College World Series participants set … almost

Yanks head into well-deserved off day with another win
Next stop ... Trenton

We’re still waiting on the winner of the Michigan-Oregon State Super Regional, which was delayed due to rain (rain in Oregon? You don’t say…), but otherwise 7 of the field of 8 is set for Omaha: Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Louisville, Mississippi State, Rice, UC Irvine and UNC. Oregon State leads their best-of-3 series 1-0 after the toughest of tough luck losses for Wolverine ace Zach Putnam, and will resume action with Game 2 today (Game 3 is tomorrow if needed).

I’m just not sure who to pick here. Rice seems like a good bet to make a run, but their pitching isn’t all that great right now, and “moment of truth” guy Cole St. Clair has been merely good, not lights out like before his shoulder injury. Louisville’s got some serious momentum (they obliterated Oklahoma State 20-2 in the Super Regional finale) and the underdog tag working in their favor, but I can’t see this team going the distance; there’s just not enough experience, especially with a first year coach. Miss. State will probably go 2-and-out in the double elimination tourney, and I’d say the same for Fullerton, but I think they’ll squeeze out a win in whatever game Wes Roemer pitches.

I’m not sleeping on UC Irvine, they’ve got some fantastic pitching, but no experience in Omaha, which is a great separator of pretenders and contenders. Arizona State could make a deep run, but if they run into a couple of good arms they’ll be toast; that team wins 95% of the time by bludgeoning sub-par pitching. UNC is probably best suited to make a run, it’s essentially the same team as last year, with Alex White and Luke Putkonen more than just filling in for the departed Andrew Miller and Dan Bard. Plus de facto ace Rob Woodard just does not lose, dude’s 33-5 in his college career. 

Okay, so my official pick is UNC sweeping UC Irvine in the Championship series. Here’s the updated brackets, and for the record, only 3 of my picks for the field of 8 made it.

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Yanks head into well-deserved off day with another win
Next stop ... Trenton