The first game Saturday has 52-10 Vanderbilt against 50-14 North Carolina. Vanderbilt advanced to Omaha by crushing Oregon St 11-1 and 9-3 in their super regional. North Carolina also swept the opponent Stanford in more closely contested 5-2 and 7-5 games.
The Vanderbilt Commodores are led by Head Coach Tim Corbin. Their top seven hitters are Jason Esposito (.357), Aaron Westlake (.353), Conrad Gregor (.350), Riley Reynolds (.346), Anthony Gomez (.343), Joel McKeithan (.333), and Tony Kemp (.325) with Westlake leading the team with 17 home runs followed by Esposito with nine. Their top four starting pitchers are Sonny Gray (12-3, 1.97 ERA), Grayson Garvin (13-1, 2.36) Taylor Hill (5-1, 2.84) and T.J. Pecoraro (7-0, 1.59) with Navery Moore being their closer with 11 saves. In the 2011 MLB draft they had an NCAA record 12 players selected: Gray (Oakland, 1st round), Garvin (Tampa Bay, 1st round supplemental), Esposito ( Baltimore, 2nd), Jack Armstrong (Houston, 3rd), Westlake (Detroit, 3rd), Correy Williams (Minnesota, 3rd), Hill (Washington, 6th), Mark Lamm (Atlanta, 6th), Curt Casali ( Detroit, 10th), Moore (Atlanta, 14th), Will Clinard (Minnesota, 30th), and Joe Loftus (Arizona, 46th).
The North Carolina Tar Heels are led by Head Coach Mike Fox. Their top seven hitters are Colin Moran (.335), Tommy Coyle (.318), Levi Michael (.300), Jesse Wierzbicki (.298), Jacob Stallings (.287), Ben Bunting (.278), and Chaz Frank (.278) with Moran leading the team in home runs with nine followed by Wierzbicki with seven. Their top four starting pitchers are Patrick Johnson (13-1, 2.27 ERA), Kent Emanuel (8-1, 2.55), Chris Munnelly (6-5, 4.11) and Cody Stiles (4-0, 2.43) with Michael Morin being their closer with 10 saves. In the MLB draft they had five players selected: Michael (Minnesota, 1st round), Greg Holt (Washington, 8th), Wierzbicki (Houston, 24th), Brett Moneyham (Washington, 38th), and Danny Sandbrink (San Francisco, 42nd).
The second game Saturday pits 49-17 Texas against 50-17 Florida. Texas fought their way to Omaha by besting Arizona State after losing 3-1 they won the last two 5-1 and 4-2. Florida battled past fellow SEC member Mississippi State by winning the first game 11-1, losing the second 4-3, and winning the final 8-6.
The Texas Longhorns are led by Head Coach Augie Garrido. Their top seven hitters are Erich Weiss (.358), Brandon Loy (.344), Tant Shepherd (.305), Paul Montalbano (.279), Mark Payton (.269), Jonathan Walsh (.253), and Jordan Etier (.238) with Shepherd leading the team with five home runs followed by Weiss with four. Their top four starting pitchers are Taylor Jungmann (13-2, 1.38 ERA), Sam Stafford (6-2, 1.72), Cole Green (8-3, 3.03), and Hoby Milner (7-4, 2.53) with Corey Knebel being their closer with 19 saves. In the MLB draft they had eight players selected: Jungmann (Milwaukee, 1st round), Stafford (NY Yankees, 2nd), Loy (Detroit, 5th), Green (Cincinnati, 9th), Andrew McKirahan (Chicago Cubs, 21st), Shepherd (NY Mets, 24th), Austin Dicharry (Philadelphia, 41st) and Kevin Lusson (Tampa Bay, 45th).
The Florida Gators are led by Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan. Their top seven hitters are Mike Zunino (.376), Daniel Pigott (.339), Josh Adams (.329), Bryson Smith (.323), Preston Tucker (.314), Brian Johnson (.312), and Nolan Fontana (.301) with Zunino leading the team 18 home runs followed by Tucker with 14. Their top four starting pitchers are Hudson Randall (10-3, 2.29 ERA), Karsten Whitson (8-0, 2.45), Brian Johnson (8-3, 3.66) and Alex Panteliodis (6-2, 3.95) with Austin Maddox being their lead closer at five saves although others have shared that duty. In the MLB draft they had 11 players selected: Nick Maronde (LA Angels, 4th round), Anthony DeSclafani (Toronto, 6th), Panteliodis (NY Mets, 9th), Tommy Toledo (Milwaukee, 11th), Adams (Florida, 13th), Tucker (Colorado, 16th), Ben McMahan (Milwaukee, 23rd), Matt Campbell (Philadelphia, 24th), Greg Larson (LA Angels, 29th), Smith (Cincinnati, 34th) and Tyler Thompson (Washington, 46th).
The first game Sunday, June 19, has 37-21 California against 54-10 Virginia. California won their super regional by sweeping Dallas Baptist 7-0 and 6-2. Virginia took their series down to the wire against UC Irvine by winning the first game 6-0, losing the second 6-4, and winning the final in an exciting 3-2 game.
California Golden Bears are led by Head Coach David Esquer. Their top seven hitters are Tony Renda (.335), Austin Booker (.319), Chadd Krist (.304), Vince Bruno (.301), Devon Rodriguez (.288), Louie Lechich (.286), and Marcus Semien (.277) with Chad Bunting leading the team with seven home runs follwed by Semien and Rodriguez both with five. Their top four starting pitchers are Erik Johnson (7-4, 2.91 ERA), Justin Jones (9-6, 2.93), Dixon Anderson (4-3, 3.90) and Kevin Miller (6-4, 2.59) with Matt Flemer being the lead closer with five saves although others have shared the duty. In the MLB draft they had seven players selected: Johnson (Chicago White Sox, 2nd round), Semien (Chicago White Sox, 6th), Anderson (Washington, 9th), Krist (Chicago White Sox, 13th), Miller (Houston, 18th), Flemer (Kansas City, 19th) and Booker (Oakland, 33rd).
Virginia Cavaliers are led by Head Coach Brian O'Connor. Their top seven hitters are David Coleman (.366), John Hicks (.340), Steven Proscia (.335), Jared King (.333), Kenny Swab (.314), Chris Taylor (.310), and John Barr (.283) with Proscia leading the team with eight home runs followed by Hicks with seven. Their top four starting pitchers are Danny Hultzen (12-3, 1.49 ERA), Will Roberts (11-1, 1.58), Tyler Wilson (8-0, 2.29) and Cody Winiarski (6-3, 3.04) with Branden Kline being their closer with 17 saves. In the MLB draft they had eight players selected: Hultzen (Seattle, 1st round), Hicks (Seattle, 4th), Roberts (Cleveland, 5th), Proscia (Seattle, 7th), Wilson (Baltimore, 10th), Swab (Kansas City, 21st), Winiarski (Chicago White Sox, 36th) and Barr (Cleveland, 39th).
The second game Sunday showcases 47-20 Texas A&M against defending champion 50-14 South Carolina. Texas A&M won an exhausting two of three against Florida State by winning 6-2 in the first game, getting thumped 23-9 in the second and then winning a decisive 11-2 in the final. South Carolina swept Connecticut 5-1 and 8-2 to advance to Omaha.
Texas A&M Aggies are led by Head Coach Rob Childress. Their top seven hitters are Tyler Naquin (.390), Krey Bratsen (.335), Matt Juengel (.309), Jacob House (.303), Kenny Jackson (.279), Charlie Curl (.278) and Andrew Collazo (.277) with Juengel leading the team with seven home runs followed by Kevin Gonzalez and Adam Smith both with five. Their top four starting pitchers are Ross Stripling (14-2, 2.29 ERA), Michael Wacha (8-3, 2.10), John Stilson (5-2, 1.68), and Dylan Mendoza (3-2, 4.01) with Joaquin Hinojosa being their closer with eight saves. In the MLB draft they had eight players selected: Stilson (Toronto, 3rd round), Stripling (Colorado, 9th), Nick Fleece (Cincinnati, 13th), Smith (NY Yankees, 25th), Brandon Parrent (Chicago White Sox, 30th), Jackson (Florida, 31st), Gonzalez (Houston, 36th) and Steve Martin (Houston, 37th).
South Carolina Gamecocks are led by Head Coach Ray Tanner. Their top seven hitters are Christian Walker (.359), Scott Wingo (.338), Brady Thomas (.311), Evan Marzilli (.299), Robert Beary (.292), Adrian Morales (.286), and Jake Williams (.279) with Walker leading the team with 10 home runs followed by Jackie Bradley Jr. with six. Their top four starting pitchers are Michael Roth (13-3, 1.02 ERA), Forrest Koumas (6-1, 3.07), Colby Holmes (7-3, 3.78) and Steven Neff (3-1, 2.45) with Matt Price being their closer with 18 saves. In the MLB draft they had 11 players selected: Bradley (Boston, 1st round supplemental), Price (Arizona, 6th), Wingo (LA Dodgers, 11th), Peter Mooney (Toronto, 21st), John Taylor (Seattle, 22nd), Adam Matthews (Baltimore, 23rd), Bryan Harper (Washington, 30th), Michael Roth (Cleveland, 31st), Neff (San Francisco, 41st), Tyler Webb (Cincinnati, 48th) and Morales (Kansas City, 49th).
There are many intriguing stories CWS fans can watch unfold such as the more challenging bracket on Saturday. The Sunday bracket includes the top ranked team in Virginia as well as the defending champion South Carolina. Two coaches also have local ties to Omaha with Brian O'Connor being born in Omaha and played at Creighton University while Rob Childress had been an assistant down the road at University of Nebraska-Lincoln when they made three trips to the CWS. Then again there is the story of it being the first year at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Those back stories only enhance the games that will be played between these extremely talented teams.
- population-we™ blog post by John Bohan
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