College World Series 2019: TV Schedule and Predictions from Omaha

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

Kumar Rocker led Vanderbilt to the College World Series by tossing a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts.
Kumar Rocker led Vanderbilt to the College World Series by tossing a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts.Wade Payne/Associated Press

With Oregon State among the top contenders already ousted, the NCAA will crown a new champion at this year's College World Series.

An SEC-heavy field still features plenty of potent teams, three of which (Arkansas, Texas Tech and Mississippi State) return to Omaha, Nebraska, for the second straight year. Another three (Auburn, Florida State and Michigan) ended the season unranked.

The eight remaining clubs will split up into two double-elimination brackets, and two will advance to vie for the title in a best-of-three series. Let's take a look at the full College World Series schedule, courtesy of NCAA.com, and make some predictions for Omaha's action.


College World Series Schedule

Saturday, June 15

Game 1: Texas Tech vs. Michigan, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 2: Arkansas vs. Florida State, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Sunday, June 16

Game 3: Vanderbilt vs. Louisville, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Mississippi State vs. Auburn, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Monday, June 17

Game 5: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 6: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Tuesday, June 18

Game 7: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 8: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Wednesday, June 19

Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Thursday, June 20

Game 10: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Loser, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Friday, June 21

Game 11: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

Friday, June 21

Game 12: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Saturday, June 22

Game 13 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 14 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Monday, June 24

CWS Finals Game 1: TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Tuesday, June 25

CWS Finals Game 2: TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Wednesday, June 26

CWS Finals Game 3 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN



Michigan's Improbable Run Ends

Michigan advanced to the College World Series by shocking top-ranked UCLA.
Michigan advanced to the College World Series by shocking top-ranked UCLA.Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press/Associated Press

The Wolverines, who lucked out by avoiding Oregon State in their regional bracket, stunned the nation's top-ranked UCLA Bruins in the super regionals. They'll hope to stay hot in their first College World Series appearance since 1984.

Michigan has the pitching to stay alive. In fact, the school's 3.47 ERA is the lowest of the eight teams playing in Omaha. Shortly before celebrating the 22-year anniversary of Michael Jordan's Flu Game, Tommy Henry had one of his own Sunday to upend UCLA.

Per Angelique S. Chengelis of the Detroit News, head coach Erik Bakich marveled over Henry stifling the Pac-12 powerhouse to just two runs in an elimination game.

"That was one of the gutsiest performances I've ever seen in college athletics," Bakich said. "That kid looked like he was on his death bed. He was in the ER with an IV hooked up to him 48 hours earlier. We thought there was no way he was going to be able to pitch, and if he did pitch maybe he could give us a couple of innings. For him to go seven innings in a quality start, just tremendous, inspirational pitching performance."

The offense is a bigger question mark. Dating back to the Big Ten tournament, Michigan has plated 78 runs in 12 games. Most of that production came in a pair of 17- and 18-run outbursts before narrowly outscoring the Bruins, 11-9, through three tightly contested showdowns.

While Michigan possesses plenty of patient hitters who can create activity on the basepaths, the club is collectively slugging .448. That's good for 43rd among all Division I teams prior to the CWS, but the Wolverines happen to share a bracket with two potent lineups. Arkansas (.491) and Texas Tech (.471) respectively rank 10th and 20th in slugging percentage.

Michigan survived some pitching duels against UCLA's aces, but it may have a tougher time piling up the runs needed to conquer this power-packed grouping.  


Arkansas Returns to CWS Final

Arkansas will need some strong starts in Omaha from ace Isaiah Campbell.
Arkansas will need some strong starts in Omaha from ace Isaiah Campbell.Michael Woods/Associated Press

Arkansas was one out away from capturing its first national title last year. A defensive miscue extended Oregon State's life, and the Beavers rallied to take a must-win Game 2 before capturing the ensuing winner-take-all bout. 

The Razorbacks have a chance for redemption this month. Intent on avoiding further heartbreak, they pummeled Ole Miss by a combined 30-run margin in three super-regional routes. The onslaught improved their scoring average to a demonstrative 7.6 runs per game, and five of their regular starters are batting .317 or higher. 

One of four SEC teams still standing, Arkansas doesn't have the same pitching depth behind ace Isaiah Campbell. When he's on the mound, however, the nation's No. 5-ranked squad is nearly unstoppable.

The 6'4" righty, drafted with the 76th pick by the Seattle Mariners, has posted a 2.26 ERA with 115 strikeouts in 111.1 superb innings. Pairing his elite production with heavy helpings of run support has led him to notch 12 victories in 17 starts. 

Campbell should get Arkansas started on the right path, and the offense shouldn't have much trouble hitting Florida State (4.67 ERA) or Texas Tech (4.00 ERA). Yet another chance at the final series may not result in a different ending.


Vanderbilt Takes the Title

Vanderbilt is the front-runner behind star slugger JJ Bleday.
Vanderbilt is the front-runner behind star slugger JJ Bleday.Wade Payne/Associated Press

Despite its stronghold as an NCAA juggernaut, Vanderbilt have parlayed seven regional championships in the last 15 years into one lonely title. Five years after capturing that championship, the Commodores are poised to add another trophy to their mantle.

Firing on all cylinders, an 18-5 beating by Duke serves as their only blemish on the road to Omaha. They had previously won 11 straight games, cumulatively outscoring the opposition 104-41.

The one defeat didn't derail their momentum. The following game, with their season on the line, freshman Kumar Rocker gained vengeance on the Blue Devils by getting 19 strikeouts in a dominant no-hitter.


History. The final out of Kumar Rocker's NO HITTER! #RoadToOmaha | @VandyBoys https://t.co/Lk8krceRSy

As ESPN Stats & Info noted, no MLB pitcher has ever tallied more than 17 strikeouts in a no-hitter.

Rocker now owns a 3.50 ERA with 98 strikeouts and 15 walks in 87.1 innings, but he's not even the rotation's top performer this season. Mason Hickman and Patrick Raby have also each struck out over a batter per frame with ERAs of 2.23 and 2.82, respectively. Paired with an offense possessing a .944 OPS, those three aces make Vanderbilt the favorites in just about every encounter.

Led by JJ Bleday, the No. 4 MLB draft pick who's batting .350 with 26 home runs, the Commodores are too stacked in every facet to pick against. While any team can lose twice, they're well positioned to win it all. 


Note: All stats courtesy of NCAA.com and school athletic pages.