College World Series 2018: Dates, Schedule and Top Contenders

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2018

North Carolina players celebrate following an NCAA super regional college baseball game against Stetson in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, June 9, 2018. North Carolina won 7-5 to advance to the College World Series. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The 2018 NCAA Division l baseball tournament is in full swing.

Four teams (Mississippi State, North Carolina, Oregon State and Washington) have already punched their ticket to Omaha, Nebraska, with Super Regional sweeps, leaving four more spots still to be determined.

So while the field is not yet set, it's never too early to look ahead at who some of the top contenders might be to take home this year's national title.

First, a rundown of when you can watch all of this year's College World Series action:

College World Series 2018 Dates and Schedule
DateGameTime (ET)
6/16Game 13 p.m
6/16Game 28 p.m.
6/17Game 32 p.m.
6/17Game 47 p.m.
6/18Game 52 p.m.
6/18Game 67 p.m.
6/19Game 72 p.m.
6/19Game 87 p.m.
6/20Game 97 p.m.
6/21Game 108 p.m.
6/22Game 113 p.m.
6/22Game 128 p.m.
6/23Bracket 1 (if necessary)3 p.m.
6/23Bracket 2 (if necessary)8 p.m.
6/25CWS Finals Game 17 p.m.
6/26CWS Finals Game 27 p.m.
6/27CWS Finals Game 3 (if necessary)7 p.m.
NCAA.com

Top Contenders

Florida Gators (42-17, No. 1 RPI)

Brady Singer
Brady SingerMatt Stamey/Associated Press

Key Players

SP Brady Singer (14 GS, 11-1, 2.27 ERA, 98 K, 95.0 IP)
SP Jackson Kowar (16 GS, 9-5, 3.37 ERA, 96 K, 98.2 IP)
RP Michael Byrne (31 G, 15 SV, 1.79 ERA, 12.5 K/9)
C JJ Schwarz (.325/.404/.601, 12 HR, 46 RBI)
2B Deacon Liput (.286/.377/.482, 8 HR, 36 RBI)
3B Jonathan India (.360/.500/.729, 19 HR, 47 RBI)
OF Wil Dalton (.269/.339/.574, 19 HR, 57 RBI)

The Gators have been college baseball's top team all season and the reigning champions have their sights set on another trip to the College World Series. First, they'll need to get past an Auburn team that evened the Super Regionals slate at 1-1 on Sunday.

The one-two punch of Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar atop the rotation is as good as any in the country, and the freshman duo of Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich have done an admirable job rounding out the staff.

Offensively, first-round pick Jonathan India continues to perform, and there's no shortage of big-game experience in a lineup that averaged 6.8 runs per game.

          

Arkansas Razorbacks (39-18, No. 3 RPI)

Blaine Knight
Blaine KnightButch Dill/Associated Press

Key Players

SP Blaine Knight (11-0, 2.74 ERA, 88 K, 95.1 IP)
SP Kacey Murphy (8-4, 2.86 ERA, 74 K, 88.0 IP)
RP Matt Cronin (20 G, 12 SV, 3.05 ERA, 11.1 K/9)
2B Carson Shaddy (.331/.430/.620, 11 HR, 43 RBI)
3B Casey Martin (.336/.416/.569, 13 HR, 44 RBI)
OF Eric Cole (.328/.414/.543, 13 HR, 47 RBI)
OF Heston Kjerstad (.344/.428/.577, 13 HR, 52 RBI)

The Razorbacks are tied 1-1 with South Carolina in Super Regional action after the Gamecocks scored an 8-5 victory on Sunday.

If Arkansas can advance to Omaha, the tandem of third-round pick Blaine Knight and 11th-round pick Kacey Murphy will lead a pitching staff that posted an excellent 3.53 ERA on the year—good for 29th in the nation.

Arkansas has never won the College World Series, appearing in the finals just once in 1979 when they lost to Cal State Fullerton.

      

Oregon State Beavers (44-10-1, No. 7 RPI)

Cadyn Grenier
Cadyn GrenierNati Harnik/Associated Press

Key Players

SP Luke Heimlich (15-1, 2.42 ERA, 142 K, 111.2 IP)
SP Bryce Fehmel (10-1, 2.77 ERA, 54 K, 97.1 IP)
RP Jake Mulholland (26 G, 14 SV, 2.43 ERA, 8.3 K/9)
C Adley Rutschman (.380/.479/.577, 6 HR, 66 RBI)
2B Nick Madrigal (.406/.470, 586, 3 HR, 32 RBI)
SS Cadyn Grenier (.328/.415/.478, 5 HR, 44 RBI)
OF Trevor Larnach (.327/.455/.626, 17 HR, 65 RBI)

Nick Madrigal (No. 4 overall) and Trevor Larnach (No. 20) were both first-round picks as headliners of a Oregon State offense that ranked ninth in the nation with 7.5 runs per game.

On the mound, senior Luke Heimlich leads the way as one of the top starters in the nation.

For those already looking ahead to the 2019 MLB draft, sophomore catcher Adley Rutschman is a name to know as he looks like a potential first-round pick after a huge season at the plate.

The Beavers won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, but they have not reached the College World Series finals since. They've already punched their ticket to Omaha after knocking off Minnesota.

     

North Carolina Tar Heels (38-18, No. 8 RPI)

Brandon Riley
Brandon RileyGerry Broome/Associated Press

Key Players

SP Austin Bergner (7-2, 4.30 ERA, 76 K, 75.1 IP)
SP Cooper Criswell (5-2, 2.89 ERA, 77 K, 65.1 IP)
SP Luca Dalatri (2-2, 2.35 ERA, 27 K, 23.0 IP)
RP Josh Hiatt (26 G, 5 SV, 2.93 ERA, 9.6 K/9)
1B Michael Busch (.329/.470/.536, 12 HR, 61 RBI)
3B Kyle Datres (.343/.438/.504, 6 HR, 34 RBI)
OF Brandon Riley (.296/.404/.426, 5 HR, 50 RBI)

The Tar Heels have already advanced to the College World Series after eliminating Stetson in Super Regional action.

A potent offense (6.9 runs per game, 28th in nation) and balanced pitching staff (3.54 ERA, 32nd in nation) have made them one of the most complete teams in the nation this season.

The starting rotation lacks a true ace, and the pitching staff as a whole leans heavily on underclassmen, but they've been up to the task so far.

North Carolina is chasing its first College World Series title, having been the runner-up in both of the aforementioned wins by Oregon State.

         

All stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube and accurate through June 9, unless otherwise noted.

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