Field of Dreams is a reality for a select few in college baseball. The dust has settled and we now know who the Elite Eight are. There is only one goal left, the College World Series title. Now the fun begins.
Eight teams get a chance to step onto the field of historic Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. Only one walks away with the crown. Let’s take a look at the field.
The Sooners looked impressive against Virginia, winning the last two games to make it back to Omaha. Outfielder Cody Reine may be the hottest hitter going into the CWS, smacking 4 homers during super-regionals. Every one of those were moon shots. Cameron Seitzer seems to be regaining his hitting stroke. This team can make some noise if Garrett Buechele’s bat wakes up, which is showing signs it will.
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles are best described as a scrappy team. No names jump out at you but they know how to win. Closer Mike McGee got his 12th save in the clincher against Vanderbilt. Tyler Holt provides a spark to a FSU offense that slugged its way through a tough ACC.
The Gators won a trip to Omaha by getting past a sloppy Miami team. Pitcher Alex Panteleodis was strong against the Canes, striking out 12 in the deciding win. A place in history is also on the line for the Gators. Florida could become the only school besides Michigan to win national titles in football, basketball and baseball.
Arizona State Sun Devils
ASU is one of the premier college baseball programs around and the team to beat in the tourney. They know how to win and show it, proven during their series with Arkansas. Their hitters are disciplined and always seem to come up with the big hit, as Drew Maggi demonstrated with his 2-run homer in the 12th to close things out and send ASU to Omaha.
The Bruins are making their first trip to Omaha since 1997. They got past a very good Cal-State Fullerton team behind the 2-hit pitching performance by Rob Rasmussen. Lead-off hitter Beau Amaral is the straw that stirs the drink for the Bruins lineup. UCLA is trying to snap a 4-game losing streak at the CWS.
TCU Horned Frogs
The Frogs proved their worth by upsetting powerhouse Texas to make their first CWS trip in school history. What makes this team dangerous is the fact they have 3 aces in their starting rotation. Matt Purke, Steven Maxwell and Kyle Winkler can shut down strong hitting teams. This is a very good card to have.
The Tigers provided a scare against Alabama, but were able to beat the Crimson Tide to punch their ticket to the dance. Their offense can explode at any minute. The key is whether the pitching will keep opposing hitters from doing the same.
South Carolina Gamecocks
It looked bleak for South Carolina during Game 3 against Coastal Carolina after Lawton (OK) native Rico Noel hit a solo homer in the 1st inning. But the Gamecocks answered back with a 3-run shot by Christian Walker in the 8th and won the game and the series. Never look past any team from the SEC.
What makes these June summer nights so magical is at this point any team can win. This year’s CWS will hold a special meaning in the hearts of baseball fans as it’s the last time the tourney will be played at the Rosenblatt Stadium we all know and love. A new and improved stadium will open up next year in Omaha.
The only question is which team will be left standing as the lights go down.
Written by C. James