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Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | June 27, 2019

How the College World Series works

Vanderbilt storms past Michigan to claim the College World Series title, 8-2

Every year, the best teams in college baseball compete in the NCAA Division I baseball tournament, vying for the chance to play in Omaha at the College World Series.

After two rounds of regional and super regional play to start the NCAA tournament, eight teams advanced to the 2019 College World Series — Texas Tech, Michigan, Arkansas, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Mississippi State, and Auburn.

Michigan and Vanderbilt advanced undefeated from that group of eight to the College World Series finals. Vanderbilt then beat the Wolverines to win the national title. After losing Game 1, the Commodores took the next two for the championship.

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Here is everything you need to know about the tournament:

What is the difference between the Division I baseball tournament and the College World Series?

The NCAA Division I baseball tournament is a 64-team tournament that starts in May. After two rounds of play (which each consist of multiple games), there are just eight teams left. These eight teams then head to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. The CWS is the culmination of the DI tournament, where the teams compete in two brackets, with the winners of each meeting in the CWS finals, a best-of-three series to decide the NCAA champion.

When did the College World Series start?

The first-ever NCAA Division I baseball tournament was in 1947, and would barely be recognized as the same tournament nowadays. The 1947 tournament featured just eight teams, which were divided into two four-team, single-elimination brackets. The two winners — California and Yale — then met in a best-of-three final in Kalamazoo, Michigan. California would go undefeated through the inaugural CWS and beat Yale to capture the first title.

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How has the NCAA Division I baseball tournament changed since its inception?

The tournament has grown a lot since 1947. There are currently 64 teams that compete in four rounds (two double-elimination brackets, two best-of-three series) for the title.

Here are the major changes to the tournament, as they happened:

  • 1948: First-round playoffs were changed to double-elimination.
  • 1949: The final was expanded to a four-team, double-elimination format, and the site changed to Wichita, Kansas.
  • 1950: Site moves to Omaha, Nebraska.
  • 1954: Field expands to 23 teams. The field size bounces around between 21 and 32 for the next two decades. In the 22 years between 1954 and 1975, the field is never the same size two years in a row.
  • 1976: Field expands to 34 teams, where it will stay until 1982.
  • 1982: Field expands to 36 teams. Will expand multiple times in the next few years, before settling at 48 teams in 1987, where it will stay until 1999.
  • 1988-1998: The eight regional champions are seeded into two four-team brackets. Those two brackets play double-elimination with the bracket winners then meeting in a one-game championship.
  • 1999: Field expands to current size of 64 teams, super regionals are added.
  • 2003: CWS finals become a best-of-three series.
Oregon State wins the College World Series

How are teams selected for the NCAA Division I baseball tournament?

Since 1954, the NCAA Division I baseball tournament field has been split into two qualifying groups: The automatic berths, and the at-large selections. Since 2014, that split sees 31 conference champions receive automatic berths, and 33 teams receive at-large bids, decided by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. 

As part of that selection process, 16 teams receive national seeds, and are offered the option of hosting a super regional if they advance to the second round.

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What is the format for the NCAA Division I baseball tournament?

There are four stages of competition for the tournament:

Regionals

The first round sees the 64 teams split into 16 brackets. Each is a double-elimination bracket with four teams, seeded 1-4. Double-elimination means that a team isn’t eliminated from the bracket until they lose two games.

Super Regionals

The 16 winners of the regionals move on to the super regionals, where they are split into eight pairings. These pairings play in a best-of-three series.

College World Series

The eight winners of the super regionals head to the CWS in Omaha. They are split into two double-elimination brackets, consisting of four teams each.

College World Series Finals

The winners of the two CWS brackets meet in the CWS Finals, a best-of-three series to decide the NCAA champion.

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When is the College World Series?

The NCAA Division I baseball tournament starts after the culmination of the regular season, in May every year. The College World Series, the final stage of the tournament, caps of the season in June.

In 2019, the College World Series starts on Saturday, June 15. The best-of-three CWS finals will start on Monday, June 24.

You can view the full schedule here.

Here is what the 2019 CWS bracket looks like:

Final Baseball bracket

How to watch the College World Series

The 2019 College World Series will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2. You can livestream all games on WatchESPN.

How to get tickets for the College World Series

Tickets for the 2019 College World Series are available here.

Who has won the most College World Series?

In the 72-year history of the tournament, 29 different teams have won the CWS. 

But no team has won it more often than Southern California. The Trojans have 12 titles to their name, with the first coming in 1948, and the most recent in 1998. That also includes a stretch from 1968 to 1974, when USC won six of seven titles.

Here are the winners of every tournament: 

YEAR CHAMPION (RECORD) COACH SCORE RUNNER-UP SITE
2019 Vanderbilt (59-12) Tim Corbin 8-2 Michigan Omaha, Neb.
2018 Oregon State (55-12-1) Pat Casey  5-0 Arkansas Omaha, Neb. 
2017 Florida (52-19) Kevin O'Sullivan 6-1 LSU Omaha, Neb.
2016 Coastal Carolina (55-18) Gary Gilmore 4-3 Arizona Omaha, Neb.
2015 Virginia (44-24) Brian O'Connor 4-2 Vanderbilt Omaha, Neb.
2014 Vanderbilt (51-21) Tim Corbin 3-2 Virginia Omaha, Neb.
2013 * UCLA (49-17) John Savage 8-0 Mississippi State Omaha, Neb.
2012 * Arizona (48-17) Andy Lopez 4-1 South Carolina Omaha, Neb.
2011 * South Carolina (55-14) Ray Tanner 5-2 Florida Omaha, Neb.
2010 South Carolina (54-16) Ray Tanner 2-1 (11 inn.) UCLA Omaha, Neb.
2009 LSU (56-17) Paul Mainieri 11-4 Texas Omaha, Neb.
2008 Fresno State (47-31) Mike Batesole 6-1 Georgia Omaha, Neb.
2007 * Oregon State (49-18) Pat Casey 9-3 North Carolina Omaha, Neb.
2006 Oregon State (50-16) Pat Casey 3-2 North Carolina Omaha, Neb.
2005 * Texas (56-16) Augie Garrido 6-2 Florida Omaha, Neb.
2004 Cal St. Fullerton (47-22) George Horton 3-2 Texas Omaha, Neb.
2003 Rice (58-12) Wayne Graham 14-2 Stanford Omaha, Neb.
2002 * Texas (57-15) Augie Garrido 12-6 South Carolina Omaha, Neb.
2001 * Miami (Fla.) (53-12) Jim Morris 12-1 Stanford Omaha, Neb.
2000 * LSU (52-17) Skip Bertman 6-5 Stanford Omaha, Neb.
1999 * Miami (Fla.) (50-13) Jim Morris 6-5 Florida State Omaha, Neb.
1998 Southern California (49-17) Mike Gillespie 21-14 Arizona State Omaha, Neb.
1997 * LSU (57-13) Skip Bertman 13-6 Alabama Omaha, Neb.
1996 * LSU (52-15) Skip Bertman 9-8 Miami (Fla.) Omaha, Neb.
1995 * Cal St. Fullerton (57-9) Augie Garrido 11-5 Southern California Omaha, Neb.
1994 * Oklahoma (50-17) Larry Cochell 13-5 Georgia Tech Omaha, Neb.
1993 LSU (53-17-1) Skip Bertman 8-0 Wichita State Omaha, Neb.
1992 * Pepperdine (48-11-1) Andy Lopez 3-2 Cal St. Fullerton Omaha, Neb.
1991 * LSU (55-18) Skip Bertman 6-3 Wichita State Omaha, Neb.
1990 Georgia (52-19) Steve Webber 2-1 Oklahoma State Omaha, Neb.
1989 Wichita State (68-16) Gene Stephenson 5-3 Texas Omaha, Neb.
1988 Stanford (46-23) Mark Marquess 9-4 Arizona State Omaha, Neb.
1987 Stanford (53-17) Mark Marquess 9-5 Oklahoma State Omaha, Neb.
1986 Arizona (49-19) Jerry Kindall 10-2 Florida State Omaha, Neb.
1985 Miami (Fla.) (64-16) Ron Fraser 10-6 Texas Omaha, Neb.
1984 Cal St. Fullerton (66-20) Augie Garrido 3-1 Texas Omaha, Neb.
1983 * Texas (66-14) Cliff Gustafson 4-3 Alabama Omaha, Neb.
1982 * Miami (Fla.) (55-17-1) Ron Fraser 9-3 Wichita State Omaha, Neb.
1981 Arizona State (55-13) Jim Brock 7-4 Oklahoma State Omaha, Neb.
1980 Arizona (45-21-1) Jerry Kindall 5-3 Hawaii Omaha, Neb.
1979 Cal St. Fullerton (60-14-1) Augie Garrido 2-1 Arkansas Omaha, Neb.
1978 * Southern California (54-9) Rod Dedeaux 10-3 Arizona State Omaha, Neb.
1977 Arizona State (57-12) Jim Brock 2-1 South Carolina Omaha, Neb.
1976 Arizona (56-17) Jerry Kindall 7-1 Eastern Michigan Omaha, Neb.
1975 Texas (59-6) Cliff Gustafson 5-1 South Carolina Omaha, Neb.
1974 Southern California (50-20) Rod Dedeaux 7-3 Miami (Fla.) Omaha, Neb.
1973 * Southern California (51-11) Rod Dedeaux 4-3 Arizona State Omaha, Neb.
1972 Southern California (47-13-1) Rod Dedeaux 1-0 Arizona State Omaha, Neb.
1971 Southern California (46-11) Rod Dedeaux 5-2 Southern Illinois Omaha, Neb.
1970 Southern California (45-13) Rod Dedeaux 2-1 (15 inn.) Florida State Omaha, Neb.
1969 Arizona State (56-11) Bobby Winkles 10-1 Tulsa Omaha, Neb.
1968 * Southern California (43-12-1) Rod Dedeaux 4-3 Southern Illinois Omaha, Neb.
1967 Arizona State (53-12) Bobby Winkles 11-0 Houston Omaha, Neb.
1966 Ohio State (27-6-1) Marty Karow 8-2 Oklahoma State Omaha, Neb.
1965 Arizona State (54-8) Bobby Winkles 2-0 Ohio State Omaha, Neb.
1964 Minnesota (31-12) Dick Siebert 5-1 Missouri Omaha, Neb.
1963 Southern California (35-10) Rod Dedeaux 5-2 Arizona Omaha, Neb.
1962 Michigan (34-15) Don Lund 5-4 (15 inn.) Santa Clara Omaha, Neb.
1961 * Southern California (36-7) Rod Dedeaux 1-0 Oklahoma State Omaha, Neb.
1960 Minnesota (34-7-1) Dick Siebert 2-1 (10 inn.) Southern California Omaha, Neb.
1959 Oklahoma State (27-5) Toby Greene 5-0 Arizona Omaha, Neb.
1958 Southern California (29-3) Rod Dedeaux 8-7 (12 inn.) Missouri Omaha, Neb.
1957 * California (35-10) George Wolfman 1-0 Penn State Omaha, Neb.
1956 Minnesota (37-9) Dick Siebert 12-1 Arizona Omaha, Neb.
1955 Wake Forest (29-7) Taylor Sanford 7-6 Western Michigan Omaha, Neb.
1954 Missouri (22-4) John "Hi" Simmons 4-1 Rollins Omaha, Neb.
1953 Michigan (21-9) Ray Fisher 7-5 Texas Omaha, Neb.
1952 Holy Cross (21-3) Jack Barry 8-4 Missouri Omaha, Neb.
1951 * Oklahoma (19-9) Jack Baer 3-2 Tennessee Omaha, Neb.
1950 Texas (27-6) Bibb Falk 3-0 Washington State Omaha, Neb.
1949 * Texas (23-7) Bibb Falk 10-3 Wake Forest Wichita, Kan.
1948 Southern California (26-4) Sam Barry 9-2 Yale Kalamazoo, Mich.
1947 * California (31-10) Clint Evans 8-7 Yale Kalamazoo, Mich.

*Indicates undefeated teams in College World Series play.

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Division I
College World Series
June 13-23/24, 2020
TD Ameritrade Park | Omaha, NE

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