Image credit: Outfielder Trevor Larnach of the Oregon State Beavers reacts after hitting a two run home run to give the Beavers a 5-3 lead in the ninth inning against the Arkansas Razorbacks during game two of the College World Series Championship Series. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, college baseball is on hold, and very likely, canceled for the rest of the 2020 season.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to go without watching college baseball altogether, as there exists a treasure trove of old games out there on YouTube right now, everything from all-time great College World Series contests to run-of-the-mill regular season games.
Here are 10 games to help you get through a spring without the sport.
1996 College World Series Championship—Louisiana State vs. Miami
One of the most famous games in college baseball history, complete with the single moment most replayed in CWS highlight packages, is available to watch.
At the risk of putting a spoiler out there, this video comes with a trigger warning for Miami fans. Oh, and just a hunch, the pick to click is LSU’s Warren Morris.
For anyone relatively new to college baseball who wants a quick infusion of the sport’s history or for someone who just wants to relive a great moment in college baseball, this is a great place to start.
1995 College World Series Championship—Cal State Fullerton vs. Southern California
This championship game has everything. It has two great coaches in Fullerton’s Augie Garrido and USC’s Mike Gillespie, who was making his first trip to Omaha as Trojans’ coach. It has one of the very best college baseball players of all-time in Titans’ two-way star Mark Kotsay.
And it has lots of names you probably recognize, like Fullerton’s Kotsay and Jeremy Giambi, and USC’s Geoff Jenkins, Jacque Jones and Gabe Alvarez, who is currently an assistant in the program.
Come for the star-studded lineups. Stay for the old-school ping of the bat and the shots of the retro version of Rosenblatt Stadium.
1994 College World Series Championship—Oklahoma vs. Georgia Tech
This one is worth your time for a couple of reasons.
For one, it’s a CWS game from the mid-90s, just like the previous two, and those are hard to come by. Unlike MLB, which has games from bygone eras readily available for viewing in a number of places, that’s not as much the case with college baseball.
But the bigger reason is that these two teams were packed with future big leaguers, including Oklahoma’s Russ Ortiz and Mark Redman, and the Georgia Tech superstar duo of Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek.
2018 College World Series Finals Game 2—Oregon State vs. Arkansas
The 2018 CWS championship series was an instant classic. All three games had jaw-dropping moments, but none more so than Game 2, when Arkansas was on the cusp of its first national championship before things took a sharp turn.
Oregon State fans will enjoy reliving this game because it was a turning point in that series, and Arkansas fans, well, you can celebrate that fifth-inning rally that gave your team the lead and go into the final inning knowing exactly when to avert your eyes.
2005 College World Series—Texas vs. Baylor
Texas, under Augie Garrido, was at the peak of its powers in 2005. On this particular team, future MLB players Drew Stubbs and Taylor Teagarden led the offense and closer J. Brent Cox was as good as anyone at the back end of the bullpen.
This was also the peak of Baylor under coach Steve Smith, who is now the coach at Tennessee Tech. The Bears weren’t as loaded with future pros as the Longhorns were, but they boasted a great collection of college players, led by catcher Josh Ford, infielder Michael Griffin and righthander Mark McCormick.
To really make this game a must-watch, it also provides an outstanding finish.
2000 College World Series—Louisiana-Lafayette vs. San Jose State
This is a great matchup of two CWS Cinderellas.
The Spartans were nothing if not a traditional underdog in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. They came out of the Waco Regional as a No. 3 seed, and then took on the No. 5 national seed Houston in a super regional at Cougar Field, winning the deciding third game of the series, 3-2.
The Cajuns getting to Omaha might not sound strange now, because they went on to become consistent winners under the late Tony Robichaux, but this was their first big national breakthrough. For local fans in Omaha who make a habit of supporting the underdogs in each CWS, no matter who that may be, they had two viable choices in this game.
2006 Lincoln Regional—Manhattan vs. Nebraska
The biggest thing to watch in this game is the pitching performance of Manhattan lefthander Chris Cody, because it was masterful. As things progress, you can almost hear the air going out of Haymarket Park with each passing inning.
This was also a fairly loaded Cornhuskers team, what with the presence of a handful of future big leaguers on the roster, led by righthander Joba Chamberlain and lefthander Tony Watson. They were also coming off of having been to the CWS in 2005 with a team headlined by Alex Gordon.
At the time, it felt like Nebraska was really rolling, but in hindsight, this game can be looked at as the end of an era for the program. It’s the last time the Huskers have hosted and it came at the end of a stretch when they had gone to Omaha three times since 2000 and had grown accustomed to playing at home in June.
2018 Oxford Regional—Tennessee Tech vs. Mississippi
This game is the culmination of one of the best stories in college baseball – the dominance of Tennessee Tech during the regular season that led to an underdog run all the way to a super regional.
It’s hard not to feel two different ways about this game. On one hand, TTU was a great story and a legitimate juggernaut, and it deserves to be celebrated. But on the other hand, this was a really good, likable Ole Miss team that had a deep postseason run in them had things gone their way.
You add that all up and you have the makings of a great regional final.
2013 Raleigh Super Regional—North Carolina State vs. Rice
If you’re looking for a nice, long game that you can leave on for hours, this is your pick, as the Wolfpack and Owls go really late in Game 2 of this super regional.
However, there is more to this game than just its length. There are a lot of good college players on the field, and this was a particularly loaded NC State team. Hitting leadoff for the Pack, in fact, is none other than Trea Turner, and while he doesn’t appear in this game, Carlos Rodon was the ace of this NC State pitching staff.
2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic—Oklahoma vs. Louisiana State
Here’s one that you probably remember, because it happened just a few weeks ago in Houston.
On the final day of the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, the Sooners’ Dane Acker twirled a gem against the Tigers, which got an outstanding performance of their own from righthander A.J. Labas.
This one might hurt to watch again, Tigers fans, but the 1996 title game is on this list, too, so that feels fair.