College World Series 2014: Hitters Who Will Sway Championship Outcome

David DanielsSenior Writer IJune 20, 2014

Jun 14, 2014; Omaha, NE, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores catcher Karl Ellison (25) celebrates with runner Dansby Swanson (7) after Swanson scored against the Louisville Cardinals during game two of the 2014 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Vanderbilt won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Offense has been at a premium in the 2014 College World Series.

In the 10 games played in Omaha, Nebraska, teams combined for over five runs just three times. This lack of scoring amplifies the importance of teams' best hitters to provide a spark. 

Here are the best hitters on each remaining ballclub capable of swinging the championship their way.


Michael Thomas/Associated Press

4. OF Mark Payton, Texas

Texas is averaging 2.0 runs per game in Omaha. Its offense must improve to win the College World Series. If it improves, Payton will be the hitter who provides the spark.

Payton is batting .320 this season, and reached base twice in the Longhorns' 4-1 victory over Louisville. He finished with one hit, one base on balls and one run. He also led them in hits in their 1-0 win against UC Irvine, going 2-for-4.


Ted Kirk/Associated Press

3. C/DH Will Allen, Mississippi

Ole Miss scored a measly three runs in its first two games. All of its hitters, including Allen, struggled mightily. But in a must-win game against TCU, the Rebels erupted for six runs in a 6-4 triumph, and Allen played the largest part in the eruption.

His batting average had dropped to .336 due to poor hitting in Omaha, but it rose again after hitting 3-for-5 against the Horned Frogs. Those hits drove in three runs, and he also crossed home plate once.


Steve Helber/Associated Press

2. IF Branden Cogswell, Virginia

This leadoff hitter hasn't had nearly as much help as the next one on this list, but he's still managed to lead his team to an undefeated record in Omaha.

Virginia won its first game against Mississippi by the score of 2-1. Cogswell upped his on-base percentage to .398 after reaching base four times, three on walks and another on a hit.

By the time the Cavaliers' next game against TCU ended, Cogswell's on-base percentage had risen to .403. He helped carry them to a 3-2 victory with four more trips to first base, three on hits and another on a walk. He also crossed home plate twice.


Eric Francis/Associated Press

1. IF Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt boasts the only offense that hasn't struggled in Omaha. No team has scored more runs per game than the Commodores, and it isn't even close. The 11 times they've crossed the plate is only approached by Mississippi with nine. However, the Rebels have played three games in Omaha while Vanderbilt has played just two.

This superior offense has more to do with Swanson than any other Commodore. He was already batting .341 on the season, and he's picked up his play even more on college baseball's grandest stage, batting .500 in Omaha. Through two games, he's also recorded two RBI and three runs.

When a leadoff hitter is this dominant, it boosts the entire offense. 


David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.