stanford’s starter early and held on for the upset win in game 1.  Game two wasn’t close, and Mississippi State punched a ticket to Omaha.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: In Game 1, Louisville got to Jake Agnos in the 4th for 4 runs … so ECU pulled him and the bullpen melted, with Louisville winning 14-1.  It wasn’t any prettier in game 2, with Louisville blanking ECU 12-0 to become the first team to punch their ticket.   A pretty amazing performance, winning two games over a top-10 team like ECU by the combined score of 26-1.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke: In the opener, Duke got a flabbergasting win, destroying Vanderbilt 18-5.  In game 2, Kumar Rocker, who was one of the top prep arms in the 2018 draft before falling out of the 1st round and heading to Vanderbilt, threw a 131-pitch, 19 strikeout no-hitter to win game 2 and force the decider.  In the final, Vanderbilt ran away with the win 13-2 and advanced to Omaha, where they’re likely the favorite.

My CWS Predictions vs Actuals:

Predicted: #1 UCLA, #8 Texas Tech, #12 Ole Miss, #13 LSU, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

Actuals: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

I got the entire bottom bracket right, including the Auburn upset of host UNC.  Didn’t get much else right.

 


CWS Field and Profiles

Top Bracket: (records through Super-Regionals)

  • Michigan: 46-20, 16-7 Big 10.  2nd place Big-10 reg season, semis of Big-10 tourney, #3 regional seed.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 44-18, 16-8 Big-12.  Regular season champs, semis of Big-12 tourney
  • #5 Arkansas 46-18, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney.
  • Florida State: 41-21, 17-13 ACC.  3rd Place, ACC Atlantic Division regular season, eliminated in pool play in tourney.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 38-26, 14-16 SEC.  6th in SEC West division regular season, eliminated in 2nd round of SEC tourney.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 51-13, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney
  • #7 Louisville: 49-16, 21-9 ACC.  ACC Atlantic division regular season champ, eliminated in pool play in tourney.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: SEC East division regular season champ.  SEC tournament champ.

CWS field review by the numbers

  • SEC: 4
  • Pac12: 0
  • ACC: 2
  • Big12: 1
  • Big10: 1
  • National top 8 Seeds: 5
  • Regional Hosts (i.e. top 16 seeds): 6
  • First time programs: none

CWS Field thoughts

Lots of big time baseball programs here: Vanderbilt, Louisville, Florida State.  Half the field is SEC teams, fitting b/c 10 of them made the field of 64.

The field looks bottom heavy, with three National seeds advancing and three SEC teams competing with a tough ACC team.  in Regular season play, Mississippi State beat Auburn 2 of 3 and Auburn got swept by Vanderbilt (in addition to getting pounded 11-1 in the SEC tourney), so i’d guess Auburn is finishing last in this bracket.   Mississippi State and Vandy only played once; a 1-0 win by Vandy en route to their SEC tournament title.   The wildcard seems to be Louisville, who powered up to advance to the CWS but struggled when it had to play quality opponents (losing 2 of 3 versus UConn, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and UVA).  I think the bottom bracket goes Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Louisville, Auburn.

Meanwhile, the top features a couple of rather stunning upsets, with two regional #3 seeds advancing to the CWS.  Both the remaining seeded teams were stretched to three games in the Super Regional … though to me Texas Tech (despite being the lower seeded team) looked like the superior team.  Interestingly, Arkansas and Texas Tech also made last year’s CWS … and also faced each other in the group stage.  They also get the weakest team in Omaha first (Michigan).  I think the top bracket goes Texas Tech, Arkansas, Florida State and Michigan.

Quick predictions:

Final: Vanderbilt over Texas Tech.

Player Star power in this CWS: By team, here’s the top-end draft talents still playing.

  • Michigan: three picks in the first 3 rounds: two of their starters in Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann, plus CF Jordan Brewer in the 3rd.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 1st rounder and 8th overall Josh Jung, who was a monster in the Super Regional is the main draft talent.  TTU had 6 other players drafted in rounds 7 onward.
  • #5 Arkansas has two Comp-B round picks in OF Dominic Fletcher and senior starter Isaiah Campbell, in addition to the Nats 4th rounder Cronin.
  • Florida State: Nats 3rd rounder Mendoza, plus 4th rounder OF/closer J.C. Flowers along with an 8th and 9th rounder.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 5th rounder SS Will Holland, 7th rounder RHP Davis Daniel, and 3 lower round picks.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 1st rounder (28th overall) Ethan Small, 4th rounder Jake Mangum.
  • #7 Louisville: 5 guys in the top 7 rounds, including 2nd rounder 1B Logan Wyatt.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: no less than 13 drafted players, led by 4th overall pick J.J. Bleday.

 

Nats 2019 Draftees still playing in the CWS:

  • 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza will have his signing delayed a few more weeks; he’s the key slugger for FSU and will keep slugging in Omaha.
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin got just 1 inning in the Super Regional.

College CWS tournament references:

2019 CWS Regional Results, Super Regional Pairings, Nats picks still playing

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Our CWS coverage for 2019 got a little compressed due to time this year.   We didn’t announce the full field (link to d1baseball’s 64-field announcement), and we’re combining a couple different posts this year upon the completion of Regionals.

Now we’re through the Regionals and the field has been winnowed from 64 to just 16.

 


Regional Recaps

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the larger bracket.  Bold is the host/seed and Bolded Red is the winner.

1. UCLA region finish: UCLA, the top seed in the tourney, survived a scare by sweeping Loyola Marymount out of the losers’ bracket to advance.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4
16. Oregon State region finish: Michigan outlasted Creighton in this upset-filled regional.  Host Oregon State, your defending National champ, was 2-and-out, robbing a national stage for its presumed #1 overall pick Adley Rutschman.  Seed finish: 3-2-4-1

2. Vanderbilt region finish: Vanderbilt cruised to the title in this chalk regional.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4
15. West Virginia region finish: #3 seed Duke got to WVU’s top pick Alex Manoah in the winner’s bracket game and WVU couldn’t recover.  Seed finish: 3-2-1-4

3. Georgia Tech region finish: Auburn takes two close ones to beat the host and 3rd overall seed.  Seed finish: 2-1-3-4
14. UNC region finish: UNC topped all three teams en route to the title in a “familiar” regional of teams who play frequently.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4.

4. Georgia region finish: Florida State advances as a #3 regional seed, battering the field by winnings its 3 games 13-7, 12-3, 10-1.  Seed finish: 3-1-2-4.
13. LSU region finish: LSU held serve and advances.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4

5. Arkansas region finish: Arkansas cruises undefeated to the win.  Last-team-in TCU makes the regional final to prove critics wrong.   Seed finish: 1-3-4-2
12. Ole Miss region finish: Ole Miss fends off the feisty 4th seeded Jacksonville State to advance.   Overseeded Illinois goes 2-and-out.  Seed finish: 1-4-3-2.

6. Mississippi State region finish: Mississippi State takes out Miami, who came out of the loser’s bracket to challenge.  Seed finish chalk 1-2-3-4.
11. Stanford region finish: Stanford  came out of the losers bracket to outlast upstart Fresno State in a monday finish.  Seed finish: 1-3-4-2

7. Louisville region finish: Louisville  came through the loser’s bracket to advance.  This regional marred by a ridiculous “ump show” where the Louisville closer got ejected for saying “that’s horrible” after a close call.  4-game suspension.  For saying two words, basically to himself.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4.
10. ECU region finish: ECU survived an embarrassing opening loss to minnow Quinnipiac to advance past the surprising Campbell, who helped give ACC power NC State an equally embarrassing 2 and out.  Seed finish: 1-3-4-2

8. Texas Tech region finish: Texas Tech won a straightforward regional, where Dallas Baptist beat Florida twice.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4.
9. Oklahoma State region finish: Oklahoma State was extended an extra game by UConn but advanced.  Seed fish: chalk 1-2-3-4 but not straight-forward way to get there.


Predictions versus Actuals: no prediction piece this year for the Regionals.


DC/MD/VA team performance at Regionals

Here’s how teams of note either from the DC/MD/VA or with known players who hail from the region performed at Regionals.

  • Coastal Carolina (which has several VA-tied players) finished 3rd in a tough regional.
  • Liberty got a win, then got crushed by eventual regional champ UNC.
  • Tennessee lost the 1st round behind VA based Garrett Stallings on the mound, but rallied to make the regional final.  they also feature 1B 3rd-4th rounder Andre Lipicus, who hails from Williamsburg and got drafted in the 3rd round.
  • UNC Wilmington (which has several VA-tied players) was 2-and-out in the UNC regional.
  • ECU was a top-10 team all year and the #10th seed here.  NoVa product Jake Agnos (4th round pick) pitched a great winner’s bracket game and gets another start in the Super Regional.
  • West Virginia: has a few MD/VA based freshman this  year.
  • Clemson has some VA-based depth that didn’t appear in the regional.

 


Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • 12 of 16  hosts advanced.  A very chalk-y CWS so far.  Falling Seeds/Hosts: #3 Georgia Tech, #4 Georgia, #16 Oregon State, #15 West Virginia, 
  • 2 of the 8 national seeds fell: Georgia and Georgia Tech.
  • 2 of the 9-16 seeds fell: WVU and OSU.
  • 12 number one seeds, 1 number two seeds, 3 number three seeds, and 0 number four seeds advance to the super regionals.  
  • 5 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional; Cincinnati, Central Connecticut, Jacksonville State, Sacramento State. Quinnipiac.
  • 2: number of #4 seeds to get opening wins.  Cincinnati beat Oregon State, Quinnipaic beat ECU.
  • Most surprising regional winner: Michigan.
  • # of “extended” regionals: 5.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • SEC: Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
  • ACC: FSU, UNC, Louisville, Duke
  • Big12: Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
  • Pac12: UCLA, Stanford
  • Big 10: Michigan
  • Others: ECU (AAC)

Very top heavy; SEC gets 6 of the 16 super regionalists and has a good shot of sending 5 teams to Omaha.


Super Regional Matchups:  the higher ranked team is the host unless otherwise noted (official hosts and start times here)

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke:

Super Regional Thoughts/Predictions

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan: Michigan advanced by beating a top 25  team in Creighton … but should be no match for UCLA.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State: a Big12 showdown; they met in late april, a 3-game sweep at Texas Tech, where this will be hosted.  I see a similar beat down this weekend.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: SEC showdown: despite the seeding and despite home field advantage, Ole Miss took 2 of 3 in Arkansas at the end of March.  The two teams then split games at the SEC tourney, with Ole Miss eliminating the Razorbacks.  I like Ole Miss’ chances here.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU; a great match-up of traditional college baseball powers.  LSU should advance, especially as the host seed even given Florida State’s pedigree.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC: I like Auburn here, who just beat a better ACC team than UNC to advance, despite UNC getting surprise super regional hosting duties.
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford: While I like the Pac12 baseball this year, and at one point Stanford was much higher ranked, I don’t think they can hang with SEC royalty like Mississippi State.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: I don’t think ECU can hang with Louisville, especially after struggling with a relatively weak regional.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke:  a brain-y match-up of two great academic schools that have good baseball pedigree.  But Vanderbilt should trounce Duke here as one of the best teams in the country.

Predictions: #1 UCLA, #8 Texas Tech, #12 Ole Miss, #13 LSU, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville and #2 Vanderbilt


Super Regional Star Power

Lots of top-end draft picks will be playing this weekend, just ahead of the MLB draft which starts on 6/12/17.  (note: I wrote most of the below before the draft and have not updated it with exact picks)  By Super Regional:

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan; 1st rounder Michael Toglia and 2nd rounder Chase Strumpf pace UCLA’s offense.   Two Michigan starters (Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann) were comp-b picks.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State: Mid-1st rounder Josh Jung is TTU’s 3B, and likely 3rd rounder Gabe  Holt is on OF/2B.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: Arkansas’ #1 starter is Isaiah Campbell, likely a 2nd rounder.  Matt Cronin is a LHP likely 3rd rounder, OF Dominic Fletcher likely a 4th rounder.   Ole Miss’ catcher duo of Thomas Diller and Cooper Johnson both project as 3rd rounders.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU:  FSU’s Drew Mendoza was the Nats 3rd round pick..  LSU has three guys projecting in the late 2nd/3rd round: SS Josh Smith, RHP Zach Hess (who hails from Lynchburg VA), and OF Zach Watson.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC: UNC’s 1st baseman Michael Busch is a likely back-of-the-1st rounder.  UNC stater Tyler Baum projects as a 3rd rounder. Auburn SS Will Holland projects as a late 2nd rounder.  Auburn RHP David Daniel likely a 5th-6th rounder.
  • #6 Mississippi State vs #11 Stanford: Mississippi State’s rotation is led by Ethan Small, a LHP likely going in the 2nd round.  Stanford’s CF Kyle Stower was a 2nd round Baltimore pick.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: Louisville’s top bat is 1b Logan Wyatt went early in the 2nd   ECU has several players projected to go in rounds 3-5, including local product Zach Agnos.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke: Vanderbilt’s J.J. Bleday is projecting as a top-5 pick and is probably the highest-ranked collegiate player whose team advanced to the super regionals.  Vandy has a couple other guys projecting as 5th/6th rounders: Drake Fellows RHP and C Philip Clarke.  Duke’s LHP Graeme Stinson projects as a 3rd rounder.

Nats 2019 Draft Picks in the Super Regionals

  • 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza from FSU
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin is in Arkansas’ bullpenn.
  • 7th Rounder Todd Peterson is in LSU’s bullpen as a setup/closer.
  • 8th Rounder Jeremy Ydens is starting in #1 UCLA’s outfield after missing most of the season with injury.

 


CWS Predictions:

Early CWS final prediction:  I like #1 vs #2: UCLA vs Vanderbilt right now, with Vandy coming out on top.


College CWS tournament references:

CWS Finals: Oregon State Wins!

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OSU wins. Photo via d1baseball.com

OSU wins. Photo via d1baseball.com

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2018:


Here’s how the finals played out.

For Reference: Arkansas Stats and Oregon State Stats.

  • Game 1 6/26/18: Arkansas got to Oregon State #1 Luke Heimlich in the 5th, got him for 4 runs and made them stick.
  • Game 2 6/27/18: Oregon State scored 3 in the ninth to steal the title away and force the decider.
  • Game 3 6/28/18: OSU got a stellar game (a 2-hit shutout) from freshman starter Kevin Abel and ran away with the game 5-0.

Your 2018 College World Series Champion: Oregon State

Commentary: Rains moved the entire slate forward one day, which drastically helped Oregon State’s fatigued rotation/bullpen.  Arkansas had Oregon State down to their last strike in game 2 and let a foul pop drop between three defenders before giving away the game.  This seemed to deflate Arkansas and energize OSU, who turned the decider into a no-contest.


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 NovaBaseball.com, 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 29th, 2018 at 10:34 am

Posted in College/CWS

Tagged with ,

2018 CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2018:


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 pre-CWS predictions were #1 Florida from the top and #3 Oregon State from the bottom, but noting that Arkansas and Mississippi State in particular were going to be tough outs.


In the Top Bracket (#1 Florida, #9 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, #13 Texas)

  • In the opening games Arkansas put up 8 in the 6th to easily down Texas 11-5.  Madison HS’ Andy McGuire was called upon for mop-up duty by Texas.  In the nightcap, Texas Tech got to Florida ace Brady Singer and downed the #1 seed 6-3.
  • In the first elimination game, #1 Florida whacked Texas 6-1 behind 1st round pick Jackson Kowar to eliminate Texas.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, #5 Arkansas scored early and often and was in control throughout over Texas Tech.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, Florida got some revenge and eliminated Texas Tech to force their way into the group final.
  • In the group final, Arkansas got a dominant start from #3 starter Isaiah Campbell, who shut down Florida and got Arkansas to their first CWS final since 1979.

Final Group standings: Arkansas, Florida, Texas Tech, Texas


In the Bottom Bracket (#3 Oregon State, #6 UNC, Mississippi State, Washington)

  • In the opening games, UNC got to OSU’s stud Luke Heimlich for 6 runs early, then the game turned into a slow slog eventually won by UNC.  In the night cap, Mississippi State got a walk-off RBI single to squeak by Washington 1-0.
  • In the first elimination game, Oregon State blasted Pac-12 rival Washington 14-5 to make them the first team eliminated.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Mississippi State destroyed UNC 12-2 to continue its amazing late-season run and put themselves in the driver’s seat of this bracket.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, Oregon State scored 8 runs in the last two innings to get revenge and eliminate UNC 11-6.
  • In the group final, Oregon State destroyed Mississippi State 12-2 to force the decider.  There, Oregon State took advantage of some iffy coaching to score 5 two-out runs early and made it stick to advance.

Final Group standings: Oregon State, Mississippi State, UNC, Washington


CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for June 25th-27th.

Pitching Match-ups:

  • Game 1: Monday 6/25/18: Arkansas’s #1 Blaine Knight on 8 days rest vs Oregon State’s #1 Luke Heimlich on 4 days rest
  • Game 2: Tuesday 6/26/18: Arkansas #2 Kacey Murphy on 5 days rest vs Oregon State’s #2 Bryce Fehmel on 4 days rest
  • Game 3: Wednesday 6/27/18: Arkansas #3 Isaiah Campbell on 4 days rest vs Oregon State’s #3 freshman Kevin Abel on 3 days rest (if necessary)

Advantage Arkansas here; their rotation is rested and has been successful in the CWS.  Oregon State cannot say the same:  Heimlich has gotten knocked out early in both his CWS starts and Fehmel didn’t get out of the 4th in his most recent start.  Abel was fantastic against Mississippi State in the decider …. but even if they get to him he’ll be on just 3 days rest and may not even be available.

Prediction: Arkansas in 3.


College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2018 at 6:57 pm