College World Series 2018: Championship Bracket, TV Schedule and More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 24, 2018

Oregon State's Tyler Malone (7) celebrates with Adley Rutschman (35) and Michael Attalah (40) after hitting a three-run home run against Mississippi State in the third inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball elimination game in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, June 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Arkansas and Oregon State survived a week full of rain delays and contentious competition to reach the championship series of the 2018 College World Series.

The Razorbacks cruised through their side of the bracket, as they defeated Texas, Texas Tech and Florida to reach the title round unscathed.

Oregon State took a more difficult route to the best-of-three final series, as it strung together four straight wins following a loss to North Carolina in its opening game.

The Beavers are in search of their third College World Series title after winning back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007, while the Razorbacks are in search of their first crown.

              

Championship Series Information

Game 1 (June 25): 7 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 (June 26): 7 p.m., ESPN 

Game 3 (June 27): 7 p.m., ESPN*

All Times ET

*If necessary

                           

Arkansas Attempting to Extend SEC's Dominance in Omaha

Arkansas is the fifth SEC team to appear in the championship round of the College World Series since 2010.

During that span, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Florida won national championships, while Mississippi State came up short in 2013.

The Razorbacks established themselves as the dominant SEC program participating in Omaha, Nebraska, this year, as they ran the table in their bracket with three straight wins.

Arkansas appears to have a slight advantage entering Monday's Game 1, as it last played Friday, which means it has a rested pitching staff compared to the Beavers, who played five games in the last week.

Blaine Knight, who is 13-0 with a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts, should take the hill for the Razorbacks in Game 1 after a full week off.

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

In addition to Knight, Arkansas has two other impressive starters in Kacey Murphy and Isaiah Campbell, who should fill out the series rotation.

Dave Van Horn's team has plenty of power at the plate as well, as five Razorbacks hit 10 or more home runs, with Heston Kjerstad and Eric Cole leading the ballclub with 14 each.

The winning formula appears to be simple for the Razorbacks, as they should be able to ride Knight to a Game 1 victory and have their bats tear up the tired Oregon State pitching staff.

If Game 1 goes as well as the first three contests in Omaha for the Razorbacks, they could be celebrating their first national championship by the end of Tuesday night.

            

Oregon State Trying to Keep Magic Alive 

Oregon State entered Omaha as one of the favorites to win it all, but it stumbled out of the gates with a loss to North Carolina.

Since the June 16 defeat, the Beavers have beaten Washington, avenged their loss to the Tar Heels and knocked off Mississippi State twice.

Oregon State's bats have been on fire in the past four games, as they scored 42 runs, with three double-digit run performances worth boasting about.

Nick Madrigal and Trevor Larnach are the catalysts of the Oregon State order, as they combined for eight hits in the pair of victories over Mississippi State.

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

In order to rough up Knight and chase him from Game 1 earlier than expected, Madrigal and Larnach need to be tough at the plate and set the tone for the rest of the lineup.

When it comes to pitching, the Beavers are in decent shape, as they used four pitchers in the two wins over the Bulldogs to reach the championship series.

Since ace Luke Heimlich didn't make it out of the third inning in either of his starts in Omaha, he should be fresh to go for Game 1.

Heimlich has been reliable on the bump for most of the season, as he went 16-2 with a 2.80 ERA. With Knight presumably throwing for Arkansas, Heimlich needs to be at his best to match the Arkansas ace and keep the series opener as tight as possible.

Even if Heimlich falters, the Beavers have the hot bats to pick him up. If the Pac-12 side benefits from the confidence gained over the past four games, it could stun Arkansas and pave a path toward the third national championship in program history.

             

Statistics obtained from team's official websites. Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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