College world series preview

Devils Digest's Andrew Gruman previews the field of eight teams that will compete in the 2010 college world series.

Bracket One

#3 Florida Gators

Record: 47-14, 22-8 Southeastern Conference (Eastern Division Champions)

Head Coach: Kevin O'Sullivan (3rd Season at UF, 123-60, 3rd overall)

Top Hitters:

Austin Maddox .333 17 HR 71 RBI

Matt den Dekker .358 13 HR 49 RBI

Preston Tucker .339 11 HR 46 RBI

Starting Pitchers:

Hudson Randall 8-3 2.95 ERA 94.2 IP

Alex Panteliodis 11-2 3.26 ERA 96.2 IP (pictured)

Brian Johnson 6-4 3.97 ERA 70.1 IP

Top Relievers:

Kevin Chapman 3-0 1.48 ERA 42.2 IP 11 saves

Jeff Barfield 4-0 3.31 ERA 35.1 IP

About the Gators:

The overall numbers won't blow you away, but the Gators are loaded with talent and are the favorites to win their bracket.

UF has the lowest team batting average and have scored the fewest runs of any team at the CWS, but that doesn't mean that the Gators can't hit. SEC Freshman of the Year Austin Maddox, senior Matt den Dekker and sophomore Preston Tucker present a very tough middle of the UF lineup.

The Gators draw UCLA first, for what should be the best opening game matchup. The Gators will have to match whichever one of the three aces that UCLA could throw out there on Saturday.

UF's pitching staff has been very good during the postseason and it gets great defense behind it. Kevin O'Connor will have the option of starting either lefty Alex Panteliodis or righty Hudson Randall in game one. For UF to win the National Championship, it will need its streaky offense to hit a hot spell and have its young pitching staff not feel the pressure of the big stage.

#6 UCLA Bruins

Record: 48-14, 18-9 Pacific-10 Conference (2nd place)

Head Coach: John Savage (6th Season at UCLA, 189-164, 9th overall, 277-248)

Top Hitters:

Dean Espy .353 8 HR 48 RBI

Tyler Rahmatulla .328 7 HR 45 RBI (Injured)

Cody Regis .317 8 HR 42 RBI

Starting Pitchers:

Gerrit Cole 10-3 3.25 ERA 108 IP (pictured)

Trevor Bauer 10-3 3.02 ERA 116.1 IP

Rob Rasmussen 11-2 2.73 ERA 99 IP

Top Relievers:

Dan Klein 6-0 1.93 ERA 46.2 IP 9 saves

Garett Claypool 8-3 2.05 ERA 79 IP

Erik Goeddel 2-0 3.26 ERA 47 IP

About the Bruins:

UCLA enters Omaha with the most talented and deepest pitching staff in the country. Coach John Savage has three very talented starting pitchers and that sets up well for success in the CWS. Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer and Rob Rasmussen all have tremendous talent and are battle tested.

The Bruins wouldn't be in Omaha without second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla. Down to their last strike, Rahmatulla blasted a two-run home run to keep UCLA's season alive. However, the sophomore won't be playing in Omaha because of a broken wrist he suffered in the celebration after UCLA clinched a berth in the CWS.

Rahmatulla's injury will certainly hurt, the Bruins aren't a powerhouse offensive team and he was one of their most consistent bats all season long. UCLA doesn't hit home runs and it will have to rely on small ball to keep up with some of high powered offenses in Omaha.

For UCLA to be successful, its pitching has to be good. If the staff falters, the Bruins don't have the offensive fire power to win it all. But, if UCLA gets its normal pitching, it can take home the trophy.

TCU Horned Frogs

Record: 51-12, 19-5 Mountain West Conference (Champions)

Head Coach: Jim Schlossnagle (7th year at TCU, 301-129, 9th overall, 378-176)

Top Hitters:

Matt Curry .346 17 HR 60 RBI

Jason Coats .373 13 HR 66 RBI

Bryan Holaday .350 13 HR 48 RBI

Starting Pitchers:

Matt Purke 14-0 3.23 ERA 103 IP

Steven Maxwell 11-2 2.41 ERA 100.2 IP

Kyle Winkler 12-1 2.84 ERA 114 IP

Top Relievers:

Tyler Lockwood 6-2 1.97 ERA 59.1 IP 7 saves

Paul Gerrish 1-3 4.57 ERA 45.1 IP

Trent Appleby 3-1 4.70 ERA 38.1 IP

About the Horned Frogs:

The team that is flying under the radar is the TCU Horned Frogs. Fresh off an upset of Texas in the Super Regional, TCU is ready to make some more noise in the CWS.

Fans that have watched the Horned Frogs all season long know that the upset over UT really wasn't that huge of an upset. TCU can play ball.

The Horned Frogs enter Omaha with the highest batting average in the field and only Clemson has scored more runs than the Horned Frogs. The starting pitching is equally as good with Mountain West pitcher of the year Steven Maxwell and one of the top freshman arms in the nation in Matt Purke.

TCU draws Florida St. in its opener, which could be a good matchup for the Horned Frogs. FSU doesn't have a whole lot of pitching, so with a good outing from Purke or Maxwell, TCU should find itself in the winners' bracket.

The major question mark for TCU will be its inexperience on this stage. This is the program's first trip to Omaha, so there will be a bit of nerves and excitement going into Saturday's game. If the Horned Frogs get over the butterflies and inexperience early, they are a very dangerous team.

Florida St. Seminoles

Record: 47-18, 18-12 Atlantic Coast Conference (Atlantic Division Co-Champions)

Head Coach: Mike Martin (31st Season at FSU, 1626-556, 31st Overall)

Top Hitters:

Mike McGee .328 15 HR 68 RBI

Tyler Holt .352 12 HR 46 RBI (pictured)

Sherman Johnson .332 9 HR 57 RBI

Starting Pitchers:

Sean Gilmartin 9-7 4.89 ERA 108.2 IP

Brian Busch 5-2 3.97 ERA 77 IP

Geoff Parker 4-1 4.85 ERA 78 IP

Top Relievers:

Mike McGee 4-0 1.37 ERA 26.1 IP 12 saves

Daniel Bennett 5-1 3.22 ERA 36.1 IP

About the Seminoles:

The Seminoles are a talented ballclub, but have struggled to put it all together consistently.

FSU is second to last in both ERA and batting average of the teams in Omaha and will have to get a tremendous effort from its pitching staff to contend for a title.

Sophomore Sean Gilmartin had a good first season for coach Mike Martin, but has not had a great follow up season. He will likely get the task of trying to slow down a red hot TCU lineup.

FSU's lineup has some fire power and is playing well right now. Tyler Holt is a sparkplug at the leadoff spot for the Seminoles and is one of the most complete players in the field.

A lot of this team has been to the CWS before and experience matters a lot in Omaha. That should be an advantage for FSU.

History has shown that you can't win in Omaha without good pitching and right now, FSU hasn't show that they even have a top guy to go out and get that first win. FSU must pitch to win game one, it just doesn't have enough to fight out of the loser's bracket.

Bracket Two

#1 Arizona State Sun Devils

Record: 52-8, 20-7 Pacific-10 Conference (Champions)

Head Coach: Tim Esmay (1st Season at ASU, 52-8, 9th overall, 265-243)

Top Hitters:

Riccio Torrez .399 10 HR 53 RBI

Zack MacPhee .394 9 HR 64 RBI

Kole Calhoun .327 17 HR 59 RBI

Starting Pitchers:

Seth Blair 12-0 3.35 ERA 102 IP

Merrill Kelly 10-2 3.57 ERA 98.1 IP (pictured)

Jake Borup 11-1 4.08 ERA 81.2 IP

Top Relievers:

Mitchell Lambson 8-2 2.10 ERA 68.2 IP

Jordan Swagerty 2-0 2.06 ERA 35 IP 14 saves

Brady Rodgers 4-3 2.03 ERA 71 IP

About the Sun Devils:

The storybook season continued for ASU in the Super Regional against Arkansas, winning two hard fought ballgames to advance.

The Sun Devils have showed that they have the togetherness, heart and fight of champions and mixed with tremendous talent is a dangerous combination. That is what makes ASU the favorite to win the National Championship.

Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and All-American Seth Blair will need to bounce back in Sunday's opener, after a bit of a rough start against Arkansas. He will have to be on his game to master a very talented Clemson offense.

ASU also bolsters a lot of CWS playing experience on its roster. A lot of the Sun Devils that will be counted on to contribute played at Rosenblatt Stadium last year. Since 1992, only Fresno St. in 2008 has won the CWS without any previous World Series experience.

They also have seen Clemson's likely starting pitcher for game one. ASU got Casey Harman for 10 hits and four runs in 5.2 innings in last year's Super Regional.

Clemson Tigers

Record: 43-23, 18-12 Atlantic Coast Conference (Atlantic Division Co-Champs)

Head Coach: Jack Leggett (17th season at Clemson, 767-354, 31st overall, 1,144-644)

Top Hitters:

Kyle Parker .353 20 HR 64 RBI

John Hinson .345 17 HR 72 RBI (pictured)

Jeff Schaus .328 15 HR 85 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Casey Harman 7-3 3.73 ERA 108.2 IP

Scott Wiseman 8-2 5.09 ERA 92 IP

Dominic Leone 3-1 4.39 ERA 55.1 IP

Top Relievers:

Alex Frederick 7-2 3.90 ERA 57.2 IP

Will Lamb 4-4 4.93 ERA 49.1 IP

About the Tigers:

The way Clemson has been hitting as of late, it can put runs on the board against any pitcher in the nation.

Every pitch that Alabama left over the plate was pummeled by the Tigers' bats. Clemson has knocked out 93 home runs, scored the most runs of any team in Omaha and are second to only ASU in stolen bases. It is a dynamic offense that can beat you in a lot of ways.

While Clemson can put runs on the board, its major question is what to expect on the mound and in the field. Clemson does not pitch well and does not play good defense, which is why they are 9-16 in games decided by two runs or less.

The Tigers need Casey Harman to step up in game one to hold down the ASU offense, because falling into the losers' bracket would be a tough with a CWS worst 4.72 ERA. While offense is important, four of the last five national champions have had team ERA's ranked in the top-11 nationally.

While Clemson may not have CWS experience from its players, coach Jack Leggett will be coaching in his sixth. Leggett is one of the best in the business and knows how to manage in Omaha.

Oklahoma Sooners

Record: 49-16, 15-10 Big 12 Conference (2nd place)

Head Coach: Sunny Golloway (6th season at OU, 219-114, 14th overall, 554-270)

Top Hitters:

Garrett Buechele .371 16 HR 64 RBI

Cameron Seitzer .311 15 HR 52 RBI (pictured)

Max White .307 15 HR 43 RBI

Starting Pitchers:

Bobby Shore 10-4 3.86 ERA 91 IP

Zach Neal 8-3 4.65 ERA 98.2 IP

Michael Rocha 7-2 3.57 ERA 68 IP

Top Relievers:

Ryan Duke 3-1 3.41 ERA 34.1 IP 11 saves

Jeremy Erben 7-1 3.65 ERA 69 IP 5 saves

About the Sooners:

Oklahoma enters the CWS playing its best baseball of the season and is fresh off an upset over Virginia in the Super Regional.

The Sooners are dangerous at the plate, blasting a CWS best 100 home runs this season. On the flip side, OU's pitching staff doesn't give up a lot of long balls. That is a good combination at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Like Clemson, we know OU can hit, but is its pitching capable of making a deep run? Bobby Shore will be very important to the Sooners chances, as will closer Ryan Duke.

Coach Sunny Golloway is making his first trip to the CWS with a group that has not been on this stage before that could hurt the Sooners. Pitching and settling nerves is key to OU's success.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Record: 48-15, 21-9 Southeastern Conference (2nd Place in Eastern Division) Head Coach: Ray Tanner (14th season at USC, 626-280, 23rd overall, 1,021-453) Top Hitters:

Jackie Bradley Jr. .371 11 HR 51 RBI

Whit Merrifield .327 12 HR 38 RBI

Adrian Morales .286 8 HR 52 RBI

Starting Pitchers:

Blake Cooper 12-1 2.81 ERA 118.1 IP (pictured)

Sam Dyson 5-5 4.35 ERA 89 IP

Jay Brown 3-0 4.44 ERA 50.2 IP

Top Relievers:

Matt Price 3-1 2.54 ERA 46 IP 10 saves

Jose Mata 7-1 2.34 ERA 42.1 IP

Michael Roth 1-1 1.50 ERA 24 IP

About the Gamecocks:

South Carolina has flown under the radar as well, but the Gamecocks are a serious threat to win the title. USC puts the ball in play a lot and hits a lot of home runs, which is a rare combination.

Blake Cooper is one of the best pitchers in the nation and he will give USC an advantage in its opening game against Oklahoma.

The Gamecocks have been very inconsistent this season and have gone through lulls at the plate and on the mound. Right now they are playing good baseball, but one of those dry spells would kill them in Omaha.

College World Series Schedule (All times AZ Time):

Bracket One: TCU, Florida St., UCLA, Florida

Saturday, June 19th

Game One: TCU vs. Florida St. 11 AM ESPN

Game Two: Florida vs. UCLA 4 PM ESPN

Monday, June 21st

Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 1:30 PM ESPN2

Game 6: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 6PM ESPN2

Wednesday, June 23rd

Game 9: Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6 4PM ESPN2

Friday, June 25th

Game 11: Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 9 1:30 PM ESPN2

Saturday, June 26th

Game 13: Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 9 1PM or 4PM ESPN (If Necessary)

Bracket Two: ASU, Clemson, Oklahoma, South Carolina

Sunday, June 20th

Game 3: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina 11 AM ESPN

Game 4: ASU vs. Clemson 4PM ESPN2

Tuesday, June 22nd

Game 7: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser 1:30 PM ESPN2

Game 8: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner 6PM ESPN2

Thursday, June 24th

Game 10: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Loser 4PM ESPN2

Friday, June 25th

Game 12: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner 6PM ESPN2

Saturday, June 26th

Game 14: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner 4PM ESPN (If Necessary)

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Game 1: Monday, June 28th 4:30PM ESPN

Game 2: Tuesday, June 29th 4:30PM ESPN

Game 3: Wednesday, June 30th 4:30PM ESPN (If Necessary)


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