Arizona Wildcats

Tempe, Arizona

At-large bid from Pac-12, won Lafayette Regional, won Starkville Super Regional

2016 record: 44-21, 16-14 (third in Pac-12)

Head Coach: Jay Johnson (Point Loma Nazarene)

17th CWS appearance, first since 2012, 38-27 record, 4 national championships (1976, 1980, 1986, 2012)

Five Things

  • Arizona’s 17 CWS appearances rank in a tie for seventh all-time
  • In its last trip to Omaha, the Wildcats won the 2012 national championship. Arizona defeated two-time defending champion South Carolina 5-1 and 4-1 in the championship series.
  • The Wildcats have traveled 13,676 miles and played 15 games in five different stadiums since May 19
  • Coach Jay Johnson was an assistant at San Diego from 2006-13 and was the head coach at Nevada for two years
  • Nathan Bannister (11-2, 2.71) leads the pitching staff with 18 starts, 3 complete games, 132.2 innings pitched and 98 strikeouts. He went 2-0 in two Lafayette Regional starts and was named Most Outstanding Player.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Conway, South Carolina

Automatic bid – won Big South Conference Tournament, won Raleigh Regional, won Baton Rouge Super Regional

2016 record: 49-16, 21-3 (first)

Head coach: Gary Gilmore (Coastal Carolina, 1980)

First CWS appearance

Five Things

  • Coastal Carolina entered the NCAA Tournament with an RPI of 12, the highest not to host a regional
  • The Chanticleers are in the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time in the past 16 seasons
  • Coastal enters the CWS having won 15 of its past 16 games
  • The Chanticleers have hit 94 home runs, the top mark in the country, and have a team slugging percentage of .486. Four players have double-fugure homers, led by Zach Remillard with 19
  • All-American closer Mike Morrison is 7-1 with 11 saves and a 1.06 ERA

#1 Florida Gators

Gainesville, Florida

At-large bid from SEC, won Gainesville Regional, won Gainesville Super Regional

2016 record: 52-14, 19-10 (second in SEC East)

Head coach: Kevin O’Sullivan (Virginia, 1991)

10th CWS appearance, first since 2015, 14-19 record, no national championships

Five Things

  • The Gators are the No. 1 overall seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament
  • UF has won 50 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history
  • The Gators beat FSU for the second straight year in a Super Regional. UF swept the two games a season ago by a combined score of 24-9. Florida dropped the first game of this year’s Super Regional before posting shutouts in the final two games against the Seminoles
  • Kevin O’Sullivan has now taken Florida to the College World Series in five of the past seven seasons
  • First baseman Peter Alonso (.368, 12 HR, 55 RBI) had been out since May 13 with a broken bone in his left hand, but returned two weeks ago and was named Regional MVP after going 8 for 14 with three home runs and eight RBI. In the NCAA tourney, Alonso is 13 for 25 with 4 doubles, 4 homers, 10 runs and 11 RBI

#3 Miami Hurricanes

Coral Gables, Florida

At-large bid from ACC, won Coral Gables Regional, won Coral Gables Super Regional

2016 record: 50-12, 21-7 (first in Coastal Division, won regular-season title)

Head coach: Jim Morris (Elon, 1973)

25th CWS appearance, first since 2015, 48-40 record, 4 national championships (1982, 1985, 1999, 2001)

Five Things

  • Miami made the field for the 44th straight time after winning the ACC regular-season title for the second time in three years; the Hurricanes made their 12th Super Regional appearance and trying to win their first national title since 2001
  • The Hurricanes own a 6-3 series lead over Arizona. The most recent meeting was in the 2008 Coral Gables Super Regional. Arizona won 6-3 in the opener before Miami took Game 2 by a score of 14-10 and won the finale 4-2.
  • Coach Jim Morris has guided a team to the NCAA Tournament 31 straight years, 22 at Miami and nine at Georgia Tech; he eclipsed 1,500 D-I wins during the season and sits at 1,535, which ranks fifth all-time
  • Catcher Zack Collins is one of the best catchers in the country and can flat out hit; he slugs .649, and thanks in part to 75 walks, has an on-base average of .538
  • Hurricanes pitchers, led by Jesse Lapore (9-0, 2.20) and Michael Mediavilla (11-1, 3.11), don’t pile up loads of strikeouts but pitch to contact – they’ve actually allowed more homers (50) than the Canes have hit (49); closer Bryan Garcia (18 SV) is an exception with 54 Ks in 37 innings

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Stillwater, Oklahoma

At-large bid from Big 12, won Clemson Regional, won Columbia Super Regional

2016 record: 41-20, 16-8 (second in the Big 12)

Head coach: Josh Holliday (Oklahoma State, 2004)

20th CWS appearance, first since 1999, 38-36 record, 1 national championship (1959)

Five Things

  • The Cowboys went 5-0 in the Palmetto State in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. OSU went 3-0 at the Clemson Regional and 2-0 at South Carolina in the Super Regional.
  • Coach Josh Holliday’s father is longtime coach Tom Holliday, and his younger brother is Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals; he played in two College World Series and has been an assistant for Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Vanderbilt in Omaha
  • OSU does the little things, leading the Big 12 and ranking 24th in the country in fielding percentage and also ranking 26th in sacrifice bunts
  • The Cowboys also have a bevy of arms and rank in the top 35 in the nation in ERA, shutouts, hits per nine innings and Ks per nine innings; Thomas Hatch leads the way, going 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA; he has 105 strikeouts and is the 13th pitcher in school history to eclipse the century mark
  • Donnie Walton, the son of assistant Rob Walton, is a four-year starter, third on the team in average (.342) and made only seven errors at short all season; and Conor Costello is hitting .367

TCU Horned Frogs

Fort Worth, Texas

Automatic bid – won Big 12 Tournament, won Fort Worth Regional, won College Station Super Regional

2016 record: 47-16, 15-9 (third in Big 12)

Head coach: Jim Schlossnagle (Elon, 1992)

4th CWS appearance, first since 2015, 6-6 record, no national championships

Five Things

  • TCU beat Texas A&M 2-1 in a Super Regional for the second straight year. In 2015, it was in Forth Worth and this year was in College Station
  • The Horned Frogs are returning to the CWS for the third straight year and the fourth time in program history
  • All-American Luken Baker has reached base safely in 35 straight games
  • Cam Warner was named Regional MVP. He went 2 for 6 with 3 RBI in title game
  • TCU has won 14 of its past 16 games

#5 Texas Tech Red Raiders

Lubbock, Texas

At-large bid from Big 12, won Lubbock Regional, won Lubbock Super Regional

2016 record: 46-18, 19-5 (first in Big 12)

Head Coach: Tim Tadlock (Texas Tech, 1982)

2nd CWS appearance, first since 2014, 0-2 record, no national championships

Five Things

  • TTU has the highest team ERA of the 8 CWS squads (4.16). The Red Raiders held ECU to 1 run over the final two Super Regional contests.
  • The Red Raiders have a team batting average of .294, but on-base percentage of .400. TTU has received 336 walks and been hit by 71 pitches. Eric Gutierrez has been plunked 19 times.
  • TTU has nearly doubled its opponents in home runs, 54-28. Three Red Raiders are in double figures in dingers: Gutierrez with 12 along with Tyler Meslony and Stephen Smith with 10.
  • Davis Martin leads the TTU pitching staff with a 9-1 record and 2.73 ERA.
  • Head coach Tim Tadlock was the 2014 College Baseball Hall of Fame National Coach of the Year after taking his alma mater to the College World Series in his second season. He is one of 10 finalists for the Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Award.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos

Santa Barbara, California

At-large bid from Big West, won Nashville Regional, won Louisville Super Regional

2016 record: 42-18-1, 13-11 (third)

Head coach: Andrew Checketts (Oregon State, 1998)

First CWS appearance

Five Things

  • The Gauchos, who hosted a Regional as a No. 1 seed last year, won their first Super Regional and are headed to Omaha for the first time
  • Freshman Sam Cohen hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to give UCSB a 4-3 win at Louisville in the second and deciding Super Regional contest
  • Head coach Andrew Checketts was a pitcher at Oregon State who went 11-1 as a senior and became known for his coaching success of pitchers at UC Riverside and Oregon. He is a finalist for the 2016 Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Award.
  • Junior ace Shane Bieber (12-3, 2.84) has tossed four complete games and is 20-7 over the past two seasons; he leads a young rotation that boasts sophomore Joe Record (6-5) and freshman Noah Davis (6-4)
  • It’s also a young lineup led by sophomores JJ Muno (.294/5/30), Austin Bush (.269/11/49) and Dempsey Grover (.277/2/29) – Bush hit a homer in each of the three Regional wins, including the game-winner in the 14th inning against Washington


About The Author Phil Stanton