College World Series 2012: Squads Who Will Continue Dream Runs
The College World Series is upon us, and players who have been working all year now have a chance to fulfill their dream of a championship.
Only two teams can advance to the final round, but to make it this far is truly an accomplishment.
With this in mind, tiny Stony Brook University deserves a shout-out for its dream run to the CWS, but this article is about the teams who will make it to the championship.
These two teams will continue their dream runs to the championship.
South Carolina Gamecocks
The defending champion Gamecocks look to be in good shape for another deep run in 2012.
Christian Walker is one of the best remaining players in the tournament. His strong bat led the Gamecocks in batting average and home runs, hitting .318 with 11 home runs to this point.
Walker was a fourth-round draft choice by the Baltimore Orioles, but for now, he will lead the Gamecocks to the championship round.
Their strong pitching is also a major factor in the Gamecocks' run to this point, with Los Angeles Angels' draft choice Michael Roth leading the rotation.
Roth has pitched the most innings on the team, and for good reason. His 2.60 ERA is more than solid, and he's only been credited with one loss in his 18 starts.
Roth has been helped by tremendous fielding behind him, as the Gamecocks tout an incredible .979 fielding percentage.
One thing working against the Gamecocks is that while they excel at home, they struggle on the road with an 11-8 away record.
They are also 3-2 in neutral games, which is most important considering that the CWS is in Omaha, Nebraska. They will need to show the same spark they have at home to win the championship, but they certainly have the talent to do so.
At this point, the Arizona Wildcats have to be the favorite to win it all, as their incredible talent and depth in every phase is superior to the other remaining teams.
Incredibly, the Wildcats have eight batters in their main lineup with batting averages over .300.
Johnny Field leads an incredibly deep group of batters, with a .377 average and an obscene 1.028 OBPS. Field is one of the best hitters remaining in the series, and his bat should go a long way in helping the Wildcats to a championship.
Other major factors include Joey Rickard, who leads the team with 18 steals, and Robert Refsnyder, who leads the team in home runs and has a solid .974 OBPS.
The Wildcats are more than just a strong offense, though, with Kurt Heyer leading a deep group of pitchers.
Heyer is the only elite player in the group, with a stellar 2.22 ERA and a 12-2 record. The junior has been awesome this season, with seven complete games in his 18 starts.
Behind Heyer, the Wildcats feature Konner Wade and James Farris, who are solid, if unspectacular.
Ultimately, with Heyer and Field leading the charge, the Wildcats are too stacked in every phase to leave with anything other than a championship.
Unlike the Gamecocks, the Wildcats are solid on the road and in neutral games, and that should be enough to guide them to a championship.
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