The 2010 College World Series will mark the last time the event will be held at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. For 61 years the ballpark was the site of college baseball’s biggest stage. The NCAA Tournament, for years dubbed the “Road to Omaha”, will need a new name next season.
Two finalists will advance from double-elimination and play a best-of-three series that starts on Monday, June 28. There are some familiar faces like Arizona State and Florida State, but there are also a lot of coaches and players that are new to Omaha.
Here is a look at the eight finalists in the 2010 College World Series:
Arizona State (52-8) +160
The Sun Devils are the favorite to win the College World Series at +160. They are the team with the most College World Series Champions out of all the teams participating in this year’s series. They finished with a strong 52-8 record, and look to continue their success in their opener against Clemson Sunday.
Arizona State holds a 3-0 record in games against other CWS teams, beating UCLA three times. They are trying to become only the second No. 1 seed to win the tournament since its expansion to 64 teams in 1999. They rank in the Top 5 in the nation in the major pitching categories.
Second baseman Zack MacPhee is one of their most dangerous weapons on offense. He was selected Pac-10 player of the year and leads the country with 14 triples. Shortstop Drew Maggi provides speed on the base paths. He became the ninth player in school history with 20-plus stolen bases in consecutive seasons. Pitcher Jordan Swagerty set a single-season record for Arizona State with his 14 saves.
The school has several well known alumni including Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Andre Ethier, and Dustin Pedroia.
UCLA (48-14) +200
UCLA comes into the tournament with the best pitching out of the eight teams competing in the series. They are ranked second in the nation in ERA and hits allowed per nine innings pitched. They lead the nation in strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
The Bruins haven’t played in Omaha in over a decade, but their strong pitching will give them a shot at the title. They lost all three season meetings against Arizona State, and hope to turn their luck around in Omaha.
Starting pitchers Trevor Bauer (141) and Gerrit Cole (138) rank first and second in the Pac-10 in strikeouts. Second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla and left fielder will miss the World Series due to injuries. Rahmatulla broke his wrist during celebrations after the Bruins’ super regionals win.
Well known alumni of the school include Jackie Robinson, Troy Glaus, and Chase Utley.
Florida (47-15) +400
The Gators don’t rank high in the most important pitching statistics, and they haven’t put up top offensive numbers either. However, they are at the head of the pack in a very important statistic. The last eight CWS champions have ranked in the top 26 in fielding percentage, and Florida is No. 5 in the nation in that category.
Florida is 3-4 this season against other CWS teams. They hold a 2-1 record against South Carolina and a 1-3 record against Florida State. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan was named SEC coach of the year.
Center fielder Matt den Dekker provides power as well as speed. He is the 10th player in Florida’s history to record 20-plus homeruns, 100-plus RBIs, and 30-plus steals in a season.
Well known Florida alumni include Robby Thompson, David Eckstein, and Mark Ellis.
Florida State (47-18) +500
The Seminoles will bank on their patient batters in the tournament. They come into the series ranked No. 1 in walks in the nation with 389 free passes. They are looking to win the first title in school history.
Left fielder Mike McGee is a true all-around talent. He has posted a .328 batting average with 15 homeruns and 68 RBIs as a left fielder. He also takes over as the team’s closer, recording a 4-0 record with a 1.37 ERA and 14 saves.
Center fielder Tyler Holt is looking to extend his streak of 193 consecutive starts. The Seminoles are only ranked 58th in the nation in fielding percentage at .971, but that number marks the third highest in school history. Florida State holds a 3-4 record against other CWS teams (3-1 vs. Florida, 0-3 vs. Clemson)
Well known alumni include Dick Howser, Deion Sanders, and J.D. Drew.
Oklahoma (49-15) +650
The Sooners are back in Omaha after a 15-year absence. They won the title in 1994. Oklahoma got off to a great start this season, winning 20 out of their first 22 games. They slowed down considerably after that, losing nine of the next 16. They have picked up the pace after that slump and posted a 22-5 record since.
Right-handed pitcher Bobby Shore transferred from Palomar Junior College, and quickly became the ace of the staff. He posted a 10-4 record with a 3.86 ERA. Oklahoma ranks 12th in the nation in fielding percentage at .976.
The Sooners have a great pitching staff and a solid bullpen. The combination of defense and pitching makes them a great pick at +650.
Well known alumni include Bobby Witt, Danny Jackson, and Dale Mitchell.
TCU (51-12) +1000
The Horned Frogs make their first appearance in Omaha. They take a strong 51-12 to the CWS. The school comes in with the best offensive numbers out of the CWS teams. They set school records for homeruns, batting average, and doubles. They are on pace to set a record for slugging percentage.
They are also up there in the pitching numbers and look like the best pick at +1000. Right-hander Steven Maxwell posted an 11-2 record with a 2.41 ERA. He was selected Mountain West pitcher of the year.
TCU faced Oklahoma twice and lost both meetings. They didn’t play any of the other CWS teams in the 2010 season.
Well known alumni include Jim Busby, Tex Carleton, and Jeff Zimmerman.
Clemson (43-23) +1000
Clemson is the top offensive team in the field. They are at the top of the CWS teams with 8.8 runs per game. They’re third in the nation in walks and third among CWS teams in steals. What the Tigers have in offense, they lack in pitching and defense.
They find themselves at the bottom of the pack in ERA, strikeouts per nine innings, and allowed per nine innings. They also have by far the lowest fielding percentage out of the CWS teams at .963. Having the weakest defense and pitching is not a good combination, and while their offense could win them a couple of games, they will have a hard time making a deep run.
They do, however, hold a 5-1 record against other CWS teams. They are 2-1 against South Carolina and 3-0 against Florida State.
Well known alumni include Jimmy Key, Kris Benson, and Khalil Greene.
South Carolina (48-15) +1000
South Carolina is in the middle of the pack in all categories. They have shown some power and rank 25th in the nation in homeruns per game. They are definitely a running team, and recorded a measly stolen base average of 0.71 per game.
Their fielding percentage is ranked 17th in the nation. Their pitching is probably their biggest upside. They rank ninth in the nation in ERA (3.61), fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (9.0), and third in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (7.65).
The Gamecocks make their ninth appearance at the CWS, but have yet to win a title. Center fielder Jackie Bradley enters the game on a 16-game hitting streak. Third baseman lit up the Columbia Regional, hitting homeruns in all three games.
South Carolina is 2-4 against other CWS teams (1-2 vs. Florida and 1-2 vs. Clemson).
Well known alumni include Dave Hollins, Brian Roberts, and Mookie Wilson.