64 teams, all with the same goal in mind. Winning the CWS requires not only a talented squad, but great coaching, decision making, and most importantly. Limit mistakes, and capitalize on your opponents. This year in Omaha has been a special one, as the one year gap between the last CWS really makes this one that much more special. But let’s meet our final competitiors, and who I think will win the College World Series.
#4 Vanderbilt Commodores (48-16, 19-10 SEC)
Representing Bracket 1, the Vandy Boys were my number 2 top contender going into this years, College World Series. This team is just special, look to guys from Jack Leiter to Kumar Rocker to Dominic Keegan to Enrique Bradfield Jr.
Vanderbilt’s road to get here was shaky, they played lots of close games this year with it starting in the Nashville Regional against Georgia Tech. Beating them 4-3 to advance to the regional’s final game, and then beating them 14-11 to advance past their regional. Then two more close wins against ECU, and this team looked beatable. Then we look forward to bracket one in Omaha, where Vanderbilt wins their first game in walk-off fashion, then loses to NC State in the next game. They then barley squeak by Stanford, winning via a walk-off wild pitch. Then barley beating NC State to force a final game 3. This game 3 was then canceled due to issues within the NC State program.
So what have we learned about Vanderbilt in this years CWS, is that they are beatable it’s just it’s still hard to beat them. Teams have come close and ultimately been within striking range of knocking off the SEC powerhouse, but no one besides NC State has actually achieved that feat.
#7 Mississippi State Bulldogs (48-17, 20-10 SEC)
Representing Bracket 2, the Mississippi State Bulldogs have had a miraculous season, but were not included in my article with my Top 5 Contenders for the CWS. This team is deep, and it all starts with OF Tanner Allen. He’s batting .382/.452/.622 this season with a 1.074 OPS. The outfield also has Rowdey Jordan and Brad Cumbest, who round out one of the best outfields in College Baseball. The rest of this team is really deep with great pitching, including Landon Sims who has been spectacular coming out of the bullpen.
Mississippi State’s road to Omaha has been a little more dominant than Vanderbilts, they dominated the Starkville Regional and in the end barley squeezed by Campell. They then had a very close three game set with Notre Dame, and then went on to not have a more than one run win in Bracket 2. So like Vanderbilt, this team is also beatable, but no was has proven that they can really beat them consistently.
Vanderbilt is the obvious better pitching team on paper. Posting a 3.27 team ERA, and a batting average against of .187. Mississippi State’s 4.07 ERA, and .224 b/avg is no match for the Vandy Boys. But the Mississippi State bullpen has been key to their run in this tournament, and has really stepped up in providing the Mississippi State offense with time to get their groove going. On the offensive side it’s a bit closer, Vandy’s .292 BA and .489 SLG, are close to MSU’s .278 BA and .441 BA. Vandy still holds the edge, but they aren’t way out ahead of the Bulldogs. I feel this should be a really good series, with two almost even teams matching up against each other.
These two teams have played each other before, as they are both in the SEC. Vanderbilt won the series 2-1 In game 1, Kumar Rocker pitched a CG, only giving up 3 hits and 2 runs in those 9 innings. In the next game, Mississippi State got to Jack Leiter, as the future top draft pick gave up 4 Earned Runs, in 5 innings of work. The Bulldogs won game 2. Finally in game 3, Vanderbilt dominated giving them the series victory.
I have the Mississippi State Bulldogs losing to the Vanderbilt Commodores in 3 games.
I just don’t see how Vanderbilt will lose 2 games, they are they most talented team in the nation and sometimes that’s all you need to win it all.