College World Series 2013: Top Stars to Watch in Omaha

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 16, 2013

May 26, 2013; Durham, NC, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels third baseman Colin Moran (18) on base during the ACC baseball tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

On Day 1 of the College World Series, the production from the stars was hit and miss.

We saw the Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat the Oregon State Beavers 5-4 in a thriller. The Beavers' sensational ace Andrew Moore wasn't quite as good as he has been throughout the season.

He didn't take the loss, but he did allow an uncharacteristic four earned runs. The Beavers' top hitter Michael Conforto was 4-for-4 with an RBI, but it wasn't enough to bring his team a victory.

Bulldogs' slugger and San Diego Padres' first-round pick, Hunter Renfroe was 1-for-4 and left two runners on base. Wes Rea picked him up with a clutch two-run double in the eighth inning, but the Bulldogs may need more production from their star moving forward. 

In the second game many fans may have expected to see Indiana's Kyle Schwarber power his team to a victory, but the Hoosiers' ace Joey DeNato didn't need much help. His complete game shutout was the strongest performance of the day.

Here's a look at the stars to watch on the second day of action.


North Carolina State

Carlos Rodon

The Wolfpack ace is 9-2 overall with a 3.19 ERA, but he has been as good as any pitcher in the nation over the last month. 

In Rodon's last three starts his record is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.11. Although he's allowed just three earned runs in 27.1 innings pitched, his team has only scored six runs in those games. N.C. State must stop wasting his spectacular efforts if it plans to advance in the CWS.

This highlight is from the Wolfpack's loss to the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship. Rodon went 10.1 innings, but didn't get the win because of the aforementioned lack of run support.

The Wolfpack will certainly need Rodon and the bats to be at their best in the opening game against the Tar Heels.


North Carolina

Colin Moran, Jr.

There is a reason the Miami Marlins took Moran, Jr. sixth overall in the MLB draft. He's one of the best all-around hitters in the nation.

He comes into the CWS hitting .343, slugging .555, with 13 HR and 88 RBI. His RBI total is tops in the nation and he's a finalist for the Golden Spike Award.

The 20-year-old left-handed third basemen could be the key performer for the Tar Heels in Omaha.


Aaron Nola

Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray and Stanford's Mark Appel got most of the attention as far as stud collegiate pitchers are concerned, but Nola is certainly in the same category.

He proved he could match Gray pitch-for-pitch in the Super Regionals when he shut the Sooners down 2-0 in the first game of the series.

For the season, Nola is 12-0 with five complete games, 117 strikeouts in just 118 innings pitched with just 17 walks. He just might be the prized pitching prospect in the 2014 MLB draft.



David Berg

On a team that hits just .251 as a team, it seems obvious a pitcher would be the top star of the club. The Bruins win with defense and pitching and their top hurler is their lights out closer.

Berg is the Pac-12 Player of the Year, he is second in the nation with an ERA of 0.88 and has 21 saves to his credit. The Bruins' bullpen is strong throughout, but Berg is the primary reason teams dread trailing UCLA late.


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