After recovering from the super regionals, the 2016 College World Series finally got underway Saturday with the first two games from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
The eight teams left standing will compete in separate brackets, with Bracket 1 up first on Saturday. It is a double-elimination format, which gives those teams that aren't successful Saturday and Sunday another chance to keep their dream of winning a national title alive.
Here's a look at the scores from Saturday's games, the bracket standings and what went down in Nebraska on the opening day of the College World Series.
|2016 College World Series Results - Saturday, June 18|
|Matchup||Result/Start Time (ET)|
|UC Santa Barbara vs. Oklahoma State||Oklahoma State 1, UC Santa Barbara 0|
|Arizona vs. No. 3 Miami||Arizona 5, Miami 1|
|2016 College World Series Bracket Standings|
|Bracket 1||Bracket 2|
|Arizona (1-0)||No. 1 Florida (0-0)|
|Oklahoma State (1-0)||No. 5 Texas Tech (0-0)|
|No. 3 Miami (0-1)||TCU (0-0)|
|UC Santa Barbara (0-1)||Coastal Carolina (0-0)|
Oklahoma State def. UC Santa Barbara, 1-0
As it has done throughout the NCAA tournament, Oklahoma State got a great pitching performance to defeat UC Santa Barbara 1-0 in the opening game of the College World Series.
Cowboys starter Thomas Hatch tossed a complete game, allowing just five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He lowered his ERA to 1.90 en route to his fourth complete game of the year.
Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.com said that "no one has been better than Hatch" since the tournament began.
The right-hander has not allowed a run in three starts since June 3, allowing 15 hits with 20 strikeouts and five walks in 23 innings. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Hatch's four shutouts this season are tied for the most in Division I.
It's been a good month for Hatch, who was also drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the third round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.
The only offense Oklahoma State needed came in the fourth inning when Garrett Benge singled to score Corey Hassel, via NCAA Baseball:
UC Santa Barbara had only one runner reach third base, which happened in the second inning. After that, the Gauchos had just three singles. They did have life in the ninth inning when Devon Gradford singled to left field, but Hatch struck out Austin Bush to end the game.
Shane Bieber was the hard-luck loser for UC Santa Barbara. The Cleveland Indians' draftee pitched a complete game of his own, allowing just one run on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
The loss puts pressure on UC Santa Barbara, which has an elimination game Monday against the loser of Arizona vs. Miami, but that's nothing new for this team. The Gauchos went to Louisville and swept two games against the Cardinals, who had won their previous 22 home games.
Oklahoma State has all the confidence in the world with a pitching staff that's allowed a total of six runs in six games this month. The Cowboys picked a great time to play their best baseball of the season and look like the team to beat in Bracket 1 after another dominant pitching performance.
Arizona def. Miami, 5-1
After knocking out national title contender Mississippi State in the super regionals, Arizona continued its take-down of top teams with a 5-1 win over Miami.
Arizona used a three-run first inning and a solid pitching performance from Nathan Bannister to starts its College World Series in the winner's bracket. Miami, who is the only national seed in Bracket 1 at No. 3 overall, is now one more loss away from ending its season.
Miami ace Michael Mediavilla entered the game with 11 wins, but he struggled early. He walked a pair of Wildcats and hit two more in the first inning to allow his first run before an RBI single from Jared Oliva extended the lead to 3-0.
Mediavilla would allow two more runs in the fifth inning, and he was subsequently pulled after 92 pitches with six hits allowed. Rogers noted that Mediavilla's poor start could not have come at a worse time for the Hurricanes:
The run support was plenty for Bannister, as he threw seven strong innings while allowing one run and eight hits. He also struck out 11 batters, twice including Zack Collins, who was taken 10th overall in the 2016 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox.
Cameron Ming came on to pitch two scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Hurricanes are a talented team that averages seven runs a game, but they struggle to play from behind, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
Arizona has shown recently that it is a legitimate threat to win this tournament. The team is getting timely hitting and sufficient pitching to stifle teams with more natural ability. The Wildcats will have another tough matchup with Oklahoma State, but there should be no reason to believe they cannot pull out a win.
Miami should still feel confident, but it needs to find some early offense for the rest of the competition to give itself the best chance to win. The Hurricanes have a championship pedigree and endured the rugged schedule of the ACC this season, so they will have a say on who emerges from Bracket 1.
Game statistics are courtesy of NCAA.com.
Team statistics are courtesy of NCAA.org.