College World Series opens Saturday in Omaha

College World Series
Opening weekend

At TD Ameritrade Park
Omaha, Nebraska

Saturday, June 16

Bracket 1

Oregon State vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m.
Mississippi State vs. Washington, 7 p.m.

Sunday, June 17

Bracket 2

Arkansas vs. Texas, 1 p.m.
Florida vs. Texas Tech, 6 p.m.

Eight to Omaha

Breaking down Bracket 1

Oregon State (49-10-1) The Beavers finished second to Stanford in the Pac 12 standings and earned a No. 3 seed in the national tournament. In the playoffs, they have stormed to a 5-0 record, outscoring opponents 49-8. The Beavers beat Minnesota 8-1 and 6-3 in the Super Regional. Pitcher Luke Heimlich, in two playoff starts, has yielded two runs in 15 and 2/3 innings.

North Carolina (43-18) The Tar Heels won the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division en route to gaining a No. 6 national seed into the playoffs. In five tournament games, the Tar Heels are 5-0, with Michael Busch 10 for 17 with two homers and 11 RBI. Kyle Datres (.344) leads in hitting, followed by Busch (.333). Cooper Criswell (6-2) started and won the opener of the regional and the super regional. Heels swept Stetson for super regional title.

Mississippi State (37-27) The Bulldogs have advanced to the CWS under interim coach Gary Henderson, who took over in February following the resignation of Andy Cannizaro. State finished tied for third in the SEC West. In two playoff series, the Bulldogs have followed the lead of Elijah MacNamee and Jake Mangum to wins in five straight elimination games. On the road in the super regional, they ousted Vanderbilt in three games.

Washington (35-24) The Huskies finished third behind Stanford and Oregon State in the Pac-12 regular season. Shipped to Conway, S.C., they won three straight for the program’s first ticket to a super regional. In Fullerton, Calif., they followed by taking two of three against Cal State-Fullerton for their first CWS trip. Mason Cerillo (.335), Joe Wainhouse (19 HR) and Joe DeMers (7-3, 2.56) lead the Huskies.

Breaking down Bracket 2

Arkansas (44-19) The Razorbacks tied the Ole Miss Rebels for first in the SEC West at 18-12 to earn a No. 5 national seed in the tournament. They have not disappointed, posting a 5-1 record in the NCAA playoffs. After sweeping three games on the first weekend, they won two of three off South Carolina to advance to the CWS. The Hogs have crushed 94 home runs, including 14 apiece by Heston Kjerstad and Eric Cole. Blaine Knight (12-0, 2.84) is the staff ace.

Texas (42-21) After a slow start in February, the Longhorns got hot in May and won five of their last six Big 12 games to win the regular-season title. With a No. 13 national seed, they have followed Kody Clemens to the CWS with a 5-1 playoff record. Clemens is batting .500 in the playoffs with 11 hits, including three doubles and five home runs. The son of former MLB pitching star Roger Clemens has driven in 11 runs. UT pitching and defense combined to shut down explosive Tennessee Tech to win the Super Regional.

Florida (47-19) The defending national champions won the SEC East at 20-10 and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. But on the last weekend of the regular season, the Gators lost star catcher JJ Schwarz to a hand injury. In spite of the setback, Florida has posted a 5-2 record in the playoffs. Pushed to the limit by Auburn in the super regional, they won 3-2 in 11 innings on an Austin Langworthy homer. Jonathan India (.354, 20 HR) is a player of the year candidate.

Texas Tech (44-18) Texas Tech finished third in the Big 12 race and lost two of three at the conference tournament. But the Red Raiders, seeded No. 9 nationally in the NCAA field, have ripped off five victories in six games in the tournament. Slowed by an 11-2 loss to Duke in the second game of the super regional, they hit three home runs in a clinching, 6-2 victory. Former San Antonio schoolboy Josh Jung (.390) leads six players batting .300 or better. Zach Rheams (17 HR) has the power stroke.