As the sun rises on what is set to be one of the best world series tournaments in recent memory, the players are set to rise to the challenge and pressures that comes with this great event. As schools head their way towards their pre-destined location for the first round of the NCAA tournament, destiny has yet to be determain for what looks like a few wild days ahead. The NCAA College World Series will be taking flight in Charlottesville and Coral Gables.
The Charlottesville Regional will be hosted by the number one seed Virginia. Writers and coaches have very high expectations for the Cavs as they were ranked number one in the pre-season poll. A lot of the impressions were backed by Sophomore lefty Nathan Kirby, who recently completed a no-hitter against Pittsburgh. With a bullpen deeper than a boaster’s pocket and a very perplexing rotations that would baffle managers and coaches, Virginia is a sure fire favorite to make it to the NCAA championship.
While being outscored by power conference teams by a total of 41-6, Bucknell still have their head and hooves up high. The Bisons might not have their top hitter Corey Furman, but freshman outfielder and Patriot League rookie of the year Brett Smith, third year outfielder Anthony Gingerelli, and sophomore second sacker Joe Ogren have been more then willing to carry the workload for the NCAA season. While Bucknell has a more difficult road to the championship than others, the spirit of the Bison can be felt by the players and more importantly, their supporters.
Arkansas has had many critics throughout the entire season, but junior second baseman Brian Anderson and senior first baseman Eric Fisher has left many of them eating their words. The Razerbacks are coming off a spectacular performance in the SEC tournament in which they reached the final four. In order for Arkansas to advance far into the post season, they will have to pull out all the stops which is something they should have no problem in doing.
As Liberty shines brightly throughout the college baseball world, the Big South Conference champions have a lot to be proud of. With senior right-hander Trey Lambert and breakout freshman Parker Bean leading the bullpen, the flames will attempt to burn through their competition and into championship contention.
Alex Rodriguez Park will be the site of the Coral Gables Regionals, which are hosted by number one seed Miami. The Hurricanes can be compared to their in-city neighbor the Miami Heat with a line-up that screams dynasty. With Senior righthander phenom Javi Salas, known notably for pitching a perfect game against Villanova this past March, and senior outfielders Dale Carey and Tyler Palmer have all been power hitters. All three have a batting average that ranges 3.00 and beyond. South Beach is looking to be a hot spot for this years NCAA tournament.
Bethune-Cookman are coming into the tournament as cocky as they come with a confidence and swagger that would overshadow Mick Jagger. With an impressive history against the number one seeded teams, the Wildcats are more than ready to make history repeat itself in Miami. Senior infielder Eric Sams will be attempting to work out the 2nd basemen while ace righty Montana Durapau will use an arsenal of pitches to keep batters, and maybe even the catcher, on their toes.
Making their first appearance in a decade, Texas Tech will be crossing unfamiliar territory with high hopes and low bunts. Sophomores outfielder Tyler Neslony and first baseman Eric Gutierrez have been the pace setters for the batters box and it looks to continue in that direction for the Red Raiders.
Columbia has been making a roar in the end of the season, finishing with a 21-3 record. With a team consisting of four first-team Ivy League selections and an 11 all-league picks, the Lions are one of the most stacked teams in this years’ CWS. Junior third baseman David Vandercook has shown to have been the engine of the team as the team plays better when David performance great. Their bullpen has been known to spit out ace pitchers out of nowhere so expect an unfamiliar name to push the Lions into contention in this years NCAA tournament.
Commentary By Hector Carrion