Which team will take home the championship this year? It depends a lot on how star hitters perform.
On Saturday, the ultimate event of the college baseball season will kick off, the College World Series. Eight teams will once again be fighting for baseball supremacy in Omaha, Nebraska, for the right to be called national champions.
A lot of big hitters will be playing at a high level, but the following three will stand out from the rest: Cody Stubbs of North Carolina, Adam Frazier of Mississippi State and Scott Donley of Indiana.
Cody Stubbs, First Baseman, North Carolina
Stubbs, a power-hitting senior, has been the biggest star at the plate for the Tar Heels in the tournament so far, even better than more-heralded teammate Colin Moran.
Third baseman Moran was named an All-American this season and was recently drafted as the sixth overall pick by the Miami Marlins in the MLB draft, but Stubbs has been playing like he deserved those distinctions.
Stubbs has hit .400 in the tournament, with four doubles, one home run and four RBI. He is slugging .633 and gets on base at a .471 clip.
The Tar Heels will be playing rival North Carolina State in the first round of the series. The Wolfpack's pitching staff has been one of the best in the nation in the tournament, but North Carolina State also hasn't faced a team of the Tar Heels' quality yet. A matchup against rival North Carolina State should get Stubbs pumped up and ready to swing his big stick.
Adam Frazier, Shortstop, Mississippi State
Frazier is one of the few position players for the Bulldogs who is actually hitting well. Only four players in the starting lineup are slugging above .400 in the tournament, which is a surprising number for a team that made it to the World Series.
But boy, is Frazier raking. In the six games that the Bulldogs have played, Frazier has hit at a .429 clip with 12 hits, eight RBI and zero strikeouts.
If some of his struggling teammates step up in the World Series, they would help Frazier by giving him more pitches to hit. And when he gets pitches to hit, watch out.
Scott Donley, Designated Hitter, Indiana
The Hoosiers baseball program has had a breakout year in 2013, and redshirt sophomore Donley was a big reason for it. Donley hit .361 with 58 RBI and a .513 slugging percentage during the regular season.
But that was the regular season. In the tournament, Donley is batting an astronomical .471. He has driven in six runs, and his slugging percentage is currently at .765.
Fellow star Kyle Schwarber has been fantastic in the tournament as well, but Donley has stolen the show. If Donley can sustain his fantastic hitting, it would not be a surprise to see the Hoosiers as national champions.
Stubbs, Frazier and Donley have carried their teams this far, but their big hitting should continue, even on the big stage of the College World Series. Look for the Tar Heels, Bulldogs and Hoosiers to rise to the occasion with their hot hitters.