We have some scintillating showdowns in store for us in the 2013 College World Series.
In the first matchups that were determined, No. 15 UCLA and No. 4 LSU will battle it out and No. 16 Louisville and No. 12 Indiana will clash.
All four squads have looked mighty powerful throughout the 2013 NCAA Division I baseball tournament, pointing to some high-octane matchups in the CWS.
*Official bracket can be found at NCAA.com
UCLA (15) vs. LSU (4)
LSU is a true powerhouse this season. There is no denying that. The Tigers ranked 14th in the nation in runs through June 7, as well as third in ERA, according to NCAA.com.
On top of that, LSU has yet to lose a game in the tournament, blasting through Jackson State, Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Oklahoma. In five games, LSU has averaged 7.4 runs, allowing a combined three runs in its last three ballgames.
Of course, UCLA isn't so bad itself. The Bruins ranked 12th in ERA through June 7, holding No. 7 Cal State Fullerton to a combined three runs in their last two games in the Super Regionals.
The big thing for me is that LSU boasts a better offense than UCLA. The Bruins ranked 140th in runs through June 7. They've averaged 5.0 runs per contest in the tournament.
UCLA's pitching has to come up huge against LSU to pull this one off. But the fact that LSU scored 11 runs in its last game against Oklahoma gives me pause.
LSU's Aaron Nola (12-0, 1.68 ERA, 117 strikeouts in 118 innings) will take the mound, according to Randy Rosetta of Times-Picayune:
No shock, but #LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Aaron Nola (12-0) will start CWS opener vs. UCLA. Game 2 starter TBD, as it was last week.— Randy Rosetta (@RandyRosetta) June 10, 2013
Look for the Tigers to win this one.
Louisville (16) vs. Indiana (12)
This is a mighty close matchup.
Indiana ranked 24th in runs through June 7; Louisville ranked 32nd.
Indiana ranked sixth in ERA; Louisville ranked fifth.
Louisville has won all five of its games in the tournament. That includes a 6-4 victory over No. 19 Miami (FL) and winning two straight games against No. 2 Vanderbilt in the Super Regionals. This team is red hot and has a great look about it right now.
Who will win?
Of course, Indiana has won all five of its games, too, averaging 9.4 runs per contest in the process. That includes posting a combined 21 runs in its two victories against No. 8 Florida State in the Super Regionals. Indiana also beat No. 26 Austin Peay twice in the tournament.
Indiana's pitching hasn't been as strong as Louisville's in the tournament. Then again, the Hoosiers allowed a combined 15 runs in their two games against Florida State and still won. They blew up a Florida State pitching unit ranked 10th in the nation in ERA through June 7.
I know the old adage about pitching winning championships, but Indiana's offense is unbelievably explosive right now. I think the Hoosier will get the best of the Cardinals, which will be mighty impressive for a school not usually known for its baseball.
Matt Clapp of TheScore.com quipped:
Louisville, Indiana, UCLA, NC State... the CWS is going to be a great basketball tournament this year.— Matt Clapp (@sharapovasthigh) June 10, 2013