The Omaha 8 are set and the 2019 College World Series begins with the first pitch at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. Before the final eight teams take the field at TD Ameritrade Park, let’s take a look at some of the more mind-boggling numbers from the schools remaining in the CWS field.
We took a look at the record books to find some of the most interesting numbers from each program. Narrowing it down to just one for each of these teams, most with plenty of history in the DI baseball tournament, wasn’t easy, but these stood out the most.
Arkansas — 14
Can we make the entire 2018 season a notable record? How about instead of all the program records the 2018 Razorbacks set, we take the one number that stands out the most: 14. That’s the number of wins Blaine Knight had last year. It’s also the number of saves Matt Kronin recorded. It’s also the number of home runs hit by freshman Heston Kjerstad. One more? Sure, it’s also the number of home runs Eric Cole hit, who was the first of 11 Razorbacks selected in the MLB draft. All four of those feats tied or set the program record. That seems notable and delightfully odd all at the same time.
Auburn — Bo's 1985
While Auburn's first inning from Monday's Super Regional clincher against North Carolina is certainly newsworthy, let's take a step back to 1985. That was a good year for Tigers' great Bo Jackson. It was when he won the Heisman trophy but also the same year that Bo-Jack led an all-out assault on college baseball pitching. He hit .401 with 17 home runs to set the Auburn mark for slugging percentage at .864, a record that still stands.
Florida State — 2,000+ wins
Two words: Mike Martin. The Seminoles skipper has more wins than anyone in NCAA history. That’s all of NCAA across any division and every sport. While recording over 2,000 wins is impressive in itself, what stands out most is that in 40 years at the helm, his Florida State teams have never won less than 40 games in a season. If you look up consistency in the dictionary, Mike Martin should be there waving at you.
Louisville — 'The Game'
The Cardinals are more of a recent powerhouse in college baseball, first reaching the CWS in 2007 and now making its fifth appearance in Omaha since then. Prior to that, Louisville only made the DI baseball tournament once (2002) but Cardinals lore was known for ‘The Game.’ Jim LaFountain hit four home runs on March 24, 1976. Three of the four were grand slams, and two of those grand slams came in one inning. No player has ever hit more grand slams in a game, and his two in an inning and 14 total RBI were both DI baseball records that have since been matched or broken.
Michigan — 2 lefty wins
Let’s turn from the type of record you find in the history books and take a look at a remarkable pitcher’s record. The UCLA Bruins had an unbelievable season, going 52-11 by not losing a weekend series during the entire regular season. The Bruins only lost to a left-hander twice this season. Both of those times were against Michigan’s Tommy Henry, who defeated UCLA on March 8 in the Dodger Stadium Classic and then in the Super Regional clincher this past weekend.
Mississippi State — 353 career hits
Let’s just call him The Hit Man. Jake Mangum returned to Starkville for one more run at Omaha and he got it. He also cemented himself as an SEC legend, setting the all-time hit record on April 27 with his 353rd career hit. He joins former skipper Ron Polk — who has more wins than any other coach in SEC history — as Bulldogs with prominent records in one of the most esteemed conferences in college baseball. Mangum is now up to 378 and is just four shy of tying former Bulldog Adam Frazier’s program-record 107 hits in the 2013 season.
Texas Tech — Part of 64 appearances
While Texas Tech is surely happy, the Red Raiders ruined a fun little streak with their three previous trips to Omaha all coming in even years in 2014, 2016, and 2018. But Texas Tech is part of a larger record. Baseball in the state of Texas is obviously a big deal and always has been and Texas Tech is making The Lone Star State's 64th appearance in the College World Series, the all-time record. Surprisingly, the Red Raiders are looking for their third win, but also have never had a player placed on the All-Tournament team. After Josh Jung hit .429 in Omaha last year, keep an eye on him as he tries to become the first Texas Tech player to do so.
Vanderbilt — 19 Ks
There is plenty to choose from, but perhaps most recent history takes the proverbial cake. Head coach Tim Corbin sent freshman Kumar Rocker to the bump in a win-or-go-home game in the Super Regionals. Rocker delivered with the first no-hitter in Super Regional history, striking out 19 Duke hitters along the way. Not bad for a freshman in his Super Regional debut. He’s allowed one earned run in the first 15.2 innings of his NCAA tournament career. Let’s see what’s in store on the biggest stage yet.