Friday, June 15, 2007

Breaking Down the College World Series

Friday's Frat Boy News Daily Sports Page

College World Series (compiled by

A team by team breakdown of the 2007 College World Series:


CWS history: This is the 20th appearance for the Sun Devils, who have won five national championships.

Outlook: ASU has several things in its favor here. The Sun Devils are in the weaker bracket, they have the most starting pitching depth and a solid closer, and they lead the nation in fielding percentage (.978), team batting average (.350) and runs per game (9.5). Other than that ... .

You should know: Since the major league draft began in 1965, Arizona State has had more players selected (352), more first-round picks (22) and more No. 1 overall selections (3 -- outfielder Rick Monday in 1965, pitcher Floyd Bannister in 1976 and third baseman Bob Horner in 1978) than any school in the nation.

RICE (54-12)

CWS history: This is the sixth appearance (fourth in six years) for the Owls, whose 2003 title was the school's first national championship in any sport.

Outlook: Rice can expect to reach the championship series if it continues to dominate on the mound. The Owls' pitching staff ranks No. 4 in the nation with a 2.83 ERA.

You should know: Rice had more players drafted (13) than any other team to reach Omaha. Cal State Fullerton (10) was second. 1B/LHP Joe Savery is the highest-drafted player here, going in the first round (19th overall pick) to Philadelphia.


CWS history: The Tar Heels, who lost to Oregon State in last year's championship series, return for the second straight year and sixth time overall.

Outlook: North Carolina lost two of its top starters from last year's team -- lefthander Andrew Miller is already in the majors with Detroit -- but the Tar Heels are again strong on the mound and will go as far as their pitching takes them.

You should know: North Carolina coach Mike Fox is one of only 10 to reach the CWS as both a player and head coach. Fox was a second baseman on the Tar Heels' 1978 CWS team.


CWS history: This is the third straight trip (fourth overall) for the Beavers, the defending national champions.

Outlook: This Oregon State team isn't as talented as the two previous Beavers clubs, which says something about how far tradition can take a team. As resourceful as they've been, it doesn't appear the Beavers have the offense to stay with some of the other teams here.

You should know: Oregon State doesn't beat itself. The Beavers did not commit an error in 31 of their games this season and committed one error or fewer in 48 of their 61 games.


CWS history: This is the 15th appearance for the Titans, whose four national championships (1979, '84, '95, '04) all have come in different decades.

Outlook: Like Oregon State, the Titans return to Omaha more on will than sheer talent. Fullerton appears a little too shy in both hitting and pitching to go much past the weekend.

You should know: RHP Wes Roemer was the first of 10 Fullerton players selected in the draft, going in the supplemental first round (50th overall pick) to Arizona.


CWS history: This is the first appearance for the Cardinals, who had never won a postseason game before this season.

Outlook: First-timers are usually just happy to be here, but Louisville has the offense to stick around for a few games. The Cardinals have power (they are among the nation's leaders with 70 homers) and speed (they lead the nation with 153 stolen bases).

You should know: The last team to win the national championship in its first appearance was Minnesota in 1956. The last team to play for the championship in its first appearance was Georgia Tech in 1994.

UC IRVINE (45-15-1)

CWS history: This is the first trip to Omaha for the Anteaters, who had never won a postseason game before this year.

Outlook: Irvine does everything well, but not well enough to make much noise here. RHPs Scott Gorgen and Wes Etheridge could get the best of someone, but consider it a success if the Anteaters win one game.

You should know: This is all new to the Anteaters but not head coach Dave Serrano, who came to Omaha five times as pitching coach at Cal State Fullerton. Serrano won a ring with the Titans in 2004 just two weeks before taking over at Irvine.


CWS history: The Bulldogs are back for the first time since 1998 and the eighth time in school history.

Outlook: Quality pitching is essential here, and Mississippi State just doesn't have enough of it. The Bulldogs have plenty of guys who can throw, but they lack a top-level starter and have no clear-cut closer.

You should know: Big crowds at Rosenblatt Stadium won't phase the Bulldogs, who played before the largest crowds (13,715 and 12,620) in Super Regionals history last week in their two victories over visiting Clemson.

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