College Podcast: Recapping The College World Series
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, presented by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy recap the College World Series and put a bow on the 2021 season.
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Among the topics discussed at length on this episode are:
- The CWS finals, which resulted in Mississippi State winning the national title with a 9-0 win over Vanderbilt in game 3. None of the three games were competitive on their own, as the Commodores won comfortably in the first game behind Jack Leiter before getting blown out in each of the last two games, including with Kumar Rocker on the mound in the decider. The championship came at the end of a charmed CWS run for MSU that included a late comeback win over Virginia and a walk-off victory over Texas to advance to the finals one day after losing a game to the Longhorns that ended after 1:00 a.m. The Bulldogs were a resilient, tough team, and that, along with timely hitting and excellent pitching from Will Bednar, was enough.
- Overall thoughts on the CWS, including that a number of teams there this year look to be on the rise. You can certainly say that about Texas, Stanford and Arizona, which will likely have rosters capable of getting back to Omaha in 2022. Virginia had a more veteran team this season, but it will be dangerous again next season with the return of hitters Kyle Teel and Chris Newell, plus pitcher Nate Savino. Like the Cavaliers, Tennessee was a relatively veteran bunch in 2021, but there's little arguing that the arrow is pointing straight up for the overall trajectory of that program right now.
- The end of an era at Vanderbilt, with Leiter and Rocker both going into the draft this month. Though this feels like a very distinct era of baseball in Nashville, it's worth remembering that the pair were together for just two seasons, and one of those two seasons was cut short by the pandemic. Still, no matter how you look at it, their collective absences will leave massive holes to fill in the Vanderbilt rotation.
- Jason Dietrich, most recently the pitching coach at East Carolina, being named head coach at Cal State Fullerton, where he also served as the pitching coach from 2013-2016. Dietrich is thought of as one of the best pitching minds in college baseball, inspiring optimism that he can return the Titans' pitching staff to a place among the game's best. Because he coached at Fullerton but isn't a Fullerton lifer, necessarily, perhaps Dietrich will also be the right combination of being an outside-the-family hire that can steer a historic program in a new direction while knowing enough to understand the advantages and challenges the program has.