Only Two Teams Back From 2021 College World Series Field
The Notre Dame baseball team made things interesting for the upcoming College Baseball World Series by eliminating pre-tournament favorite Tennessee, in the Super Regionals.
Four other SEC teams made it to Omaha for the College World Series but it is Pac-12 tournament champion, Stanford and Texas out of the Big 12 who come into the tournament as the favorites at +400.
Texas and Stanford are the only teams from last year’s World Series field still in the running for the 2022 title. Texas was outscored by eventual champion Mississippi State 11-9 in the semifinals. Stanford went 1-2 and was eliminated before the semifinals. Texas and Stanford are fifth and 10th nationally in team batting average.
The College Baseball World Series often showcases the future Major League Baseball stars; however, the first-round mock draft on the MLB site does not include a player from any of the eight World Series teams.
The play begins with two games on Friday and two more on Saturday. The winners of the first four games will meet in a Sunday doubleheader while the elimination games start on Monday.
The winners of Bracket 1 and Bracket 2 will meet in a best-of-three game championship series beginning on June 25.
Here’s a look at the teams.
Stanford Cardinal (47-16)
Carter Graham leads Stanford with 22 homers and 78 RBIs, Brett Barrera has a team-leading .355 average, Brock Jones has 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases, Braden Montgomery and Drew Bowser had added 18 home runs each for a Stanford team that started the NCAA tournament with +1200 odds to win the title.
Quinn Matthews (9-1, 2.62 earned run average) is one of three Stanford pitchers with ERA’s under 3.00. The key to beating Stanford is getting to the bullpen. Other than Ryan Bruno and Brandt Pancer, it’s been a struggle for the other relievers
The Pac-12 tournament champions overcame early losses both in the regionals and Super Regionals to return to the World Series.
Texas Longhorns (47-20)
Evan Melendez is hitting .396 with 32 home runs and 94 RBIs, 33 more than any other Texas player. Melendez has more homers and RBIs than any other NCAA Division I college baseball player. He also has 52 walks and has been hit by a pitch 11 times to give him a .516 on-base percentage. He is the unquestioned star as the Texas baseball team goes after its first College Baseball World Series title since 2005.
Seven players have at least 10 home runs and that includes Murphy Stehly (.375, 19 home runs, 61 RBIs), Trey Faltine (15 homers, 56 RBIs), and Skyler Messinger (.372, 11 home runs, 59 RBIs).
Lucas Gordon (7-1, 2.68 ERA) and Pete Hansen (11-2, 3.40 ERA, 115 strikeouts) give Texas a 1-2 punch at the top of the starting rotation. Marcus Olivarez (0.72 ERA in 18 games) is the top arm out of the bullpen.
Texas leads all Division I teams with a fielding percentage of .986.
Arkansas Razorbacks (43-19)
It took a walk-off hit by Brady Slavens against North Carolina for the Razorbacks to punch the ticket to the College World Series for the 11th time. The Razorbacks’ baseball squad comes into this year’s College World Series at +500 to win it all.
Chris Lanzilli and Michael Turner are the only batters hitting over .300. The Razorbacks have 100 home runs with Cayden Wallace, Brayden Webb and Slavens tied for the team lead with 15 each. Wallace and Webb have also combined for 22 stolen bases. Only 41 errors in 62 games
Arkansas has won the deepest pitching staff in the tournament. Zack Morris (6-0, 1.89 ERA) and Zebulon Vermillon (2-0. 2.59 ERA) are key players in the bullpen. Connor Noland leads Arkansas with seven wins and 105 strikeouts.
For Arkansas, an average of 18.5 runs were scored in the four games in the regionals before topping North Carolina 4-1 and 4-3 to advance to the 2022 College World Series.
Arkansas is tied for ninth among Division I teams with 54 double plays turned and is seventh in a .982 field percentage.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (40-15)
Notre Dame comes into the World Series with the fourth-best betting odds to win the title at +550. That’s pretty good for a team not expected to be able to hang with Tennessee in a best-of-three series in the Super Regionals.
David LaManna (.348) is one of four regulars hitting over .300 for the Fighting Irish. Jack Zyska leads the team with 13 home runs while Carter Putz leads the way with 53 runs scored and 46 RBIs. Ryan Cole is hitting .312 with 20 extra-base hits, 21 stolen bases, and an on-base percentage of .434.
The trio of John Bertrand, Austin Temple, and Jack Findlay are a combined 19-6 with 245 strikeouts in 217 innings. They are the three key reasons why Notre Dame has the best team ERA (3.95) of any team in the World Series field.
Auburn Tigers (42-20)
Auburn opened a few eyes by scoring 51 runs in three games in the regionals.
Sonny DiChiara leads Auburn with a .392 average, 22 home runs, and 59 RBIs. He leads all Division I players with 68 walks in 58 games. No other player has more than nine homers. Blake Rambusch (.336, 16 stolen bases), Brooks Carlson (.310, 16 extra-base hits), and Kason Howell (19 doubles, 11 stolen bases) are other top hitters.
With 12 players with at least 91 at-bats, the Auburn coaching staff isn’t afraid to go to the bench.
The key for Auburn is to turn the game over to closer Blake Burkhalter. He has 15 saves and has struck out 66 in 44 innings. Joseph Gonzalez (7-3, 2.95 ERA) and Mason Barnett (3-2, 3.98 ERA) are the top starting pitchers. Barnett and Trace Bright have combined for 165 strikeouts in 136.2 innings.
Catcher Nate LaRue has thrown out 12 of 20 would-be base runners.
Texas A&M Aggies (42-18)
Texas A&M has yet to lose in the NCAA tournament with a 5-0 mark.
Dylan Rock leads the Aggies in both home runs (18) and stolen bases (16). He has also walked 49 times and he is one of five Texas A&M batters hitting over .300. Jack Moss’ average of .391 is the best on the team. Ryan Targac is the other top home-run threat with 14 of his 58 hits being home runs.
With 331 walks in 59 games, the Aggies do tend to make opposing pitchers work.
Texas A&M has a team ERA of 4.71 with opponents hitting .261 against the Aggies so don’t be looking for low-scoring affairs.
Nathan Dettmer (5-2, 4.75 ERA) and Micah Dallas (6-3, 5.38 ERA) are the top starting pitchers. They combine for nearly a strikeout per inning but also have 21 wild pitches between them in 31 starts. The most effective pitcher is reliever Jacob Palisch (6-3, 2.65 ERA, four saves).
Ole Miss Rebels (37-22)
Nine hitters are batting over .250 and 11 Rebels have more than 100 plate appearances for the Rebels.
Kevin Graham leads the way with a .331 average. Much of the power comes from Tim Elko (.302 average, 22 homers, and 71 RBIs).
Dylan DeLucia leads Ole Miss with six wins and is second on the squad with 88 strikeouts. Brandon Johnson has 11 saves and 66 strikeouts in 39.2 innings. Hunter Elliott has split time as a starter and a reliever. He is 4-3 with a 2.82 ERA and a team-best 92 strikeouts in 67 innings of work.
The Rebels didn’t give up a run in the Super Regionals and have outscored its opponents 46-11 in the NCAA tournament. Ole Miss comes in at +800 to win the World Series.
Oklahoma Sooners (42-22)
This tournament could provide a preview of how nasty the new-look SEC will be when Oklahoma and Texas officially join that conference.
Oklahoma’s bread and butter is the running game with 142 stolen bases and 22 runners thrown out by the Sooners. Even with those numbers, Oklahoma only has +800 odds to win the World Series.
Peyton Graham is hitting .336 and he is the team leader with 20 homers and 32 stolen bases. Tanner Tredaway is batting .373 with 27 stolen bases. Blake Robertson has walked 65 times with Kendall Pettis and has 22 stolen bases. Those numbers have been aided by Oklahoma ranked sixth nationally with 352 walks.
With a 5.41 team ERA, pitching has been a bit of an issue. Jake Bennett is the top starter with a 9-3 record and 3.53 ERA to go with 1020 strikeouts. David Sandlin (8-4, 5.54 ERA, 89 strikeouts) is another key starter. Closer Trevin Michael is 4-1 with a team-leading 2.94 ERA and 10 saves. He has 90 strikeouts in 64.1 innings.