The first two games of the College World Series are in the books, and this weekend's games have gotten off to a rousing start.
In an unusual pitcher's duel, the Oklahoma State Cowboys knocked off the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos behind a complete-game shutout from pitcher Thomas Hatch, who struck out seven and allowed only five hits.
The Arizona Wildcats defeated the Miami Hurricanes in convincing fashion to create some intrigue at the top of the bracket.
Sunday is bound to be just as exciting with two teams that are playing really good baseball right now in the TCU Horned Frogs and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
|UC Santa Barbara vs. Oklahoma State||OSU 1-0|
|Arizona vs. Miami||UA 5-1|
|Sunday, June 19||Time (ET)|
|TCU vs. Texas Tech||3 p.m.|
|Coastal Carolina vs. Florida||8 p.m.|
TCU vs. Texas Tech
The Horned Frogs know what it's like to be in the College World Series; this is the third straight year TCU is representing the Big 12 in Omaha, Nebraska. This year, the Frogs aren't the only team representing the conference.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are back in the College World Series for the second time ever and the second time in three years. These two squads are familiar conference rivals but also have some history in the postseason. Texas Tech defeated TCU in 2014 in that year's College World Series.
TCU will have revenge on the brain this time around, and it comes into the CWS on a major roll. Only one game has been decided by one run, and that was against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Fort Worth regional.
Whichever team wins this game will do so because of baserunning, and that's where TCU has the advantage. The Frogs rank 19th in the nation with 95 stolen bases, and designated hitter Luken Baker has been hitting the ball better than most in the postseason with a .409 clip.
But Texas Tech has had the upper hand in this series since 2014, with the Red Raiders holding a 6-5 advantage, but is 72-90 all time against TCU. Recent trends are on Tech's side, however.
It'll be vital for the Red Raiders to keep this game close and give the ball to their bullpen when necessary. Texas Tech has combined for 19 saves.
This is going to be a battle of two teams that have been in this situation before. TCU's offense is clicking at the right time, and its baserunning should be key in this matchup. The Frogs take this matchup, 5-3.
Coastal Carolina vs. Florida
It's a good time to be a Coastal Carolina student, alumni or fan.
The Chanticleers are playing in Omaha for the first time ever, and the program also got some fun news Saturday. Head coach Gary Gilmore was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year.
"He has given so much time and energy to that program and for him to lead his team to the pinnacle of the sport is a testament to his loyalty and dedication," NCBWA executive director Bo Carter said, per the CCU website.
Gilmore leads his 49-win squad, fresh off a stunning win over the LSU Tigers in the super regionals, into Omaha to take on a Florida Gators team that has earned success with its pitching.
This will be a classic matchup between pitching and power. Coastal Carolina leads the country with 94 home runs, while Florida has the sixth-best ERA among pitching staffs in the nation.
"We don't have a superstar on our team,'' Gilmore said, per the Florida Gators website. "We don't have a first-round draft pick guy. We're just a bunch of good country ballplayers that show up and compete. And that's kind of how our lineup is. We just scrap you in the batter's box, and our offense and stuff is built around being able to do multiple things."
These two teams couldn't be more opposite. Never mind the different conferences, but the styles of play are unique. Florida won't win with power, but its pitching rotation is solid. That being said, Coastal Carolina is playing really well, and it's wise to pick the team with momentum on its side.
The Chanticleers' Cinderella run continues with a 5-4 win over the powerhouse Gators.