Breaking down the CWS field
Eight teams set to battle for College World Series title
California Golden Bears (37-21)
Head Coach: Dave Esquer (353-311-2 in 12 seasons). As a player, Esquer was the starting shortstop on Stanford’s 1987 NCAA championship team.
CWS Appearances: 6 (1947, 1957, 1980, 1988, 1992, 2011). All-time CWS record is 10-6. The Bears went 0-2 in their last appearance in 1992, losing to Miami and Florida State.
National Titles: 2 (1947, 1957). The Bears won the first-ever College World Series in 1947, which was held in Kalamazoo, Mich. Cal returned to the CWS a decade later in Omaha and won the 1957 title.
Road to Omaha: The No. 3 seed in the Houston Regional, the Golden Bears overcame an opening loss to Baylor, and battled through the losers’ bracket, defeating Alcorn State and Rice to set up a regional championship game against Baylor. Cal defeated Baylor 8-0 in the first game, and then rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to win 9-8, and advance to Super Regionals. The Bears swept fellow No. 3 seed Dallas Baptist in two games in the Santa Clara Super Regional to secure a ticket to Omaha.
|June 3||Baylor 6, California 4||Box Score | Recap|
|June 4||California 10, Alcorn St. 6||Box Score | Recap|
|June 5||California 6, Rice 3||Box Score | Recap|
|June 5||California 8, Baylor 0||Box Score | Recap|
|June 6||California 9, Baylor 8||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 11||California 7, Dallas Baptist 0||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 12||California 6, Dallas Baptist 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: Cal posted double-digit hits in six of seven postseason contests, raising the team’s season average to .288. Sophomore second baseman Tony Renda, Pac-10 Player of the Year, sparks the Bears offensively with a .335 batting average, 14 doubles and 42 RBIs. Junior catcher Chadd Krist paces the Pac-10 with 25 doubles, while batting .306 with 40 RBIs. The Bears do not have a standout power hitter, but Chad Bunting tops team with seven homers on the season.
On the Mound: California fields one of the top pitching staffs in the nation, and heads to Omaha with a 2.84 ERA, which ranks 11th in Division I. The Bears have allowed just 7.68 hits per nine innings, which ranks ninth in the nation. Justin Jones (9-6, 2.93 ERA) and Erik Johnson (7-4, 2.91 ERA) provide a solid one-two punch in the starting rotation. Jones pitched six scoreless innings against Dallas Baptist in Super Regional action, while Johnson held the Patriots to two runs in his six-inning outing. Johnson is allowing just 5.68 hits per game, which ranks ninth nationally. Kyle Porter (5-0, 1.59 ERA) and Matt Flemer (4-2, 2.08 ERA, 5 saves) are strong out of the bullpen for the Bears.
Did You Know? Cal is the only team in the eight-team field that was not seeded No. 1 in its respective regional. The Bears were seeded No. 3 in the Houston Regional. They are the lowest regional seed to advance to the CWS since a fourth-seeded Fresno State squad not only earned a trip to Omaha, but captured the national title in 2008.
Florida Gators (50-17)
Head Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan (173-80 in 4 seasons). O’Sullivan has guided the Gators to back-to-back CWS appearances for the first time in program history.
CWS Appearances: 7 (1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011). All-time CWS record is 8-13. Highest finish was second in 2005.
Road to Omaha: After scoring 33 runs in three regional contests, including an 11-4 win against Miami in the championship game, the Gators looked as if they could do no wrong heading into the Super Regional round. Florida clobbered Mississippi State 11-1 in the first game of the series, and seemed to be on the way to Omaha until the Bulldogs belted a two-run, walk-off homer to win 4-3, evening the series at 1-1. In the deciding contest, the Gators rallied from a two-run deficit in the seventh inning to earn an eventual 8-6 victory and their second consecutive CWS berth.
|June 3||Florida 17, Manhattan 3||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 4||Florida 5, Miami (Fla.) 4||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 5||Florida 11, Miami (Fla.) 4||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 10||Florida 11, Mississippi St. 1||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 11||Mississippi St. 4, Florida 3||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 12||Florida 8, Mississippi St. 6||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: The Gators have belted double-digit hits in all six NCAA postseason games as they enter the CWS with a .311 season batting average. SEC Player of the Year Mike Zunino leads the Gators with a .376 batting average, 22 doubles, 18 home runs along with 66 RBIs, while Gainesville Regional MOP Preston Tucker is batting .314 with 14 homers and a team-leading 68 RBIs. Tucker hit .500 with 11 RBIs, six runs, three homers and three doubles in three regional contests earning the second Regional MOP of his career (he also claimed the honor in 2009). Senior second baseman Josh Adams is a solid contributor at the plate with a .329 batting average, six homers and 42 RBIs.
On the Mound: The Gators boast a solid group of starters beginning with freshman right-hander Karsten Whitson (8-0, 2.45 ERA), who was a first-round pick in last year’s MLB Draft. Sophomore RHP Hudson Randall (10-3, 2.29 ERA) and junior left-hander Alex Panteliodis (6-3, 3.95 ERA) round out the staff. Starting LHP Brian Johnson (8-3, 3.66 ERA) and closer Austin Maddox (2-0, 0.74 ERA, 5 saves) are both day-to-day with injuries, thinning out a deep Gator staff that owns a 3.01 ERA on the year, which ranks 20th in Division I. Florida leads the nation in walks allowed, issuing just 1.82 free passes per nine innings.
Did You Know? Senior second baseman Josh Adams has played in a school-record 248 games, while starting in a school-record 247 contests.
North Carolina Tar Heels (50-14)
Head Coach: Mike Fox (588-244-1 in 13 seasons at UNC). Fox, a second baseman on the 1978 Tar Heel squad that advanced to Omaha, is one of only six men to play and coach in the College World Series. He has either played or coached in all of North Carolina’s 14 CWS victories.
CWS Appearances: 9 (1960, 1966, 1978, 1989, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011). All-time CWS record is 14-17. Highest finish was second in 2006 and 2007.
Road to Omaha: The Tar Heels shut out Maine and James Madison in their first two regional contests, and capped the round with a 9-3 defeat of JMU to advance to Super Regionals for the sixth time. UNC then staved off a pesky Stanford squad, sweeping the Cardinal with 5-2 and 7-5 victories to notch its fifth trip to Omaha in the last six years.
|June 3||North Carolina 4, Maine 0||Box Score | Recap|
|June 4||North Carolina 14, James Madison 0||Box Score | Recap|
|June 5||North Carolina 9, James Madison 3||Box Score | Recap|
|June 10||North Carolina 5, Stanford 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 11||North Carolina 7, Stanford 5||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: The Tar Heels head to Omaha with a .289 batting average, and have drawn 340 walks on the year, which ranks second in Division I. Colin Moran, the ACC Rookie of the Year, sparks the Tar Heels offensively with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, nine homers and a league-leading 69 RBIs. Catcher Jacob Stallings compiled a team-high seven RBIs in the Super Regional, improving his total to 41 on the season. Shortstop Levi Michael is hitting .300 and is the team’s second-leading run producer with 48 RBIs. The Tar Heels are scoring 7.0 runs per game, good for 19th in the nation.
On the Mound: UNC lowered its team ERA to 3.26 after giving up just 10 runs in five NCAA postseason games. Patrick Johnson (13-1, 2.27 ERA) sets the pace for the Tar Heels’ staff with 120 strikeouts in 107.0 innings, while freshman Kent Emanuel (8-1, 2.55 ERA) became the first Tar Heel rookie to earn two postseason victories in program history. The Tar Heels are one of the top strikeout staffs in the nation with 9.1 per nine innings, and are backed up by a great defense that boasts a .979 fielding percentage, which ranks sixth in the nation.
Did You Know? Catcher Jacob Stallings is the son of Kevin Stallings, head men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt. The Tar Heels and Commodores face off in the first game of the 2011 College World Series.
South Carolina Gamecocks (50-14)
Head Coach: Ray Tanner (684-296 in 15 seasons at South Carolina; 1,079-469-3 career record). Tanner has led the Gamecocks to the CWS five times since 2002.
CWS Appearances: 10 (1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1985, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011). All-time CWS record is 23-17.
National Titles: 2010. The Gamecocks look to become the first back-to-back NCAA champion since Oregon State accomplished the feat in 2006-07.
Road to Omaha: South Carolina swept through both the Columbia Regional and Super Regional, outscoring foes 26-11, and allowing more than two runs once in five games. The Gamecocks came back from a 2-0 deficit in the second Super Regional game against Connecticut for an eventual 8-2 victory that sealed their second consecutive trip to Omaha.
|June 3||South Carolina 2, Ga. Southern 1||Box Score | Recap|
|June 4||South Carolina 11, Stetson 5||Box Score | Recap|
|June 6||South Carolina 8, Stetson 2||Box Score | Recap|
|June 11||South Carolina 5, Connecticut 1||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 12||South Carolina 8, Connecticut 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: South Carolina is batting .296 as a team with first baseman Christian Walker leading the Gamecocks in almost every offensive category, including a .359 batting average, 18 doubles, 10 home runs and 60 RBIs. Walker’s solo homer against UConn in the eighth inning of the second Super Regional contest was the eventual game-winning hit. The Gamecocks offer a balanced offensive attack with seven starters contributing 30 RBIs, but not more than 39 RBIs with the exception of Walker. Second baseman Scott Wingo (.338), the team’s second-leading hitter, ripped four hits in the Super Regional. Last year’s CWS Most Outstanding Player Jackie Bradley Jr. (.259, 6 HR, 26 RBIs) has not played for the Gamecocks since April 23 due to a wrist injury.
On the Mound: South Carolina boasts a 2.60 ERA entering the CWS after giving up just three runs in two Super Regional contests against UConn. Junior left-hander Michael Roth (13-3) ranks second in the nation with a 1.02 ERA after giving up just one unearned run in an 8.1 inning outing in a 5-1 win against UConn. Roth has not surrendered an earned run in his last four starts, a streak of 30.0 consecutive innings. Freshman right-handed reliever Matt Price picked up his 18th save of the season, and third in the postseason, after tossing two shutout innings in the second win against UConn to help the Gamecocks secure a CWS berth.
Did You Know? The Gamecocks have won 11 consecutive postseason games since opening last year’s College World Series with a loss to Oklahoma.
Texas Longhorns (49-17)
Head Coach: Augie Garrido (1,817-823-8 in 43 seasons, 15 at Texas). Garrido is the first coach to lead teams from two different schools to NCAA titles, mentoring Cal State Fullerton to crowns in 1979, 1984 and 1995, and then guiding Texas to championships in 2002 and 2005.
CWS Appearances: 34 (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1989, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2011). All-time record is 82-55.
National Titles: 6 (1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002, 2005).
Road to Omaha: The Longhorns’ 34th trip to the CWS did not come easy. Texas battled from the brink of elimination in regional action after losing to Kent State in the second game of the tournament. The Longhorns squeaked by Texas State 4-3 before defeating Kent State twice to advance to the Super Regional round. Texas then faced Pac-10 power Arizona State, losing to the Sun Devils 3-1 in the first game of the Super Regional before rebounding for 5-1 and 4-2 wins to return to Omaha for the first time since 2009.
|June 3||Texas 5, Princeton 3||Box Score | Recap|
|June 4||Kent St. 7, Texas 5||Box Score | Recap|
|June 5||Texas 4, Texas St. 3||Box Score | Recap|
|June 5||Texas 9, Kent St. 3||Box Score | Recap|
|June 6||Texas 5, Kent St. 0||Box Score | Recap|
|June 10||Arizona St. 3, Texas 1||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 11||Texas 5, Arizona St. 1||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 12||Texas 4, Arizona St. 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: Texas may not score a ton of runs, but the Longhorns’ small-ball style usually gets enough across the plate to help out their stellar defense and pitching staffs. Texas leads the nation with 109 sacrifice bunts, and is batting just .272, but has posted at least eight hits in its last six games. Third baseman Erich Weiss paces Texas with a .358 batting average and 44 RBIs, while first baseman Tant Shepard has contributed five homers and 40 RBIs. Shortstop Brandon Loy is batting .344 with a team-leading 19 stolen bases and 23 doubles.
On the Mound: Pitching is always one of the Longhorns’ strengths, and this season is no different as the Longhorns rank second in the nation with a 2.27 ERA. RHP Taylor Jungmann (13-2, 1.38 ERA), a first-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers, is the staff ace and has collected 123 strikeouts and five complete games. The Longhorns’ 5-0 win against Kent State in the regional championship was the team’s 13th shutout of the season – the most by a Texas team since 1975. RHP Cole Green (8-3, 3.03 ERA) and LHP Sam Stafford (6-2, 1.72 ERA) complete a starting rotation that rivals anyone in the nation. Corey Knebel is the Longhorns’ top reliever with a nation-leading 19 saves and a 1.15 ERA in 37 appearances.
Did You Know? Right-hander Corey Knebel garnered 2011 NCBWA Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors after setting a freshman school record with 19 saves for the Longhorns. Knebel, who has struck out 60 batters in 54.2 innings, is also a semifinalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award.
Texas A&M Aggies (46-20)
Head Coach: Rob Childress (245-133-2 in six seasons). Childress is making his first CWS appearance as a head coach. He was an assistant at Nebraska when the Huskers advanced to the CWS in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
CWS Appearances: 5 (1951, 1964, 1993, 1999, 2011). All-time CWS record is 2-8. Highest finish was tied for fifth place.
Road to Omaha: A couple of rain delays or even giving up 23 runs to Florida State could not keep the Aggies away from Omaha for the first time since 1999. Despite several hours of weather delays, Texas A&M claimed a regional championship with a shutout of Arizona on a Tuesday afternoon, and returned to the diamond in Tallahassee on Saturday to notch its first win against FSU. The Aggies then overcame a 23-9 loss to the Seminoles on Sunday, bouncing back to take an 11-2 victory to capture the Tallahassee Super Regional championship.
|June 3||Texas A&M 11, Wright St. 0||Box Score | Recap|
|June 4||Texas A&M 6, Seton Hall 3||Box Score | Recap|
|June 5||Arizona 7, Texas A&M 4||Box Score | Recap|
|June 7||Texas A&M 3, Arizona 0||Box Score | Recap|
|June 11||Texas A&M 6, Florida St. 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 12||Florida St. 23, Texas A&M 9||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 13||Texas A&M 11, Florida St. 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: Sophomore outfielder Tyler Naquin, the Big 12 Player of the Year and College Station Regional MOP, paces the Aggies with a league-leading .390 batting average and 65 runs scored, and has contributed 23 doubles and 44 RBIs on the season. Matt Juengel and Jacob House share the team lead with 49 RBIs apiece. The Aggies rank second in the nation with 29 triples, and have their fair share of sacrifice hits with 74, which ranks 11th in the nation. They are also aggressive on the base paths with 1.6 stolen bases per game.
On the Mound: Texas A&M enters the weekend with the 13th-best ERA in the nation at 2.88, and is allowing just 2.52 walks per game, which ranks 10th in Division I. The Aggies’ pitching staff is a man down after losing John Stilson (5-2, 1.68 ERA) to a torn labrum, but Michael Wacha (9-3, 2.12 ERA, 118 K) and Ross Stripling (14-2, 2.29 ERA) have been stellar in the postseason. Wacha has given up just two runs in 21.1 innings during three tournament starts. Stripling tossed a complete-game victory against Seton Hall in regional play, and then opened with a 6-2 win against FSU, striking out eight batters in seven innings.
Did You Know? The Aggies are averaging just 5.9 runs per game for the season, but have scored 7.54 runs per game in their last 11 contests, which has led to a Big 12 Championship and NCAA Regional and Super Regional titles.
Vanderbilt Commodores (52-10)
Head Coach: Tim Corbin (374-187 in seven seasons). Corbin is making his first appearance as a head coach in Omaha, but helped Clemson advance to the CWS four times (1995, 1996, 2000, 2002) during his nine-year tenure as an assistant coach for the Tigers.
CWS Appearances: First appearance.
Road to Omaha: With a three-game sweep in the Nashville Regional under their belts, the Commodores continued their dominant play against Oregon State in the Super Regional round, defeating the Beavers in two games by a combined score of 20-4. Vanderbilt outscored foes 46-7 in five NCAA postseason games en route to its’ first-ever College World Series berth.
|June 3||Vanderbilt 10, Belmont 0||Box Score | Recap|
|June 4||Vanderbilt 10, Troy 2||Box Score | Recap|
|June 5||Vanderbilt 6, Belmont 1||Box Score | Recap|
|June 10||Vanderbilt 11, Oregon St. 1||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 11||Vanderbilt 9, Oregon St. 3||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: Vanderbilt ranks fifth in the nation with a .319 team batting average as three players – Anthony Gomez (93), Esposito (90) and Aaron Westlake (83) – with 83 or more hits on the year. Esposito paces the Commodores with a .357 batting average, 22 doubles, nine homers and 59 RBIs. Westlake, who hit three homers in the second contest against OSU, ranks second in the SEC with 17 home runs and has driven in 54 runs. Five players have scored 55 runs or more on a squad that is averaging 7.1 runs per game, which ranks 14th in the nation.
On the Mound: Vanderbilt enters the weekend with a SEC-leading 2.38 ERA, the third-best in the nation. Right-hander Sonny Gray, a first-round MLB Draft pick by Oakland, is the staff ace with an 12-3 record and 1.97 ERA, while senior right-hander Taylor Hill (5-1, 2.84 ERA) is coming off a 13-strikeout, eight-inning performance that led the Commodores to a 6-1 win against Belmont in the regional championship. Junior lefty Grayson Garvin (13-1, 2.37 ERA) rounds out Vandy’s starting rotation. Reliever Navery Moore leads the team with 11 saves, and has compiled a 1.21 ERA in 28 appearances.
Did You Know? Aaron Westlake’s three home runs against Oregon State on June 12 was the first time a Vanderbilt player accomplished the feat in a single game since 1991.
Virginia Cavaliers (54-10)
Head Coach: Brian O’Connor (370-128-1 in eight seasons). O’Connor was a pitcher on Creighton’s 1991 College World Series team, and was an assistant coach for Notre Dame’s 2002 CWS squad.
CWS Appearances: 2 (2009, 2011). All-time CWS record is 1-2. Highest finish was tied for fifth place.
Road to Omaha: After cruising through the Charlottesville Regional by outscoring foes 29-3, and then blanking UC Irvine 7-0 in the first Super Regional contest, the Cavaliers looked like they were a lock for Omaha. But the Anteaters had no intentions of folding that easily, and took the second game by a score of 6-4 to force a winner-take-all game on Monday. The Cavaliers headed into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-1, and pulled off the comeback, keyed by Chris Taylor’s two-out, two-run single to send UVa to Omaha for the second time in three years.
|June 3||Virginia 6, Navy 0||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 4||Virginia 10, St. John's 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 5||Virginia 13, East Carolina 1||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 11||Virginia 6, UC Irvine 0||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 12||UC Irvine 6, Virginia 4||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
|June 13||Virginia 3, UC Irvine 2||Box Score | Recap | Highlights|
Batter Up: The Cavaliers are also a threat at the plate, batting .306 and scoring 7.1 runs per game on the season. Virginia has posted double-digit hits in five of six NCAA postseason contests. Third baseman Steven Proscia leads UVa with eight homers and 58 RBIs with a solid .335 batting average, while catcher John Hicks has contributed 21 doubles, seven home runs and 57 RBIs on the year. Sophomore Chris Taylor has added 17 doubles and 48 RBIs. While the Cavaliers are not a home run-hitting squad, they rank 11th in the nation with 2.27 doubles per game.
On the Mound: Virginia’s stellar pitching staff leads the nation with a 2.27 ERA and 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year Danny Hultzen (12-3, 1.49 ERA) ranks third nationally with 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Joining Hultzen in the starting rotation are Tyler Wilson (8-0, 2.29 ERA) and Will Roberts (11-1, 1.58 ERA) and while sophomore RHP Brandon Kline closes for the Cavaliers and is one of five finalists for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award after notching 17 saves and a 2.15 ERA. Backing up Cavalier pitchers is an outstanding defense that ranks fifth in Division I with a .980 fielding percentage.
Did You Know? A No. 1 national seed has not won the College World Series since Miami claimed the title in 1999 -- the first year of the new Super Regional format.