There has been a bundle of shining defensive plays, clutch hits and even an upset or two in the 2012 College World Series. The stars of the series have provided many moments of glory, and that won’t change as we draw closer to the Championship Series on June 24.
Top-seeded Florida was eliminated by Kent State on Monday, and the Golden Flashes will continue their improbable CWS run in Game 10 Wednesday against No. 8 South Carolina.
But that will only come after No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Florida State play Game 9 Tuesday.
Which stars will shine the brightest as the stage becomes grander?
George Roberts, 1B, Kent State
Roberts went 2-for-4 with two RBI in Monday’s 5-4 victory over Florida and is batting .364 on the year. He has been clutch all year, posting 66 RBI through yesterday’s games—ranked No. 12 in Division I.
Bold Prediction: Roberts powers Golden Flashes to another upset
Roberts is not a pure slugger. At 6”0” and only 195 pounds he is more of a gap-hitter. He’s hit eight bombs during his junior year but hasn’t hit one since a 3-2 loss to Oregon in Game 2 of a CWS Super Regional.
Not only will Roberts hit a home run, it will give Kent State the lead for good, as they will get the chance to avenge Saturday’s loss to Arkansas.
James Ramsey, CF, Florida State
During the Seminoles’ 12-2 destruction of CWS Cinderella Stony Brook, Ramsey went 2-for-5 with one RBI. He has 58 RBI this season, and his .667 slugging percentage ranks him No. 13 in Division I.
Bold Prediction: Ramsey reaches base every time up vs. UCLA
Talk about bold. It will take such an effort to help his squad knock off UCLA on Tuesday. Ramsey is No. 3 among Division I batters with a .518 on-base percentage and No. 4 in walks with 62. He will put it all together against UCLA and reach base every time, be it by base hit, walk, hit-by-pitch or error.
Ramsey on the base paths will have a distinct impact on the game.
Konner Wade, SP, Arizona
Wade has been great in the CWS. In two starts he has surrendered 11 hits and two earned runs while pitching consecutive complete games—the most recent a five-hit shutout of No. 2 UCLA, who averages 6.24 runs per game in 2012. Via ESPN.com:
“I got hit pretty hard the last time I pitched against them, and I knew they took advantage of the mistakes I made that game,” Wade said. “I was really eager for the opportunity to throw against them today. I was going to try to keep the ball down in the zone, and I let my movement take care of it.”
Bold Prediction: Wade pitches third-straight complete game
Wade is on fire, and he will continue his dominance. Whether it’s against the aforementioned Bruins once again or Florida State, it will not matter. The sophomore has been effectively wild, and that has allowed him to get away with some pitches.
Arizona will ride the jet stream left by Wade’s fastball as far as it will take them, and if he’s still pitching in the ninth inning, that can only mean good things for the club.
Jeff Gelalich, RF, UCLA
Batting only .125 (1-for-8) in the double elimination round, Gelalich’s average has dropped from .365 to .357. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout against Wade in UCLA’s 4-0 loss Sunday, and if the Bruins hope for a rematch with the Wildcats on Thursday they will need their best hitter to break out of his mini-slump.
Bold Prediction: Gelalich notches multiple hits and RBI in victory over Arkansas
April 5 and 6 mark the only consecutive games during the 2012 season in which Gelalich went hitless. The kid flat out mashes the baseball. He will have the biggest impact on this game, and his RBI will help UCLA advance.