The college baseball postseason started with 64 teams playing for a chance to win it all. Last week, the field was cut down to 16 in the Super Regionals and now, the journey is complete as eight teams will make the trip to Omaha. The TCU Horned Frogs will be representing the Big 12 Conference this weekend and here are my four things to watch in the College World Series.
Can TCU Stay Hot?
I have said it a dozen times by now, but I believe that TCU is the hottest team in college baseball right now. It’s been a wild ride to get there because going into the month of May, TCU was 23-20. As a team, they were hitting .274 and had an ERA of 5.50. Since May 1st, TCU is 19-2 and hitting over .350 as a team with an ERA under 3.00. This team has won eleven games in a row and has no intention of slowing down. The pitching has improved, and their offense is electric with five players hitting over the .300 mark. In fact, their entire lineup is hitting the ball well. Watch out Omaha, Hypnotoad is coming.
Oral Roberts is For Real
Those who don’t follow college baseball closely may be wondering how a small school like Oral Roberts made it this far. Well, it is pretty simple: because they are a really good baseball team. For a while, they held the nation’s longest winning streak because they are one of the most consistent teams in college baseball. They get on base, and they are aggressive on the bases as well. Jonah Cox is hitting .420 right now which is insane. They have six guys in their lineup hitting over .296 and the one thing about this team is that they are just tough and gritty. They blew a big lead in game one against Oregon in the Super Regionals and came back to win back-to-back games on the road. Despite being the third four-seed ever to make it to the College World Series in the last 24 years, this team is no joke.
Can Wake Forest Break the Curse?
It’s been over 20 years since the number one overall seed won the College World Series. The 1999 Miami Hurricanes were the last team to do it and now Wake Forest has a chance to break that streak. I know that there have been some great college baseball teams over the years, and I can honestly say that Wake Forest is one of the best teams I have seen in a while.
From top to bottom, this team has the talent to win it all. In their Super Regional against Alabama, they scored 27 runs in two games and have outscored their opponents 75 to 16 in five postseason games which is the highest run differential of any team in NCAA postseason history. Their offense can outscore anyone with a dangerous lineup led by Nick Kurtz and Brock Wilken and a great rotation with All-Americans Sean Sullivan, Josh Hartle, and Rhett Lowder. Plus, they have great arms in their bullpen as well. I wasn’t kidding when I said this team has it all. They have been the best team in college baseball this season and it’s easy to see why.
The Field is Loaded
I have already mentioned two other teams besides TCU, but I cannot sleep on teams like Virginia, Florida, LSU, Stanford, or Tennessee. The Florida/Virginia game is going to be a great one on Friday night and so will the LSU/Tennessee game on Saturday. Those are like prized heavyweight fights because all four of those teams are talented enough to win a championship. I think Wake Forest may have gotten the better draw on the other side of the bracket with Stanford, but the Cardinal are no cakewalk.
However, TCU fans will be keeping an eye on that Florida/Virginia game because the Horned Frogs’ next opponent after Oral Roberts will be one of those two schools. I know it’s an obvious thing to say but it’s important for TCU to win that first game and get into the winner’s bracket. It will give them wiggle room because the last place you want to be is in the loser’s bracket and having to play either Florida or Virginia in an elimination game.