The 2017 NCAA Men’s College World Series gets underway Saturday, June 17 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Before the action starts, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the eight teams fighting for the highest honor in college baseball.
The Oregon State Beavers come to Omaha as the national number one ranked team, with an overall record of 54-4 (27-3 in PAC-12 play). Oregon State won by sweeping both the Corvallis regional and Super Regional. The Beavers last made it to Omaha in 2013, where they were eliminated after going 2-2 in College World Series play. Oregon State head coach Pat Casey has led his team to the CWS four times, and has a lifetime 13-6 record in Omaha, including championships in both 2006 and 2007. The Beavers come to Omaha on the strength of their pitching staff, which posted a 1.80 ERA, and threw 14 shutouts as a pitching staff.
Cal State Fullerton enters CWS play with a 39-22 record (15-9 Big West). Cal State Fullerton took down Stanford in the Stanford regional before winning two out of three at the Long Beach Super Regional to advance to Omaha. This will be the 18th time the Titans have played for the CWS titles, and they could grab their fifth title all-time if they win the championship. Cal State Fullerton is led by Head Coach Rick Vanderhook, who is in his sixth season with the team and is looking for his first national championship as a head coach. Cal State Fullerton last won the CWS in 2004, and has won one championship per decade since the 1970’s.
The LSU Tigers come in not only as the number four seed in the nation, but also as the team with the highest all-time winning percentage in NCAA tournament history (148-58, for a .718 winning percentage). The Tigers finished the regular season at 48-17 (21-9 SEC), and have not lost a game since Friday, May 5th against South Carolina. In addition, LSU has only lost two of their previous 23 games. LSU swept through both the NCAA Regional and Super Regional, both of which were hosted at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Head Coach Paul Mainieri is in his 11th season at LSU, and his 35th overall, and has led the Tigers to four NCAA tournament appearances in his time with the Tigers.
Florida State has the longest NCAA Tournament appearance streak at 40 consecutive years. Florida State finished the 2017 season 45-21 (14-14 ACC) . The Seminoles won four games in the NCAA Regionals compared to only one loss, before sweeping the Super Regionals against Sam Houston State, including a 19-0 drubbing of Sam Houston State in game two of the Super Regionals. Head Coach Mike Martin is in his 38th year at the helm for the Seminoles, and he holds the record for the most active victories of any Division I head coach. Martin has never failed to advance his team to the NCAA regional tournament.
Louisville, the number seven team in the country, comes in with a 52-10 record (23-6 ACC). Louisville hosted both the NCAA Regional and Super Regionals, sweeping their opponents in both rounds of postseason play. Louisville is led by Head Coach Dan McDonnell, who is ranked number five among active coaches in winning percentage (.716). McDonnell’s Cardinals have won 50 games four of the last five years, and are making their fourth CWS appearance under McDonnell. The Cardinals also possess the 2017 NCAA Player of the Year in Brendan McKay. McKay, who was the number four overall selection in the 2017 MLB First Year Play Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, hit .343 with 17 home runs and 56 RBI’s, and also contributed a 10-3 record with a 2.34 ERA and a school record 140 strikeouts.
Perhaps the most unlikely team to make it to Omaha, Texas A&M went from one of the last four teams to make the NCAA Tournament to one of the final eight remaining. The Aggies, led by Rob Childress, swept both the Houston Regional and the College Station Super Regional, and come in with a record of 41-21 (16-14 SEC). This CWS appearance will mark their first since 2011, and help to continue a run of 11 consecutive NCAA postseason appearances under Childress.
After dealing with weather delays and a powerful Wake Forest lineup, the Florida Gators dispatched the Demon Deacons to advance to their 11th CWS in school history, and their sixth under Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan. The Gators come in with a 47-18 record (21-9 SEC), and got through tough schedules in both the Gainesville Regional and Super Regional. Florida had 18 one-run wins, the most in the country, and faced the second-toughest schedule in the 2017 season, per the NCAA. Florida finished the season as the number four seed in the nation.
TCU is the fifth national seed to make the CWS, coming in at number five overall. The Horned Frogs come in with a 47-16 record (16-8 Big 12), and they swept both the Forth Worth Regional and Super Regional to advance to the CWS. TCU is making their fourth consecutive CWS appearance, and come in 8-8 all-time in CWS play. Jim Schlossnagle leads TCU, and is currently the winningest coach for the Horned Frogs with 612 career wins, including a 42-28 record in postseason play. TCU is paced offensively by Evan Skoug, the Big 12 co-player of the year, who was the first TCU player to hit 20 home runs in a season since 1997.
The action kicks off tomorrow with Oregon State against Cal State Fullerton at 1 pm, followed by LSU taking on Florida State at 7 pm. MavRadio will provide live updates via social media and recaps following the conclusion of each game.