NCAA Super Regional Tournament review
Four teams represented the Southeastern Conference in the recent NCAA Super Regionals, but only two squads advanced to the College World Series.
LSU defeated Oklahoma in two straight games to advance to the series for the 16th time in school history. The Tigers relied on dominant pitching in the first game in squeezing out a 2-0 victory. LSU easily won 11-1 in the second game behind a two-hit shutout from pitcher Aaron Nola. The Tigers (57-9) tied the school record for wins in a season. LSU plays in Omaha on Sunday (June 16) against UCLA.
Mississippi State knocked off Virginia on the road, and the Bulldogs advanced to their ninth College World Series. MSU won its first game, 11-6, behind a solid hitting performance. Mississippi State then edged Virginia, 6-5, despite a ninth-inning rally from the Cavaliers. The Bulldogs (48-18) take on Oregon State on Saturday (June 15).
South Carolina lost its series to North Carolina, 2-1. The Gamecocks fell 6-5 in the opening game but rebounded with an 8-0 victory.
In the third and final game, the Tar Heels narrowly defeated the Gamecocks, 5-4. South Carolina had made three consecutive College World Series appearances, including back-to-back national titles in 2010 and 2011. The Gamecocks finished the season 43-20.
SEC regular season champion Vanderbilt was upset at home by Louisville. The Commodores lost 5-3 and 2-1, ending what had been an incredible season. Vanderbilt set the SEC record for most wins in a season with 26. The Commodores finished the season 54-12.
NCAA College World Series preview
Joining LSU and Mississippi State in the College World series are UCLA, Oregon State, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina and N.C. State. The eight teams are divided into two separate brackets in a dou-ble elimination tournament similar the first round of the tournament. The College World Series starts Saturday (June 15) and the championship series begins June 24.
Bracket 1: Mississippi State vs. Oregon State, Indiana vs. Louisville.
Oregon State is the clear favorite of this bracket, although the other three teams are coming off of major upsets in the Super Regionals. The Beavers have plenty of experience in the College World Series, and they should win this side of the bracket and reach the championship series.
Bracket 2: North Carolina vs. N.C. State, LSU vs. UCLA.
LSU and North Carolina are both powerhouse programs with championship pedigree. Both teams are expected to win their opening games, and the Tar Heels and the Tigers have the potential to win the championship. LSU played in a tougher league this season, and the Tigers should slide past the Tar Heels en route to the championship series.
NCAA Championship prediction: LSU over Oregon State.