College World Series 2013: Bold Predictions for Epic Tournament
The 2013 College World Series will be one for the ages.
In a tournament that's filled with future MLB talent, eight teams will attempt to accomplish college baseball glory by running through the competition in Omaha, Neb.
Like any event, there's the opportunity for upsets and disappointment, and there's a high likelihood that a few teams exit the tournament before they had originally planned.
Here are my bold predictions for the 2013 College World Series.
Indiana Makes It to Finals
The Indiana Hoosiers are bound for a deep run in the World Series.
It's all about getting hot at the right time and the Hoosiers are scorching as of late. Indiana has won its last six consecutive games and has averaged 8.5 runs per game during that span.
To go with a potent offense, Indiana's pitching staff ranks eighth in ERA, thanks in large part to 6'10" righty Aaron Slegers, who's 9-1 with a 2.13 ERA. Joey DeNato (9-2, 2.76 ERA) and Kyle Hart (8-2, 3.01 ERA) have also been key members of Indiana's starting staff.
After watching the Hoosiers' two-game sweep of No. 8 Florida State in which they scored 21 runs, it's hard to argue against Indiana making a deep run in the College World Series and possibly hoisting the trophy when it's all said and done.
Look for catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber to be a key contributor on offense, as he ranks second on the team in average (.376), first in home runs (18) and third in RBI (54).
LSU Loses Before the Championship
LSU has certainly been rolling of late, but this is the College World Series where anything can happen.
Winners of eight straight, the Tigers will run into a sneaky good UCLA Bruins squad in the opening round of the tournament. The Bruins are on a run of their own, having won six straight, including shutouts in two of their last three games.
Nick Vander Tuig has been dominant for UCLA this season (12-4, 2.37 ERA) while David Berg has been unstoppable coming out of the bullpen, as UCLA's Twitter account cites.
Big congrats to sophomore David Berg, who tied the all-time UCLA record for most career saves tonight, notching his 21st career save.— UCLA Baseball (@UCLABaseball) June 2, 2013
UCLA ranks ninth in ERA this season and allowed a mere 10 runs in five tournament games this season.
Even if the Tigers get past UCLA, any of the other six teams in the tournament have the talent to give LSU a run for its money and prevent it from winning its first title since 2009.
N.C. State Upsets UNC
Led by Colin Moran, No. 1-seeded UNC has the offense to make a deep run through the College World Series, but its pitching could be a serious issue.
Starters Jeremy Strawn, Kent Emanuel and Hobbs Johnson have all struggled as of late, as each starter has surrendered at least three runs in less than three innings pitched in their most recent outings.
Combine starting pitching struggles with the fact that the Tar Heels will be forced to go up against N.C. State's star southpaw Carlos Rodon, and you've got the making of a college baseball upset.
Pack Pride highlights Rodon's dominance over UNC in his career:
Carlos Rodon's Career Line vs. UNC: 4 starts, 1-0 record, 0.84 ERA, 32.1 Innings Pitched, 43 Strikeouts, 10 Walks, 3 Earned Runs Allowed— Pack Pride (@PackPride) June 11, 2013
UNC hasn't been as dominant as originally pegged prior to the start of the tournament while the Wolfpack have proven that they can win close games, having won both games against Rice by a combined two runs.
It'll be a collective effort from N.C. State, but I think it has the pitching and enough offense to overtake the Tar Heels' weak pitching of late.
Follow me on Twitter: Follow @Pete_Schauer
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