Top 5 Players to Watch Out for In College World Series Final
The College World Series starts tomorrow night, and although UCLA and their deep pitching staff are favorites, South Carolina's robust offense will certainly want to have a say about who is the better team. Left fielder Evan Marzilli (above) and the Gamecocks came from the brink of elimination to beat Oklahoma in dramatic fashion and Clemson twice to make it to the finals. UCLA certainly has been the most dominant team throughout the CWS so far, including two wins over an extremely talented TCU ballclub, the second of which got them to this point. Here are the five players that have the best chance of making a difference in this CWS final.
UCLA SPs Gerrit Cole/Rob Rasmussen/Trevor Bauer
Cole, a former Yankee draft pick who ended up not getting signed, showed off his longevity when he struck out 13 TCU batters earlier in the CWS and was throwing 96-97 well into the 7th inning. He should be on the mound in Game 1.
Rob Rasmussen hasn't been in his best form thus far in the CWS, losing to TCU in 4 1/3 IP. He'll most likely pitch in the second game, if UCLA keeps the same rotation going. UCLA will need a better performance from him this time around, though.
Trevor Bauer has been unstoppable in his two CWS appearances with a combined 24 strikeouts. If Game 3 were to occur or if help was needed in Game 2, look for him to contribute.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Only a sophomore, Bradley has fans and sportswriters buzzing over his play in the CWS. He boasts nine RBIs in five CWS games from eight hits. The Virginia native is a home run threat every time he steps up to the plate, and this left handed batter will prove to be a tough out for the right handed pitchers Cole and Bauer.
With a huge home run in the elimination game vs. Clemson, Walker helped carry the Gamecocks to the final. He has come on strong in the CWS after a somewhat sluggish start, so we will see if he continues to ride the wave into the championship.