With South Carolina bringing Kent State's season to an end, all we are left with at the College World Series are powerhouse teams from major conferences.
Despite not having a darling the world can get behind, the intrigue with the final four teams is incredibly high. As we found out with Kent State vs. Florida, you can't predict baseball.
Here is a breakdown of the four teams who will go all-out over the next five days (maximum) to determine who the best team in college baseball is.
Florida State Seminoles (50-16, 2-1 in College World Series)
While the Seminoles don't boast a lot of elite Major League talent, they have been as consistent as any team in the country. They are looking to win their first College World Series championship, but are clinging to life and will have to beat Arizona twice to make the final game.
Strengths: Patient Approach, High-Scoring Offense
Weaknesses: Pitching, Consistency
There may not be a more fun team to watch than Florida State. This team can provide entertainment like few teams in college baseball can, regardless of whether they are winning or losing.
The pitching has stepped up in the College World Series, yet the team is so reliant on the offense to score a lot of runs, which it can do, that they could lose tonight against Arizona.
Arizona Wildcats (45-17, 2-0 in College World Series)
To me, there are two teams who have separated themselves from the pack. Arizona is one of them—we will get to the other one in a bit. The Wildcats have been the best team in this tournament, knocking off Florida State in extra innings in the first game and shutting out a good UCLA team to make it to this point.
Strengths: Starting Pitching, Big Innings
Weaknesses: Firepower, Layoff
Winning the first two games of the College World Series does come with a little price, as the Wildcats haven't played a game since June 17. Some teams who get red hot want to keep playing, and if they don't, they lose whatever spark they had going.
The good news for Arizona is that their pitching has been so good in the postseason, and their offense has been able to turn in big innings throughout the NCAA Tournament. Any worries about them should be tempered.
South Carolina Gamecocks (47-18, 2-1 in College World Series)
The two-time defending champions keep staring elimination right in the face, yet seem to figure out how to stay alive every time. The Gamecocks took out Kent State on Thursday afternoon and will have to come back against Arkansas on Thursday night.
Strengths: Pitching, Defense
Weaknesses: Power, Bad Matchup
The Gamecocks can pitch and catch as well as any team in the country. They have made it to this point thanks in part to their ability to do the basic fundamental things we tend to take for granted.
However, when they have to score runs, as they will against Arkansas, I am skeptical about their ability to keep up. They don't have a dynamic offensive team, but when they get hot, they can keep up with anyone.
Arkansas Razorbacks (46-20, 2-0 in College World Series)
Arkansas is the other team that has impressed a lot this College World Series. This team is stacked with a lot of Major League talent, led by starting pitcher Ryne Stanek. I can see them sweeping their way to a title.
Strengths: Starting Rotation, Deep Bullpen
Weaknesses: Inconsistent Offense
I love Arkansas' pitching, especially with a lot of time to get their rotation and bullpen set up. While I was skeptical about Arizona having such a long layoff, the Razorbacks just seem like they are ready to take Omaha by storm over the next few days.
I don't think they will have any problems getting rid of a South Carolina team that had to play twice in one day, en route to making it to the Championship Series.