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College World Series Preview Capsules
Question of the Day
A capsule look at the eight teams competing in the College World Series, which starts Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Neb. (Coaches' records at current schools through super regionals):
CWS Seed: 1.
Coach: Brian O'Connor (370-128-1, eighth season).
Road To Omaha: Won Charlottesville Regional: beat Navy 6-0, beat St. John's 10-2, beat East Carolina 13-1. Won Charlottesville Super Regional: beat UC Irvine 6-0, lost to UC Irvine 6-4, beat UC Irvine 3-2.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 1-3 (vs. North Carolina).
Last CWS appearance: 2009.
All-time record in CWS: 1-2 (second appearance).
Meet The Cavaliers: C John Hicks (.340, 7, 57), 1B Jared King (.333, 2, 28), 2B Keith Werman (.210, 0, 29), SS Chris Taylor (.310, 2, 48), 3B Steven Proscia (.335, 8, 58), LF John Barr (.283, 0, 33), CF Kenny Swab (.314, 1, 29), RF David Coleman (.366, 2, 39), DH Danny Hultzen (.320, 1, 35). Starting Pitchers: LHP Danny Hultzen (12-3, 1.49), RHP Will Roberts (11-1, 1.58), RHP Tyler Wilson (8-0, 2.29), RHP Cody Winiarski (6-3, 3.04). Relievers: RHP Branden Kline (4-10, 2.15, 17 saves), LHP Kyle Crockett (3-0, 1.73), RHP Corey Hunt (1-0, 2.81), RHP Whit Mayberry (5-0, 3.03, 1 save), RHP Justin Thompson (3-1, 3.35), LHP Scott Silverstein (1-0, 3.86).
All-Star Alumni: Eppa Rixey, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, Brian Buchanan, Mike Cubbage, Hank Foiles, Seth Greisinger, Ricky Horton.
Short Hops: Cavaliers, who set school record for wins, trying to become only second No. 1 overall seed to win CWS since NCAA expanded to current tournament format in 1999 _ when top-seeded Miami won it all. ... Trying to become first ACC team (along with North Carolina) to win CWS since Wake Forest in 1955. ... Made it to Omaha after pulling off ninth-inning comeback with two outs and trailing by run in super regional championship vs. UC Irvine. ... Of Virginia's 13 runs scored in super regionals vs. UC Irvine, eight came with two outs. Cavaliers have also scored 33 of 42 runs in NCAA tournament with two outs. ... O'Connor is a former Creighton pitcher whose likeness is carved on "Road To Omaha" statue that stood in front of Rosenblatt Stadium for years and is now at CWS' new home at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. ... Hultzen was first player to be named ACC pitcher of year twice in career, and was No. 2 overall draft pick by Mariners. ... Roberts tossed first perfect game in school history in March, striking out 10 in win over George Washington. It was also eighth NCAA Division I nine-inning perfect game since 1957. Roberts also threw Cavaliers' first NCAA tournament shutout in win over Navy. ... Proscia is school's career RBIs leader.
Quotable: "I'm speechless right now. This is a dream come true. A player can only dream of a moment like this." _ Taylor, who had the winning two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth against UC Irvine that lifted Cavaliers into CWS.
CWS Seed: 2.
Coach: Kevin O'Sullivan (173-80, fourth season).
Road To Omaha: Won Gainesville Regional: beat Manhattan 17-3, beat Miami 5-4, beat Miami 11-4. Won Gainesville Super Regional: beat Mississippi State 11-1, lost to Mississippi State 4-3, beat Mississippi State 8-6.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 4-3 (1-2 vs. South Carolina, 3-1 vs. Vanderbilt).
Last CWS appearance: 2010.
All-time record in CWS: 8-13 (seventh appearance).
Meet The Gators: C Mike Zunino (.376, 18, 66), 1B Austin Maddox (.280, 6, 35) or Vickash Ramjit (.394, 1, 7), 2B Josh Adams (.329, 6, 42), SS Nolan Fontana (.301, 5, 47), 3B Cody Dent (.191, 0, 5) or Ramjit, LF Daniel Pigott (.339, 5, 39, 15 SBs) or Tyler Thompson (.273, 1, 17), CF Bryson Smith (.323, 2, 20), RF Preston Tucker (.314, 14, 68), DH Brian Johnson (.312, 5, 27) or Pigott. Starting Pitchers: RHP Hudson Randall (10-3, 2.29), RHP Karsten Whitson (8-0, 2.45), LHP Alex Panteliodis (6-2, 3.95), LHP Brian Johnson (8-3, 2.66). Relievers: RHP Austin Maddox (2-0, 0.74, 5 saves), LHP Nick Maronde (0-0, 2.03, 2 saves), RHP Greg Larson (1-1, 2.19), RHP Tommy Toledo (6-3, 3.41), RHP Anthony DeSclafani (5-3, 4.36, 3 saves), LHP Steven Rodriguez (3-2, 1.72, 2 saves).
All-Star Alumni: Al Rosen, David Eckstein, Robby Thompson, Brad Wilkerson, Mike Stanley, Mark Ellis, Josh Fogg, Matt LaPorta, Ryan Raburn, David Ross, Doug Corbett, Rob Murphy.
Short Hops: Gators making back-to-back trips to Omaha for first time in program history. ... Florida has won 50 or more games for just third time in school history, joining 1991 and '96 Gators squads. ... Gators hoping to get back the versatile Johnson, who has been sidelined since May 28 with a mild concussion, suffered when he was hit in back of head on throw by Zunino. Also looking to get Maddox back after he sprained foot during regionals. ... Zunino was selected as SEC player of year, and a finalist for Johnny Bench Award given to college baseball's best catcher. ... Whitson has had superb season after being drafted by Padres ninth overall a year ago, but opting to attend Florida. ... Dent is son of former big league SS and manager Bucky Dent. ... Adams has appeared in 248 games for Gators, a school record. ... Panteliodis holds school record for most NCAA postseason starts with six. ... Tucker has 202 career RBIs, joining Brad Wilkerson (214) and Matt LaPorta (206) as only Gators players to reach 200.
Quotable: "I think it was one of the best games that I have been involved with." _ O'Sullivan on his team's Omaha-clinching 8-6 victory after coming back from late 6-4 deficit against Mississippi State.
NORTH CAROLINA (50-14)
CWS Seed: 3.
Coach: Mike Fox (588-244-1, 13th year).
Road To Omaha: Won Chapel Hill Regional: beat Maine 4-0, beat James Madison 14-0, beat James Madison 9-3. Won Chapel Hill Super Regional: beat Stanford 5-2, beat Stanford 7-5.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 3-1 (vs. Virginia).
Last CWS appearance: 2009.
All-time record in CWS: 14-17 (ninth appearance).
Meet The Tar Heels: C Jacob Stallings (.287, 1, 38), 1B Jesse Wierzbicki (.298, 7, 40), 2B Tommy Coyle (.318, 2, 36, 18 SBs), SS Levi Michael (.300, 5, 48), 3B Colin Moran (.335, 9, 69), LF Chaz Frank (.278, 0, 35), CF Ben Bunting (.278, 1, 38, 17 SBs), RF Seth Baldwin (.248, 5, 26), DH Brian Holberton (.253, 1, 15). Starting Pitchers: RHP Patrick Johnson (13-1, 2.27), LHP Kent Emanuel (8-1, 2.55), RHP Chris Munnelly (6-5, 4.11). Relievers: RHP Michael Morin (4-2, 4.71, 10 saves), LHP Tate Parrish (0-0, 2.35), RHP Andrew Smith (3-1, 2.77), RHP Shane Taylor (2-3, 3.00), RHP-DH Greg Holt (7-1, 3.65, 2 saves; .403, 3, 23), LHP R.C. Orlan (2-0, 3.77).
All-Star Alumni: B.J. Surhoff, Walt Weiss, George "Snuffy" Stirnweiss, Chris Iannetta, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, Russ Adams, Daniel Bard, Scott Bankhead, Scott Bradley, Clyde King, Andrew Miller, Paul Shuey.
Short Hops: Tar Heels have made it to College World Series for fifth time in six seasons _ 13th team in NCAA history to accomplish feat. ... Fox, who has been part of all 14 wins by school in CWS, is one of just six to reach Omaha as player and then guide alma mater back as head coach, joining Mike Gillespie (Southern California), George Horton (Cal State Fullerton), Jack Kaiser (St. John's), Mark Marquess (Stanford) and Joe Russo (St. John's). ... North Carolina has 2.00 ERA during NCAA tournament, has outscored opponents 39-10 and enters CWS with school-record fielding percentage of .979. ... Johnson has won six straight, and has 0.60 ERA in last 45 innings. Had shutout streak of 30 2-3 IP snapped vs. Stanford in super regionals. Could become just second Tar Heels pitcher to win 14 games, joining Greg Norris (1978). ... Emanuel is Tar Heels' first freshman with eight wins since Daniel Bard and Robert Woodard in 2006. ... Stallings is son of Kevin Stallings, men's basketball coach at Vanderbilt. ... Moran, ACC freshman of year, is nephew of Surhoff, former Tar Heels star and major league All-Star. Brother, Brian, was also All-American at North Carolina and plays in Seattle organization.
Quotable: "I've kind of known. ... I told them three or four weeks ago that I felt that deep down inside that we were going to go back, and they did it. What a great credit to them." _ Fox, after Tar Heels clinched fifth trip to Omaha in six years by beating Stanford.
SOUTH CAROLINA (50-14)
CWS Seed: 4.
Coach: Ray Tanner (684-296, 15th season).
Road To Omaha: Won Columbia Regional: beat Georgia Southern 2-1, beat Stetson 11-5, beat Stetson 8-2. Won Columbia Super Regional: beat Connecticut 5-1, beat Connecticut 8-2.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 4-3 (2-1 vs. Florida, 2-2 Vanderbilt).
Last CWS appearance: 2010 (national champions).
All-time record in CWS: 23-17 (10th appearance).
Meet The Gamecocks: C Robert Beary (.292, 3, 35) or Brady Thomas (.311, 4, 39), 1B Christian Walker (.359, 10, 60), 2B Scott Wingo (.338, 4, 27), SS Peter Mooney (.277, 3, 34), 3B Adrian Morales (.286, 3, 38), LF Steven Neff (.254, 5, 7) or Jake Williams (.279, 2, 38), CF Evan Marzilli (.299, 3, 30), RF Williams or Beary, DH Thomas. Starting Pitchers: LHP Michael Roth (13-3, 1.02), RHP Colby Holmes (7-3, 3.78), RHP Forrest Koumas (6-1, 3.07). Relief Pitchers: RHP Matt Price (5-3, 2.25, 17 saves), RHP John Taylor (6-1, 1.27), RHP Patrick Sullivan (2-0, 1.35, 1 save), RHP Jose Mata (3-0, 1.76, 1 save), LHP Tyler Webb (3-1, 3.21), LHP Bryan Harper (1-0, 5.40, 1 save), LHP Steven Neff (3-1, 2.45).
All-Star Alumni: Mookie Wilson, Brian Roberts, Dave Hollins, Adam Everett, Justin Smoak, Landon Powell, Ed Lynch, Bill Landrum.
Short Hops: Gamecocks trying to become sixth team in Division I history to repeat as CWS champions, joining Oregon State (2006-07), LSU (1996-97), Stanford (1987-88), Southern California (1970-74) and Texas (1949-50). ... Gamecocks have won 11 consecutive postseason games, dating to last year's CWS. ... South Carolina is 42-0 when leading after six innings, and 46-0 when leading after eight. ... Roth has gone 30 consecutive innings, spanning his last four starts, without allowing an earned run. ... OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (.259, 6, 26) was CWS most outstanding player a year ago, but has been sidelined since having surgery on injured tendon in left wrist on April 29. Status for CWS uncertain. ... Wingo is third on school's career games played list with 249, two behind Landon Powell for second. Wingo also holds school career record for hit by pitches with 59 so far in his career. ... Price is three saves shy of tying Blake Taylor's single-season record, set in 2002.
Quotable: "We're going to be back in Omaha in the new park. We won it last year in the old park. This is a new group of guys. Last year was last year. It's a new year, and it's going to be a great one." _ Price after Gamecocks beat Connecticut for return trip to the College World Series.
TEXAS A&M (47-20)
CWS Seed: 5.
Coach: Rob Childress (246-133-2, sixth season),
Road To Omaha: Won College Station Regional: beat Wright State 11-0, beat Seton Hall 6-3, lost to Arizona 7-4, beat Arizona 3-0. Won College Station Super Regional: beat Florida State 6-2, lost to Florida State 23-9, beat Florida State 11-2.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 1-2 (vs. Texas).
Last CWS appearance: 1999.
All-time record in CWS: 2-8 (fifth appearance).
Meet The Aggies: C Kevin Gonzalez (.245, 5, 28), 1B Jacob House (.307, 3, 51), 2B Andrew Collazo (.270, 1, 14, 18 SBs), SS Kenny Jackson (.283, 2, 28), 3B Adam Smith (.244, 6, 26), LF Brandon Wood (.257, 1, 25), CF Krey Bratsen (.331, 0, 36, 31 SBs), RF Tyler Naquin (.390, 2, 44), DH Matt Juengel (.309, 7, 50). Starting Pitchers: RHP Michael Wacha (9-3, 2.12), RHP Ross Stripling (14-2, 2.29, 4 saves), LHP Brandon Parrent (2-4, 4.21). Relievers: RHP Joaquin Hinojosa (2-2, 3.31, 8 saves), RHP Nick Fleece (7-1, 1.44, 3 saves), RHP Kyle Martin (2-2, 3.54, 1 save), LHP Dylan Mendoza (3-2, 4.01), RHP Derrick Hadley (0-1, 5.40).
All-Star Alumni: Chuck Knoblauch, Wally Moon, Davey Johnson, Beau Bell, Cliff Pennington, Mark Thurmond, Casey Fossum, Rip Collins, Jason Tyner.
Short Hops: Aggies back in College World Series for first time since 1999, when they lost their only two games. ... Texas A&M winning despite losing ace RHP John Stilson (5-2, 1.68) to season-ending shoulder injury a few weeks ago. Wacha and Stripling have stepped up to lead pitching staff in absence of Stilson, who was third-round draft pick of Toronto last week. ... Stripling, Aggies' former closer, is first Texas A&M player with 13 wins since Mark Thurmond in 1978. School record is 16 by James Gibson in 1976. ... Wacha has looked every bit an ace as he has allowed just three earned runs in 28 1-3 innings spanning four postseason outings. ... Naquin became third player in school history, joining Jose Duran in 2008 and Jason Tyner in 1998, to win Big 12 player of year honors.
Quotable: "That's the sweetest one I have ever had." _ Childress on Gatorade bath after team topped Florida State and advanced to College World Series.
CWS Seed: 6.
Coach: Tim Corbin (374-187, ninth season).
Road To Omaha: Won Nashville Regional: beat Belmont 10-0, beat Troy 10-2, beat Belmont 6-1. Won Nashville Super Regional: beat Oregon State 11-1, beat Oregon State 9-3.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 3-5 (1-3 vs. Florida, 2-2 vs. South Carolina).
Last CWS appearance: First appearance.
All-time record in CWS: First appearance.
Meet The Commodores: C Curt Casali (.306, 6, 51), 1B Aaron Westlake (.353, 17, 54), 2B Riley Reynolds (.346, 0, 18), SS Anthony Gomez (.343, 0, 45), 3B Jason Esposito (.357, 9, 59, 15 SBs), LF Tony Kemp (.325, 0, 32, 16 SBs), CF Connor Harrell (.281, 7, 30), RF Mike Yastrzemski (.300, 3, 42, 22 SBs), DH Conrad Gregor (.350, 3, 30). Starting Pitchers: LHP Grayson Garvin (13-1, 2.36), RHP Sonny Gray (12-3, 1.97), RHP Taylor Hill (5-1, 2.84). Relievers: RHP Navery Moore (4-2, 1.21, 11 saves), RHP Will Clinard (2-2, 3.03, 3 saves), LHP Kevin Ziomek (3-0, 1.61, 1 save), RHP Mark Lamm (5-0, 2.03, 1 save), LHP Corey Williams (1-0, 5.23, 2 saves).
All-Star Alumni: David Price, Pedro Alvarez, Joey Cora, Scott Sanderson, Rip Sewell, Harvey Hendrick, Jeremy Sowers.
Short Hops: Commodores making first trip to Omaha and have outscored opponents in NCAA tournament 46-6. Contributions have come throughout lineup with six players hitting .316 or better in postseason. ... Westlake became first Commodore to belt three HRs in one game since 1991, accomplishing feat in super regionals-clinching victory over Oregon State. ... Yastrzemski is grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. ... Commodores rank third in Division I with 2.38 ERA entering CWS. ... Gray, 18th overall draft pick by Oakland, has been Friday starter for past two years and is second on school's career list with 27 wins. Set to start Commodores' first CWS game Saturday against North Carolina. ... Garvin was SEC pitcher of year after becoming first to go 10-0 in conference play. Set school record for wins in a season with 13. ... Esposito, second-round pick by Baltimore, is only Commodore to have played in every game last two seasons. ... Bullpen will be without RHP T.J. Pecoraro (7-0, 1.59), who suffered season-ending elbow injury during SEC tournament.
Quotable: "They are a very confident group. I told them they walk on water, but they understand there are rocks underneath the water holding them up so they have a strong sense of humility, too." _ Corbin, after Commodores clinched first trip to Omaha.
CWS Seed: 7.
Coach: Augie Garrido (666-299, 15th season).
Road To Omaha: Won Austin Regional: beat Princeton 5-3, lost to Kent State 7-5, beat Texas State 4-3, beat Kent State 9-3, beat Kent State 5-0. Won Austin Super Regional: lost to Arizona State 3-1, beat Arizona State 5-1, beat Arizona State 4-2.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 2-1 (vs. Texas A&M).
Last CWS appearance: 2009.
All-time record in CWS: 82-55 (34th appearance).
Meet The Longhorns: C Jacob Felts (.211, 1, 20), 1B Tant Shepherd (.305, 5, 40), 2B Jordan Etier (.238, 2, 26), SS Brandon Loy (.344, 1, 30, 19 SBs), 3B Erich Weiss (.358, 4, 44), LF Jonathan Walsh (.253, 2, 27), CF Paul Montalbano (.279, 0, 28) or Cohl Walla (.231, 0, 18), RF Mark Payton (.269, 0, 24), DH Kevin Lusson (.211, 2, 25). Starting Pitchers: RHP Taylor Jungmann (13-2, 1.38), RHP Cole Green (8-3, 3.03), LHP Sam Stafford (6-2, 1.72). Relievers: RHP Corey Knebel (3-2, 1.15, 19 saves), LHP Hoby Milner (7-4, 2.53), RHP Kendal Carrillo (6-1, 2.45, 1 save), RHP Nathan Thornhill (3-0, 1.69), LHP Andrew McKirahan (3-0, 2.95).
All-Star Alumni: Roger Clemens, Dennis Cook, Ron Gardenhire, Jerry Don Gleaton, Burt Hooton, J.P. Howell, Brooks Kieschnick, Keith Moreland, Spike Owen, Shane Reynolds, Bruce Ruffin, Calvin Schiraldi, Huston Street, Greg Swindell, Drew Stubbs.
Short Hops: Longhorns are only Division I team to play in all eight decades of CWS, and are making record 34th appearance. ... Texas won first CWS played at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium, beating Washington State in 1950, and have chance to do same at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. ... This year marks fifth decade that Garrido has led team to College World Series, and is only coach to win titles in four different decades (1979, '84, '95, 2002, '05). ... Longhorns open against Florida Gators _ only other time they've played was in 2005 CWS when Texas beat them twice for national title. ... Jungmann was Big 12 pitcher of year and is finalist for Golden Spikes Award and Howser Trophy, both given to nation's top college player. But both of his losses have come in postseason. ... Knebel, a freshman, enters CWS having tied school single-season record for saves. ... Weiss was named Big 12 freshman of year after solid year at plate.
Quotable: "We are out to win a national championship and it's the first step, we have achieved our goals to win a regional and a super regional, but our overall goal is right out in front of us." _ Loy, on making it back to Omaha.
CWS Seed: 8.
Coach: David Esquer (353-311-2, 12th season).
Road To Omaha: Won Houston Regional: lost to Baylor 6-4, beat Alcorn State 10-6, beat Rice 6-3, beat Baylor 8-0, beat Baylor 9-8. Won Santa Clara Super Regional: beat Dallas Baptist 7-0, beat Dallas Baptist 6-2.
2011 record vs. CWS teams: 0-0.
Last CWS appearance: 1992.
All-time record in CWS: 10-6 (sixth appearance).
Meet The Golden Bears: C Chadd Krist (.304, 2, 43), 1B Devon Rodriguez (.288, 5, 34), 2B Tony Renda (.335, 3, 42) or Derek Campbell (.271, 0, 5), SS Marcus Semien (.277, 5, 35), 3B Mitch Delfino (.260, 4, 20), LF Austin Booker (.319, 1, 24), CF Darrel Matthews (.275, 0, 18), RF Chad Bunting (.276, 7, 23), DH Vince Bruno (.301, 0, 13) or Renda. Starting Pitchers: RHP Erik Johnson (7-4, 2.91), LHP Justin Jones (9-6, 2.93, 1 save), RHP Dixon Anderson (4-3, 3.90). Relievers: RHP Matt Flemer (4-2, 2.08, 5 saves), LHP Kyle Porter (5-0, 1.59, 2 saves), RHP Kevin Miller (6-4, 2.59, 1 save), RHP Logan Scott 1-1, 2.89, 1 save).
All-Star Alumni: Jeff Kent, Jackie Jensen, Sam Chapman, Bob Melvin, Xavier Nady, Geoff Blum, Andy Messersmith, Brennan Boesch, Brandon Morrow, Conor Jackson, Darren Lewis, Mike Epstein, Kevin Maas, Lance Blankenship.
Short Hops: Golden Bears in College World Series for first time since 1992, when they opened against top seed _ as they'll do this year _ and lost to Miami 4-3 in 13 innings. Their last CWS victory came in 1980, when they beat Hurricanes. ... California won first CWS played in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1947, beating Yale team that included future President George H.W. Bush. ... Golden Bears made it to Omaha despite tumultuous season in which program was to be cut because of budget restrictions after this year, but was reinstated for next several years after massive fundraising drive. ... Swept super regionals matchup with Dallas Baptist after barely getting there; they needed to overcome three-run deficit in bottom of ninth of regionals championship vs. Baylor to advance. ... Esquer was starting shortstop on Stanford's 1987 national championship squad. ... Renda became third in school history to win Pac-10 player of year, joining Jon Zuber and Troy Penix, who were co-Southern Division players of year in 1992. He has been hobbled by an injured quadriceps muscle, so will either DH or play 2B depending how it feels. ... Jones questionable after leaving last start with tightness in biceps.
Quotable: "Getting the program cut made us stronger. We played for each other and set everything else aside." _ Johnson, on Golden Bears dealing with adversity this season and getting to Omaha.
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