Four of the top eight seeds have been eliminated, with the final berth going to top-seed, defending champion Florida
By Arnie Leshin
If the upcoming NCAA Division I Baseball World Series is anything like the Regional and Super Regional, it could be an exciting stay among the Elite Eight at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
Parody was evident once the 64-school field was underway. Extra innings, one-run games, and underdogs emerging after the opening round was trimmed to 32 teams for the Regional, and continued with 16 remaining for tsthe Super Regional.
Surprises? Sure, how about 11th ranked Stetson in the tournament for the first time, hosting the Regional in DeLand, Fl., going three-for-three, before taking the road to Chapel Hill and suffered back-to-back losses to host and 6th ranked North Carolina.
How about unranked Tennessee Tech making its initial appearance in a season that brought 53 wins, the most in the country, and lost only 13 times.
In a state with big name schools like University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Memphis, the Golden Eagles knocked out host and 7th ranked Ole Miss in Oxford to win that Region, then took 13th ranked Texas to three games before losing by a run in the Super Regional in Austin.
Unranked Mississippi State was fortunate to make the field after losing five of its last seven starts. Then, at the Regional in Tallahassee, the Bulldogs opened with a 20-10 setback to Oklahoma, but then got past host Florida State, and avenged the defeat to the Sooners with a 13-5 victory in the Regional final.
In the Super Regional hosted by Vanderbilt, Mississippi State ran into a best-of-3 series that included all close contests, but made it to Omaha with a thrilling 10-8 come from behind victory over the Commodores.
Florida, the top seed and defending champion, was stunned in game one in Gainesville by Florida Atlantic, unranked and the 3rd seed, then had Super Regional home field against rival, unranked Auburn, before winning on a solo home run in the last of the ninth. So it was two tough weekends for the Gators before gaining the final berth in Omaha.
Arkansas, ranked fifth, had no problem winning all three games in the Region it hosted in Fayetteville, then took 2-of-3 over South Carolina to get to the World Series.
Third ranked Oregon State looked good in winning three games in the Corvallis Regional, including the 12-0 rout over tournament-tough LSU, then won twice over Big 10 champion Minnesota in the Super Regional it hosted.
Surprising, unranked Washington is making its first appearance in the tournament, were the 3rdseed in the Regional hosted by 2014 champion Coastal Carolina, and came away at the top of the heap to earn a spot in the Super Regional hosted by another tournament-tough Cal-State Fullerton, whom the Huskies nipped 6-5 in 10 innings of the deciding game.
Texas Tech, ranked 13th, will be in the World Series for the third time in five years after hosting the Super Regional in Lubbock and downing Duke in a tough three games.
Duke, too, was a surprise. It was something new for the North Carolina school that has a championship basketball program, and the Blue Devils were surprising and impressive. In the Regional they hosted, the Red Raiders went 3-0 and topped 2nd seeded Louisville, in the deciding game.
Missing from the top eight seeds are No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Ole Miss, No. 7 FSU, and No. 8 Georgia, all knocked out in the Regional they hosted.
And unless Omaha’s Creighton or the University of Nebraska are playing in this World Series, no one has home field advantage. Some do have the experience of playing there.
College Baseball World Series
@TD Ameritrade Park,
. . . All times Mountain Central
. . . All games on ESPN
Saturday, June 16
Game 1: North Carolina (43-18) vs. Oregon State(49-10-1), 1 p.m.
Game 2: Washington (35-24) vs. Mississippi State(37-27), 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 17
Game 3: Texas (41-21) vs. Arkansas (44-18), noon
Game 4: Texas Tech (40-17) vs. Florida 47-19), 5 p.m.
Monday, June 18
Game 5: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, noon
Game 6: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 19
Game 7: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, noon
Game 8: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, June 20
Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 5 p.m.
Thursday, June 21
Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 5 p.m.
Friday, June 22
Game 11: Game 9 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 12: Game 10 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 23
Game 13: Game 11 winner vs. Game 11 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 14: Game 12 winner vs. Game 12 loser, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 25
Game 1: 5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 26
Game 2: 5 p.m.
Wednesday, June 27
Game 3: 5 p.m.