If you’re a college baseball fiend, today through Sunday (and possibly Monday, if necessary) is made especially for you. The Road to Omaha starts in earnest as the NCAA College World Series gets underway. There are 32 games to be played.
The regionals are a double-elimination format. Region winners winner square off in a super regional where a best two out of three series will determine who moves on college baseball’s version of the Big Dance.
All teams will have at least one goal: get to Omaha.
You can find an interactive bracket for the entire tournament here.
Here’s a snapshot of each region along with Friday’s start times.
|1. Oregon State (1)||42-12||14-6||7-2||21-4||6||PAC-12|
|2. UNLV||35-23||11-17||3-3||21-3||27||Mountain West|
|3. UC Irvine||35-22||14-10||0-0||21-12||44||Big West|
|4. North Dakota St.*||25-24||9-15||6-3||5-6||250||Summit|
* – North Dakota St. posted a record of 5-0 against non-DI opponents.
Oregon State: The top overall seed. Has a trio of top prospects including OF Michael Conforto (right), LHP Jace Fry, and OF Dylan Davis. Starting rotation is among the best in the nation. Conforto was named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Fry was the conference’s Pitcher of the Year.
UNLV: Won the Mountain West regular season. Losing potential top-ten draft pick Erick Fedde (Tommy John surgery) hasn’t slowed the Rebels. They kept their focus and made the conference tournament final where they lost to San Diego State. Their last tournament appearance was nine years ago.
UC Irvine: Slumped toward the end of the season as the Anteaters dropped their last eight games within the conference. They took care of their conference business early in the season to gain an at-large bid.
North Dakota State: Veteran club that returns eight everyday players from a year ago. The Bison won the Summit conference tournament to gain the automatic bid.
Day 1 schedule: UC Irvine/UNLV @5 PM ET (ESPN3); North Dakota St./Oregon State @ 11 PM ET (ESPNU)
|1. Oklahoma State||45-16||13-4||10-4||22-8||18||Big 12|
|2. Nebraska||40-19||14-7||7-4||19-8||26||Big 10|
|3. Cal State Fullerton||32-22||11-14||0-0||21-8||54||Big West|
|4. Binghamton||25-25||12-18||4-2||9-5||153||America East|
Okalahoma State: The Cowboys won the Big 12 regular season, but were bested by TCU in the tournament final. A well-balanced offense (10th in HR, 3rd in walks, 4th in sac bunts) shows they’re not one-dimensional offensively. Strong bullpen to back an iffy starting rotation.
Nebraska: Remember how Darrin Erstad played when he was in the majors? This squad reflects that. Fundamentally sound at the plate and in the field. Pitching is solid as well with a veteran bullpen.
Cal State Fullerton: Experienced a funk during the season when coach Rick Vanderhook was put on paid administrative leave. The athletics department was investigating his conduct, possibly derived from an interview with ESPN. The school cited there were allegations that needed to be reviewed. A month later Vanderhook was back in the dugout and the Titans began to play better.
Binghamton: Don’t take this wrong. Smaller, less publicly known schools seemingly have veteran clubs. Binghamton is no exception. That came in handy after dropping the opening game of the American East tourney. The Bearcats clawed their way through the loser’s bracket to win and claim the automatic bid.
Day 1 schedule: Cal State Fullerton/Nebraska @ 1 PM ET (ESPNU); Binghamton/Oklahoma State @ 7PM ET (ESPN3)
The winner of the Corvallis region will play the winner of the Stillwater region in the super regional.
|1. Rice||41-18||16-7||5-4||20-7||7||Conference USA|
|2. Texas||38-18||12-6||5-2||21-10||12||Big 12|
|3. Texas A&M||33-24||9-11||0-1||24-12||39||SEC|
|4. George Mason||34-20||10-8||8-1||16-11||122||A-10|
Rice: The Owls will be making their 20th straight appearance as they swept Conference USA’s top honors during the regular season and in the conference tournament. The club won 41 games despite losing their ace Jordan Stephens to Tommy John surgery, and closer Zech Lemond for a month due to elbow inflammation. I’d say they have some depth.
Texas: Hard to believe the Longhorns last made the tournament in 2011. The team is led by the duo of RHP Nathan Thornhill and OF Mark Payton, who returned for their senior season despite being drafted after last season. Their commitment to return has partially paid off.
Texas A&M: From top to bottom, the lineup can hurt you. Might be one of the deepest lineups in the tournament. The Aggies squeaked into the field, and their reward will be facing former conference foe, Texas.
George Mason: The Patroits swept their way through the A-10 tourney to claim the automatic bid. Another smaller school with lots of veterans. Keep an eye on pitcher Anthony Montefusco. Not what you might be thinking though. His uncle pitched in the Tigers organization, and his brother also played at George Mason.
Day 1 schedule: Texas A&M/Texas @ 4 PM ET (ESPNU); George Mason/Rice @ 8 PM ET (ESPN3)
Baton Rogue Region
|1. LSU (8)||44-14-1||10-9||5-0||29-5-1||9||SEC|
|4. SE Louisiana||37-23||13-13||4-0||20-10||73||Southland|
LSU: The last of the national seeds, LSU won the SEC tournament to gain entry. MIght have sceured that #8 national seeding, too. You think of Aaron Nola, but the Tigers staff is deep and no clear weakness. The offense has been on a roll, averaging almost 11 runs per game over its last eight games.
Houston: The Cougars sport the nation’s top non-conference RPI rating, but it was a late season sweep at the hands of Louisville that saw a regional host site slip through their fingers. You better hope you can score against this staff as they ranked 4th in ERA (2.20) and 2nd in WHIP (1.02).
Bryant: The Bulldogs are no pushover. If you recall, they took a game from Arkansas in last year’s CWS. And this year’s team is better as it is more balanced. They have four legitimate starters and a starting lineup that ranked the top 15 in four categories.
SE Louisiana: Southland Player of the Year Andrew Godbold had himself quite the season (.348/.453/.511, 8 HR, 57 RBI). The offense isn’t much in the way of thump aside from him, but they are willing to play small ball to beat you.
Day 1 schedule: SE Louisiana/LSU @3 PM ET (ESPN3); Bryant/Houston @ 8 PM ET (ESPN3)
The winner of the Houston regional will play the winner of the Baton Rogue regional in the super regional.
|1. Florida State (5)||43-15||16-6||2-2||25-7||4||ACC|
|3. Kennesaw St.||37-21||13-10||5-0||19-11||57||Atlantic Sun|
|4. Georgia Southern||39-21||13-10||5-1||21-10||90||Southern|
Florida State: So the football team won a national championship and the baseball squad will attempt to duplicate the effort. The pitching staff usually grabs the headline due to Luke Weaver, a potential first round pick in next week’s MLB draft, and Heisman Trophy winner and closer Jameis Winston (right). Note: this team walks a lot. They led the nation in that category.
Alabama: This Tide isn’t rolling having dropped seven of its last 11 games. The offense is good. The pitching is solid. So what gives? Both have lacked some in the consistency department. If that is found while in Tallahassee, the Tide could get rolling again.
Kennesaw State: Is the a team currently playing any better? Doubt it as the Owls have won 23 of its last 24 games. Catcher Max Pentecost gets most of the pub, but this team has a pair of reliable starters in Jordan Hillyer and Travis Bergen. Don’t forget the steady bullpen featuring closer Justin McCalvin and James Connell.
Georgia Southern: This team can pound the ball. The average is there (.289), but can they hit the big fly (59, 4th most).
Day 1 schedule: Kennesaw State/Alabama @noon ET (ESPN3); Georgia Southern/Florida State @ 6 PM ET (ESPN3)
|3. Kansas||34-24||11-13||11-3||12-8||47||Big 12|
|4. Kent State*||36-21||14-13||6-2||15-6||126||MAC|
* – Kent State posted a record of 1-0 against non-DI opponents.
Louisville: The Cardinals were thought to be in somewhat of a rebuilding mode. Not exactly. Despite having some quality arms leave for the pros, Louisville had others, such as Kyle Funkhouser and Jared Ruxer, step in and step up. Then there’s Nick Burdi, the closer of triple-digit fame. And watch these guys on the basepaths. They’ll steal a few.
Kentucky: Think Kentucky baseball and the name A.J. Reed will be mentioned. The two-way star is a sure first round pick in next week’s draft. Reeds has a cast of regulars that help front one of the nation’s top offenses. And did you know the Wildcats boast the second most wins against the RPI top 25? They had 11.
Kansas: As we’re used to hearing these days, the Jayhawks are another team that had to overcome losing a starter to Tommy John surgery when ace Wes Benjamin necessitated the procedure. This forced the move of closer Jordan Piche’ into the Friday starter’s role. Worked out pretty well.
Kent State: Two key players from the team that made the run to Omaha in 2012, CF Alex Miklos (knee) and INF Sawyer Polen (mononucleosis), most likely will not be available this weekend. Even without Miklos and Olen, this team has still managed to score runs. They are on a bit of a roll as they swept though the MAC tourney.
Wait. Three of these four schools have some decent hoops programs, too, don’t they? And this goes without saying. A potential Louisville-Kentucky matchup in a winner-take-all game? Yes, please.
Day 1 schedule: Kansas/Kentucky @2 PM ET (ESPN3); Kent State/Louisville @ 6 PM ET(ESPN3)
The winner of the Tallahassee region will play the winner of the Louisville region.
|4. Xavier||29-27||12-19||8-2||9-6||97||Big East|
Vanderbilt: As you would expect, the Commodores have pitching talent. Tyler Beede is a lock to be a first round pic at the draft. Moving closer Carson Fulmer from his closer’s role to starter panned out well. Not a lot of pop in the bats, but a lot of speed on the paths.
Oregon: If there’s one program that believes Tommy John surgery has become a national dilemma, it’s Oregon. Their top two starters, Cole Irwin and Matt Krook went down and needed the procedure at various times this past season. The offense won’t scare you toher than Shaun Chase who led the Pac-12 in home runs (12).
Clemson: The Tigers somewhat mirror Vanderbilt. There’s a good reason. Former long-time assistant Tim Corbin now coaches Vandy. Corbin studied under the eye of Clemson coach Jack Leggett. They’ve never faced each other, but this weekend could provide an intriguing matchup between the two.
Xavier: Congrats, Xavier. You win the Big East tourney and you’re sent to Nashville and have to deal with top prospect Tyler Beede. But maybe that’s how the Musketeer prefer it as they might have the best offense among these four teams.
Day 1 schedule: Clemson/Oregon @ 1 PM ET (ESPN3); Xavier/Vanderbilt @ 8 PM ET (ESPN3)
|1. Indiana (4)||42-13||18-8||6-2||18-3||2||Big 10|
|2. Indiana State||35-16||17-10||3-3||15-3||21||MVC|
|3. Stanford||30-23||14-12||0-0||16-11||45||Pac 12|
|4. Youngstown St.||16-36||4-24||6-3||6-9||270||Horizon|
Indiana: The Hoosiers feature a pair of potential top 50 picks in Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis. Both possess thunderous bats, and the offense receives its fair share of mentions. But don’t overlook this pitching staff. The trio of Joey DeNato, Christian Morris, and Brian Korte provide Indiana a solid starting rotation.
Indiana State: You know when you see Indiana State you usually think of one person: Larry Bird. But the Sycamores might be on the right track for building its baseball program to new heights under first-year coach Mitch Hannahs. He knows the feeling of making the postseason as he did so as a member of the Sycamores in 1986, 1987, and 1989.
Stanford: The overall RPI tells you Stanford potentially played a pretty tough schedule. They not only had to deal with the likes of Oregon State, Oregon, Washington and Arizona State (all Pac-12 teams that made the field of 64), they also played Rice, Texas, Vanderbilt, and Kansas.
Youngstown St.: I wish I had positives about the Penguins. Wait, I do. Despite their losing record, they rolled through the Horizon League tournament undefeated, including beating top seed Wright State twice.
Day 1 schedule: Stanford/Indiana State @ 2 PM ET (ESPN3); Youngstown State/Indiana @ 7 PM ET (ESPN3)
The winner of the Nashville region will play the winner of the Bloomington region in the super regional.
|1. Florida (2)||40-21||12-8||5-2||23-11||3||SEC|
|2. Long Beach St.||32-24||13-13||0-0||19-11||29||Big West|
|3. North Carolina||34-25||8-12||3-2||23-11||42||ACC|
|4. Coll. of Charleston||44-17||10-10||3-0||28-7||53||Colonial|
Florida: This team has faced some of the country’s better teams. They own an astounding 18-10 record against the RPI top 25. How? They are as fundamentally sound as any in the nation. And the Gators are deep and offer flexibility. A dozen pitchers have made starts while eight have a save.
Long Beach State: A 2.91 team ERA tells a lot about the Dirtbags. They can pitch. They do play in a pitcher-friendly home, but you still got to make those pitches. The offense isn’t going to scare anyone (.261 team BA, 4.25 runs per game).
North Carolina: 2014 hasn’t been nice to the Tar Heels. Last year, they were the top seed. When you drop over two runs a game from 2013 to 2014, that could cost you a few games, and it has for North Carolina. And the defense hasn’t been as tight either.
College of Charleston: How does a team with the most wins in the region become its lowest seed? Okay, it’s not a slight in that of all the #4 seeds, the Cougars have the best RPI. They don’t hit. They don’t score. But you can’t hit them so you can’t score either. But their reward for a sensational season is Florida?
Day 1 schedule: North Carolina/Long Beach State @ 1 PM ET (ESPN3); Coll. of Charleston/Florida @ 7 PM ET (ESPN3)
Coral Gables Region
|1. Miami (FL)||41-17||17-5||1-2||23-10||15||ACC|
|2. Texas Tech||40-18||7-9||2-5||31-4||17||Big 12|
Miami: Since 1972, Miami has made the baseball postseason. That’s 42 years in a row. The offense is steady (5.5 runs per game) and the pitching has been even better (3.10 ERA). Need more be said? Yes. Why no national seed? Might be going 2-2 in the ACC tourney, but they had gone 27-3 in the previous 30 games. A bit of a head scratcher.
Texas Tech: The offense isn’t particularly potent in regards to power (29 HR), but they get on base as well as any team (.385, 20th in the NCAA) and score (6.4 runs per game). They will allow a couple of runs, but get them early. This bullpen is solid and dependable.
Columbia: Do not sleep on these guys. Not because they’ve won 15 in a row. Not because they’ve won 21 of its last 24. Because they are deep and experienced. No flash and dash, but more of a grind it out team. Those teams always present problems.
Bethune-Cookman: You’re in the tournament but under .500. You’re first game is against nationally acclaimed Miami. No issues for the Wildcats. They’ve beaten the Hurricanes in each of the last two seasons…at Coral Gables, no less. This team has a decent pitching staff. Scoring can be the issue.
Day 1 schedule: Columbia/Texas Tech @2 PM ET (ESPN3); Bethune-Cookman/Miami @ 7 PM ET (ESPN3)
The winner of the Gainesville region will play the winner of the Coral Gables region in the super regional.
Yes, that’s been a topic of debate among the Hurricane faithful and their coach. Got to win your site first.
San Luis Obispo Region
|1. Cal Poly||45-10||18-7||0-0||27-3||16||Big West|
|2. Arizona State||33-22||10-11||4-0||19-11||38||Pac 12|
|3. Pepperdine||39-16||14-9||3-0||22-7||34||West Coast|
|4. Sacramento St.*||39-22||11-11||4-3||23-8||140||WAC|
* – Sacramento St. posted a 1-0 record against non-DI teams.
Cal Poly: When you score over six runs a game, you usually have a winning record. The Mustangs offense was ranked in the top 20 in batting average (.300) and on-base percentage (.382). The pitching wasn’t shabby either, crafting a team ERA of 2.98, 30th overall. Having a top prospect like Matt Imhof can hep those pitching numbers. And they field well, too.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils have no issues with the bats. They led the Pac-12 in batting (.286) and second in runs scored (325). The pitching has been considered a partial reason for a perceived “off year”. The team ERA was 3.91, but you could point a finger at the defense as well. They were last in the Pac-12 in fielding percentage (.964) and that led to 52 unearned runs.
Pepperdine: Kentucky has A.J. Reed, but the Waves have their own two-way star, Aaron Brown. Brown’s slashline was .320/..360/.5632 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI. On the mound, Brown started 15 games, went 11-1 with a 2.24 ERA and 1.093 WHIP. Brown also struck out 96 in 100.2 innings.
Sacramento State: This will be the Hornets first-ever NCAA appearance. They will score a few on you (5.4 runs per game), but can this staff pitch. Their 3.21 ERA and 3.74 runs per game both rank in the top 50. They can field well, too (.971 FP).
Day 1 schedule: Pepperdine/Arizona State @ 4 PM ET (ESPN3); Sacramento State/Cal Poly @ 9 PM ET (ESPN3)
Fort Worth Region
|1. TCU (7)||42-15||12-6||8-2||22-7||11||Big 12|
|2. Dallas Baptist||40-19||16-10||4-1||20-8||28||MVC|
|3. Sam Houston St.||41-17||14-8||3-3||24-6||37||Southland|
TCU: The Horned Frogs are performing well as of late. Snagging a #7 national seed lends credence to this. One reason for their current roll is the starters. Their four main starters own a cumulative 1.97 ERA. When your opponent can’t score, they can’t win. And this team does score to the tune of 5.3 runs a game. It’s not an elite offense, but it well suits their needs. Pretty simple.
Dallas Baptist: Improved pitching has aided the Patriots to not only winning the conference tourney in their Missouri Valley Conference debut, but to another NCAA bid. They only have three starters hitting over .280, but they do get on base at a decent clip (.372), and score over 6 runs a game.
Sam Houston St.: The Bearkats owns a few impressive wins over quality opponents, TCU being one. The pitching is as good as any at this level, and displays depth both in the starting rotation and bullpen. If you’re going to get to the Bearkats, better do it early. Once that bullpen gets a lead and it’s the 7th inning or later, you will lose. They’re 35-0 under such game conditions.
Siena: See the record? Not pretty. Now look at it after you learn the Saints started the season 0-17. All 17 were on the road, too. That’s 26-14 (.650) the rest of the way. What might be more encouraging is that the Saints had to beat #1 tourney seed Canisius twice to win the MAAC tourney title and get the automatic bid.
Day 1 schedule: Sam Houston State/Dallas Baptist @ 3:30 PM ET (ESPN3); Siena/TCU @ 8 PM ET (ESPN3)
The winner of the San Luis Obispo region will play the winner of the Fort Worth region in the super regional.
|1. Louisiana-Lafayette (6)||53-7||22-2||4-0||27-5||5||Sun Belt|
|2. Mississippi St.||37-22||11-6||4-4||22-12||32||SEC|
|3. San Diego St.||42-19||13-13||5-1||24-5||41||Mountain West|
|4. Jackson St.*||31-23||6-13||4-0||16-10||271||SWAC|
*- Jackson St. posted a 5-0 record against non-DI opponents.
Louisiana-Lafayette: Look at almost any offensive category. You’ll find the Ragin’ Cajuns toward the top. Their 53 wins is the most of any team, and they lay claim to the top spot in all major polls. When you score almost eights runs a game while limiting your opponent to less than four, you will have a winning percentage of .883.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs team ERA sits at 2.90, 25th in the nation. The bullpen is among the best in the nation, but it has taken on a workload. Bulldogs starters don’t work deep into games, but that’s by design. The offense can score, but not in bunches.
San Diego State: Most of us are familiar with the plight of Aztecs head coach and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Assistant coach Mark Martinez found the necessary inspiration for the team: a Tony Gwynn bobblehead.
Jackson State: The Tigers have their own two-way star in Desmond Russell. At the plate, Russell posted a slashline of .289/.379/.398. On the mound, he was even more valuable earning a record of 9-4 with a 3.50 ERA. He also tossed eight complete games and earned a pair of saves in his 16 total appearances.
Day 1 schedule: San Diego State/Mississippi State @ 2 PM ET (ESPN3); Jackson State/Louisiana-Lafayette @ 7 PM ET (ESPN3)
|1. Ole Miss||41-18||15-7||1-4||25-7||14||SEC|
|2. Washington||39-15-1||15-5||3-4-1||21-6||24||Pac 12|
|3. Georgia Tech||36-25||6-13||5-1||25-11||31||ACC|
|4. Jacksonville St.||36-25||12-14||6-1||18-10||91||OVC|
Ole Miss: Is there anything this team doesn’t do well? The offense ranked 25th in runs scored (359), 14th in batting average (.303), 24th in SLG (.417), and 27th in steals (87, although the team’s website cites they had 88). The pitching followed suit as it ranked 17th in ERA (2.76) and 23rd in WHIP (1.21).
Washington: The Huskies will have a massive chip on their collective shoulders. They felt they deserved to be a regional host. Now add the fact they have to travel across the country to Mississippi to play. Maybe stats and all won’t matter in this case. Sometimes having that fire lit underneath serves well.
Georgia Tech: Not impressive during the conference’s regular season, but they seemingly found their stride in winning the ACC tournament. No real power threat. Mott Hyde and A.J. Murray shared the team lead in home runs…with four. They outscored their opponents by an average of a little over a run per game (1.23).
Jacksonville State: After dropping the opening in the OVC tournament, these Gamecocks reeled off six straight wins to win the tourney and receive the automatic bid. For the entire season, they outscored their opponents by a total of 38 runs (0.62 per game).
Day 1 schedule: Georgia Tech/Washington @ 4 PM ET (ESPN3); Jacksonville State/Ole Miss @ 8 PM ET (ESPN3)
The winner of the Lafayette region will plat the winner of the Oxford region in the super regional.
|1. South Carolina||42-16||9-9||1-2||32-5||13||SEC|
|3. Old Dominion||36-24||13-9||4-3||19-12||36||Conference USA|
|4. Campbell||40-19||11-9||7-1||22-9||67||Big South|
South Carolina: If there was one team that loved seeing that they were hosting a regional, it was South Carolina. They amassed more home wins that any regional host. Yes, there’s Grayson Greiner and Kyle Martin, but this team loves its pitching. More specifically, the bullpen. Better get to their starters as the Gamecocks are 29-1 when leading after the 6th.
Maryland: Saw within the comments section of a post that the Terps were overrated. Don’t agree with that at all. Sure, they don’t have the pedigree as some of the other ACC schools have. And they also have strikeout artist Jake Stinnet (123).
Old Dominion: The Monarchs resume’ consists of having played a total of 41 games against the RPI top 100. That alone could be why they’re in the tourney. And a win over Rice in the Conference USA tournament.
Campbell: Recall last year’s snub? Well, the Camels made sure that wouldn’t happen again this year by winning the Big South tournament. The starting rotation usually goes deep into games and closer Ryan Thompson is among the best in the country. At the plate, think small ball.
Day 1 schedule: Old Dominion/Maryland @ 1 PM ET (ESPN3); Campbell/South Carolina @ 7 PM ET (ESPN3)
|1. Virginia (3)||44-13||13-7||2-3||29-3||1||ACC|
|3. Liberty||41-16||14-7||5-4||22-5||30||Big South|
Virginia: With a trio of top prospects (OF Mike Papi, OF Derek Fisher, and 3B/RHP Nick Howard), the Cavaliers look posed to move to Omaha. The pitching is among the best in the nation, and the defense can make the same claim.
Arkansas: The offense isn’t anything special, but the arms sure are. Case in point, pitchers Trey Killian owns a rather poor looking record of 4-8. Then you notice his ERA is 2.18 ERA, so you think either the defense is horrid or the run support isn’t there. The latter would be more of the truth.
Liberty: The location won’t be daunting. What might be the “what could have been” had the Flames continued their play throughout the last couple of weeks of the regular season as they had up to that point. Rumblings had them possibly playing host. Now, they’re in a comfy place as Charlottesville is an annual visit.
Bucknell: The good news is that they’re in the tournament. The bad news is they don’t score a lot. There’s more. The other three teams have good pitching.
Day 1 schedule: Bucknell/Virginia @ 2PM ET (ESPN3); Liberty/Arkansas @ 7PM ET (ESPNU)
The winner of the Columbia region will play the winner of the Charlottesville region in the super regional.
Tags: College World Series