What You Need To Know About The 2019 CWS Field
Super regionals concluded Monday, and now we know which eight teams will this week travel to Omaha for the College World Series. With the field complete, let’s run through the teams still competing for the national championship.
Coach: Dave Van Horn
Path To Omaha: No. 1 seed in Fayetteville Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Texas Christian, 6-0, in regional final. Went 2-1 in Fayetteville Super Regional, defeating Mississippi.
Postseason History: 10th trip to Omaha (second consecutive). Seeking first national championship.
After last season’s heartbreaking ending in Omaha, Arkansas is back and determined to go home with the trophy. Ace Isaiah Campbell and closer Matt Cronin anchor the pitching staff. The Razorbacks have a deep, powerful offense that features five players who have hit at least 10 home runs this season. Arkansas is playing inspired baseball and is averaging 8.33 runs per game this postseason, though it will now trade the friendly confines of Baum Stadium for the spacious TD Ameritrade Park.
Coach: Butch Thompson
Path To Omaha: No. 2 seed in Atlanta Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Georgia Tech, 4-1, in regional final. Went 2-1 in Chapel Hill Super Regional, defeating North Carolina.
Postseason History: Fifth trip to Omaha (first since 1997). Seeking first national championship.
Auburn continues to overachieve in the postseason under Thompson and now is back in Omaha for the first time since 1997, snapping the third-longest drought in the SEC. The Tigers have overcome injuries and subpar seasons from some key players but have turned it on at just the right time and are playing with a lot of belief. The depth of the Tigers’ pitching staff has been hit hard this season, and ace Tanner Burns, a premium prospect in the 2020 draft, has been limited by soreness over the last month. Auburn’s lineup doesn’t look scary—no Tiger is hitting .300 nor has 10 home runs—but its been productive in the NCAA Tournament and is averaging 8.5 runs per game over the last two weeks.
Coach: Mike Martin
Path To Omaha: No. 3 seed in Athens Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Georgia, 10-1, in regional final. Went 2-0 in Baton Rouge Super Regional, defeating Louisiana State.
Postseason History: 23rd trip to Omaha (first since 2017). Seeking first national championship.
Most of college baseball will be rooting for Florida State this year because of the respect Martin has around the game. He is in his 40th and final season as head coach of his alma mater and is the winningest coach in NCAA history in any sport. But he has not won a national championship and now has just one chance left. Florida State was one of the last four teams to make the tournament field but has played more like a national championship contender than a bubble team in the NCAA Tournament, sweeping past Georgia and LSU to reach Omaha. The Seminoles have the look of a team of destiny, but how far that can carry them remains to be seen.
Coach: Dan McDonnell
Path To Omaha: No. 1 seed in Louisville Regional. Went 4-1, defeating Illinois State, 4-3, in regional final. Went 2-0 in Louisville Super Regional, defeating East Carolina.
Postseason History: Fifth trip to Omaha (first since 2017). Seeking first national championship.
Louisville got a scare in regionals but advanced out of the losers’ bracket and then blitzed East Carolina in super regionals to become the first team to punch its ticket to the CWS. The Cardinals outscored the Pirates 26-1 last weekend, a thoroughly comprehensive performance on the mound and at the plate. Louisville has the challenge of drawing Vanderbilt in its opening game in Omaha, but the Cardinals are plenty familiar with the Commodores as they play a midweek game every year in the Battle of the Barrel. Vanderbilt won that matchup this year, but Louisville won the three previous matchups.
Coach: Erik Bakich
Path To Omaha: No. 3 seed in Corvallis Regional. Went 3-1, defeating Creighton, 17-6, in regional final. Went 2-1 in Los Angeles Super Regional, defeating UCLA.
Postseason History: Eighth trip to Omaha (first since 1984). Seeking third national championship (first since 1962).
Like Florida State, Michigan was one of the last four teams into the NCAA Tournament and has made the most of the opportunity. Michigan last weekend pulled a stunning upset, beating UCLA twice at Jackie Robinson Stadium to eliminate the No. 1 overall seed. The Wolverines are the only team to win a series against the Bruins this season. Michigan is a young, athletic team that is playing with plenty of confidence, which, along with a stout rotation of Tommy Henry, Karl Kauffmann and Jeff Criswell, makes it a dangerous team this time of year.
Mike Fox Retires After 22 Years At UNC, Scott Forbes Named Successor
North Carolina on Friday announced Mike Fox retired after 22 seasons as head coach. Scott Forbes, Fox’s longtime assistant, has been promoted to head coach.
Coach: Chris Lemonis
Path To Omaha: No. 1 seed in Starkville Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Miami, 5-2, in regional final. Went 2-0 in Starkville Super Regional, defeating Stanford.
Postseason History: Eleventh trip to Omaha (second consecutive). Seeking first national championship.
Last year’s team of destiny, Mississippi State went on a magical NCAA Tournament run that ended in the final four with a pair of losses to eventual national champion Oregon State. Now, the Bulldogs are back and they have their sights firmly set on the first national championship in program history. Anchored by senior center fielder Jake Mangum, who ranks fifth all-time in Division I history with 378 career hits, and redshirt junior lefthander Ethan Small, the SEC pitcher of the year, the Bulldogs combine experience with star power.
Coach: Tim Tadlock
Path To Omaha: No. 1 seed in Lubbock Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Dallas Baptist, 3-0, in regional final. Went 2-1 in Lubbock Super Regional, defeating Oklahoma State.
Postseason History: Fourth trip to Omaha (second consecutive). Seeking first national championship.
Back in Omaha for the fourth time in six years after having never been before in program history, Texas Tech is hoping for a longer stay. The Red Raiders have won one game in each of their last two trips but have a chance to make more noise this year. Shortstop Josh Jung, the co-Big 12 player of the year, and first baseman Cameron Warren anchor a strong lineup, and freshman Micah Dallas has emerged as a reliable starter at the front of the rotation to go with a deep bullpen. The Big 12 champions will be a tough out for anyone in Omaha.
Coach: Tim Corbin
Path To Omaha: No. 1 seed in Nashville Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Indiana State, 12-1, in regional final. Went 2-1 in Nashville Super Regional, defeating Duke.
Postseason History: Fourth trip to Omaha (first since 2015). Seeking second national championship (first since 2014).
With UCLA out, No. 2 overall seed Vanderbilt comes to the CWS as the highest remaining seed in the field. The Commodores have already put together a special season, winning both the SEC regular season and tournament titles, and their 54 wins are the most in the country. They got a wakeup call in the first game of super regionals against Duke but responded exceptionally well. Freshman righthander Kumar Rocker introduced himself to the sports world with a no-hitter in Game 2, the first ever no-hitter in super regionals, and the Commodores left no doubt with a Game 3 rout. They enter the CWS as favorites thanks to a dynamic lineup and a deep pitching staff.