With just five teams still alive in the College World Series, things are certainly getting interesting in Omaha. There will be two elimination games on Thursday as South Carolina and Kent State will faceoff for the right to take on Arkansas in the semifinals, while Florida State will try to avoid bowing out against Arizona.
Each of the teams playing on Thursday has some intriguing MLB prospects who are sure to have a major impact on the way things play out. It should come as no surprise that the premier teams in college baseball have a number of prospects that will soon be moving onto the professional ranks, and they will have a chance to prove their worth in pressure games.
Here are three MLB prospects that you will want to keep an eye on during Thursday's elimination games at the College World Series.
James Ramsey (Florida State)
After being selected in the 22nd round of last year's MLB draft, Florida State outfielder James Ramsey decided to return for his senior season. The decision was a great one as he has had a spectacular 2012 season and was taken No. 23 overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in this year's draft. I'm sure Ramsey isn't ready for his collegiate career to be over yet, though, so he will have plenty of say in how Florida State's battle with Arizona plays out.
Ramsey is hitting .386 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI on the year and is very solid in the field as well. He is the Seminoles' unquestioned leader, and they are going to need him in a big way to stave off elimination. Florida State is going to be desperate, but Arizona will be as well in an effort to avoid having to play an additional game. If Ramsey continues his hot play, however, Florida State has a great shot.
Alex Mejia (Arizona)
Which player will come up biggest in Thursday's elimination games?
Shortstop Alex Mejia is perhaps the biggest reason why the Arizona Wildcats have fared as well as they have this season, and he was rewarded for that by being selected 150th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the MLB draft. Mejia is having a big year as he is hitting .360 with three home runs and 52 RBI on the season. Mejia is considered to be one of the best shortstops in the nation, and he'll have to prove that against Florida State.
Arizona has yet to lose a game in the double-elimination tournament, so the Wildcats' backs aren't up against the wall yet. The Seminoles' are, however, and Arizona needs to take advantage of that. Arizona certainly won't want to have to play yet another game against Florida State, so it will be contingent upon a star like Mejia to be on his game to ensure that Arizona advances to the finals.
Christian Walker (South Carolina)
The South Carolina Gamecocks are in a precarious position after losing to Arkansas as they will now play the Kent State Golden Flashes to get another shot at the Razorbacks. If South Carolina is going to reach the semis like many expected, then star third baseman Christian Walker will probably have to be a major factor. The South Carolina star was drafted No. 132 overall by the Baltimore Orioles, but he still has plenty to offer the Gamecocks.
Walker leads South Carolina in essentially every major offensive category as he is hitting .316 with 11 home runs and 53 RBI on the season. The Gamecocks are heavy favorites in this particular matchup, but Kent State is a scrappy team that won't easily go away. Walker is the type of player who can crush the opposition's spirits with one swing of the bat, and I believe he will do exactly that on Thursday.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter