LOOKING AT THE THREE TEAMS IN SOCAL THAT HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO COMPETE FOR A SPOT IN THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
UCLA and USC may have not gotten a ticket to the postseason, the Trojans finishing at 28-28 and in the middle of the Pac-12 Conference with the Bruins failing to even do that, not scoring a run in its final three games as they ended their sub par season at 25-31.
Which placed them at next-to-last place in the conference.
However, there were three programs in our region that played well enough to secure a spot as one of the 64 squads who, starting on June 3rd, will try to become one of the eight teams in Omaha for the College World Series.
Here’s a look at those three clubs, who incidentally all hail from the Big West Conference…
NOTE: * = led team
UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
Record: 37-18-1 overall, 13-11 and third place in the Big West Conference
Coach: Andrew Checketts (5th year)
Regional: Vanderbilt, as a two seed.
Will play third seeded Washington on Friday at noon (PT)
- Shane Bieber (no relation to Justin), Jr. P: 11-3*, 2.96 ERA, four complete games
- Kyle Nelson, So. P: 7-2, 2.27 ERA, eight saves*
- J.J. Muno, Soph. 2B – .282, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 57 hits*
- Austin Bush, Soph. 1B – .267, 7 HR*, 43 RBI*
Long Beach State slugger Luke Rasmussen, rounding third base during a recent game. Photo courtesy of collegebaseballdaily.com
LONG BEACH STATE 49ers
Record: 36-20 overall, 15-9 and second place in the Big West
Coach: Troy Buckley (6th year)
Regional: Miami, as a three seed
Will play second seeded Florida Atlantic Friday at 10:00 a.m. (PT)
- Darren McCaughan, Soph. P: 10-1*, 1.98 ERA*
- Chris Rivera, Fr. RP: 2-2, 4.00 ERA, 13 saves*
- Daniel Jackson, Jr. C – .326, 5 HR*, 30 RBI
- Brock Lindquist, Soph. OF – .314, 3 HR, 35 RBI
- Luke Rasmussen, Soph. 1B/OF/DH – .293, 5 HR*, 44 RBI*
- Garret Hampton, Jr. SS – .305, 2 HR, 24 RBI
A bunch of Cal State Fullerton players celebrating during a game vs. UC Riverside. Photo courtesy of fullertontitans.com
CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS
Record: 35-21 overall, 17-7 and Big West Champions
Coach: Rick Vanderhook (5th year)
Regional: Mississippi State, as a three seed
Will play second seeded Louisiana Tech Friday at 4:30 p.m. (PT)
- Timmy Richards, Jr. SS – .284, 9 HR*, 31 RBI
- Tanner Pinkston, Sr. 1B/DH – .335, 2 HR, 31 RBI
- Dalton Blaser, Sr. 1B/OF – .362*, 4 HR, 38 RBI*
- Colton Eastman, Fr. P: 8-2, 2.11 ERA
- John Gavin, So. P: 6-3, 2.16 ERA
- Connor Seabold, So. P: 7-5, 2.42 ERA
- Scott Serigstad, Jr. RP: 1-1, 4 saves, 1.13 ERA
A FEW THOUGHTS:
Strictly from looking at the numbers, it seems like Cal State Fullerton’s Titans have the best shot of advancing to the Super Regionals due to their stellar pitching staff, whose highest earned run average among their starters is less than two and a half runs per game.
Having a shortstop who hit nine home runs this season helps as well.
As does their pedigree, with four national championships among their seventeen appearances in the College World Series.
Although Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara (which, in an interesting aside, was the place that my mother wanted me to go to instead of UCLA) are not to be ignored due to their pitching aces’ unreal seasons, as winning ten of more games in college is akin to winning twenty or more games in the major leagues.
It should go without saying that I wish all of these teams and players all the best on their quest.
Where all three of our SoCal college baseball teams in the postseason are aiming to go to – TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE, site of the College World Series. Photo courtesy of ketv.com