Sixteen teams scrap it out for a CWS spot

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June 10th, 2011

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Omaha, NE- Sixty-four teams made it to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, otherwise known as the Regionals. Of the 64, 16 have made it to this weekend’s Super Regionals. The winners of the eight match-ups this weekend will advance to Omaha and the College World Series.

The entrance to the new home of the College World Series, where fans will be eagerly waiting in line come June 18th.

Connecticut should consider itself lucky to still be around, as UConn lost to Coastal Carolina last Friday 13-1. They did however win the next four games with a combined score of 46-15. Don’t count them out against the number three seed, South Carolina, as this should be one of the better match-ups of the Super Regionals.

Throughout the entire NCAA Tournament field, Dallas Baptist is the big surprise this year. They have been a Division I team for a mere seven years. Though, if they make it all the way to the College World Series, you won’t be able to call them a surprise team anymore. With wins against Oklahoma State, Rice, Texas Tech, and beating Texas Christian and Oklahoma twice, it may be safe to call them real contenders already. They have a barrage of offensive weapons and are second in the nation in runs scored per game with 8.7. They take on a scrappy Cal team, which is the first appearance in the Super Regionals for both teams.

College World Series banners blanket the light posts around downtown Omaha.

There were several teams with a real chance for a summer stop in Omaha who fell short. A run of teams who were sent home early include: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Fresno State, Southern Mississippi, UCLA, TCU, Georgia Tech and Arkansas.

Here are a handful of the 16 teams who will play this weekend for a shot at Omaha and for the summer classic.

Top-seeded Virginia is 52-9 overall this season, and they own the best overall team ERA since 2005 with a meager 3.26. Fellow Atlantic Coast Conference program North Carolina leads the nation in postseason wins since 2006 with 35 and this season, they have taken 331 walks and laid down 31 sacrifice bunts.

Florida has seven regulars batting over .300, so they certainly have the firepower to compete with anyone. However, they lack when it comes to overpowering pitching, but they are an experienced SEC team and that can’t be taken for granted.

Texas will face Arizona State in Austin this weekend. The Longhorns are a hard-working bunch who get it done with defense and superior pitching. Texas boasts the best bullpen in the Super Regionals behind Vanderbilt.

Speaking of Vanderbilt, the Commodores bullpen is said to be so good that when leading after six innings, the game is as good as done. Vanderbilt possesses eight batters who hit above the .300 mark and have a combined record of 24-4 from their top two pitchers. A combination of an otherworldly bullpen, as good as it gets hitting and ace pitching, gives Vanderbilt as close as there is to a sure thing to make it to Omaha.

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