2018 College World Series team capsules, from A (Arkansas) to Z (Zach Zubia)

Posted June 14th, 2018


OMAHA, Neb. — A capsule look at the eight teams competing in the College World Series, which starts Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha:

Arkansas Razorbacks (44-19)

Road to Omaha: Won Fayetteville regional — beat Oral Roberts 10-2, beat Southern Mississippi 10-2, beat Dallas Baptist 4-3. Won Fayetteville super regional — beat South Carolina 9-3, lost to South Carolina 8-5, beat South Carolina 14-4

CWS profile: 11-16 in 8 appearances (last time 2015); 5-5 vs. CWS teams


First game: Texas, 1 p.m. Sunday (ESPN, 104.9)

The No. 5 seed Hogs’ 94 home runs are fourth nationally and second among CWS teams behind Florida’s 96. … Four players — 3B Casey Martin (.344, 13 HRs, 46 RBIs), 2B Carson Shaddy (.341, 13, 52), LF Heston Kjerstad Kjerstad (.340, 14, 54) and RF Eric Cole (.329, 14, 50) have 13 or more homers. … RHP Blaine Knight (12-0, 2.84 ERA) were taken in first five rounds of draft. … LHP Matt Cronin (2-1, 2.98, 12 saves) needs two saves to break school season record of 13. Other top players — C Grant Koch (.251, 7 HRs, 34 RBIs), LHP Kacey Murphy (8-5, 3.12)

They said it: “It is just pure excitement now. I think we have handled the expectations well. This is a really talented team and we know how good we are. We like the expectation because it makes us play better. I’m so happy for my brothers and excited everything is getting to experience this like I did my freshman year.” — Shaddy.

Florida Gators (47-19)

Road to Omaha: Won Gainesville regional — beat Columbia 13-5, beat Jacksonville 3-2, lost to Florida Atlantic 7-4, beat Florida Atlantic 5-2. Won Gainesville super regional — beat Auburn 8-2, lost to Auburn 3-2, beat Auburn 3-2 in 11 innings

OMAHA, NE – JUNE 27: Players J.J. Schwarz #22 and Jonathan India #6 of the Florida Gators celebrate after beating the LSU Tigers 6-1 to win the National Championship at the College World Series on June 27, 2017 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

CWS profile: 19-22 in 11 appearances, with a national championship in 2017; 2-5 vs. CWS teams

First game: Texas Tech, 6 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2)

This is the No. 1 seed Gators’ seventh CWS appearance since 2010. … Team has three of the top 33 draft picks in 3B Jonathan India (.354, 20 HRs, 48 RBIs), RHP Brady Singer (12-1, 2.30 ERA) and RHP Jackson Kowar (9-5, 3.24). … Florida has hit 15 homers in seven games and 96 for the season, most of the remaining teams. … C Jonah Girand (.161, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs), filling in for the injured JJ Schwarz, homered three times and drove in five runs in the regionals but went 0 for 11 with eight strikeouts in the super regionals. Other top players — RF Wil Dalton (.266, 19, 60), LHP Jordan Butler (6-2, 4.11)

They said it: “If you go back and look, he’s been swinging the bat very well the last three weeks or so. He’s got a lot of natural hit to him.” — Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan, on LF Austin Langworthy hitting his third and fourth homers of the season in the last two games, including walk-off shot in 11th inning against Auburn on Monday

Mississippi State Bulldogs (37-27)

Road to Omaha: Won Tallahassee regional — lost to Oklahoma 20-10, beat Florida State 3-2, beat Samford 9-8, beat Oklahoma 13-5, beat Oklahoma 8-1. Won Nashville super regional — beat Vanderbilt 10-8, lost to Vanderbilt 4-3, beat Vanderbilt 10-6 in 11 innings

CWS profile: 10-18 in 9 appearances (last time 2013); 6-0 vs. CWS teams

First game: Washington, 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)

Gary Henderson took over as interim head coach after Andy Cannizaro resigned for off-field conduct on Feb. 20. … Swept CWS teams Arkansas and Florida in the regular season. … Bulldogs have staved off elimination five times. … RF Elijah MacNamee (.318, 8 HRs, 42 RBIs) hit walk-off homers against Florida State in the regional and Vanderbilt in the super regional. He has five homers in the last eight games. … LHP Konnor Pilkington (81st overall to White Sox) is the highest of seven draft picks. … RHP Cole Gordon (4-3, 4.86 ERA, 3 saves) has struck out 20 in his last 13 innings. Other top players — LF Rowdey Jordan (.333, 7 HRs, 35 RBIs)

They said it: “It’s the best story of the year in college baseball, that’s for sure. To be where we are now after where we were after the first weekend — 14-15, 2-7 and all the numbers you’ve already heard — I couldn’t be more proud of being head coach at Mississippi State.” — Henderson

North Carolina Tar Heels (43-18)

Road to Omaha: Won Chapel Hill regional — beat North Carolina A&T 11-0, beat Houston 4-3, beat Houston 19-11. Won Chapel Hill super regional — beat Stetson 7-4, beat Stetson 7-5

CWS profile: 17-21 in 10 appearances (last time 2013); 0-0 vs. CWS teams

First game: Oregon State, 2 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)

The No. 6 national seed Tar Heels are batting .343 and averaging 9.6 runs per game in the postseason. … Seventh CWS appearance in 13 seasons. … Head coach Mike Fox was a second baseman on the UNC team that went to the CWS in 1978. … Gianluca Dalatri (2-2, 3.08), who came into the season as staff ace, was out 12 weeks with an elbow injury. Other top players — C Brandon Martorano (.247, 9 HRs, 36 RBIs), 1B Michael Busch (.333, 13, 63), RHP Cooper Criswell (6-2, 2.82 ERA), RHP Austin Bergner (7-2, 4.28)

They said it: “They’ll get to experience something that’s going to be a lifetime memory for them. Our coaching staff, trainers, equipment manager and operations people, they’ve all been there, but none of these kids have. They have no idea what they’re getting ready to experience.” — Fox

Oregon State Beavers (49-10-1)

Road to Omaha: Won Corvallis regional — beat Northwestern State 9-3, beat LSU 14-1, beat LSU 12-0. Won Corvallis super regional — beat Minnesota 8-1, beat Minnesota 6-3

CWS profile: 15-10 in 6 appearances (last time 2017), with national championships in 2006 and 2007; 2-1 vs. CWS teams

First game: North Carolina, 2 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)

The Beavers are the No. 3 national seed. … LHP Luke Heimlich (16-1, 2.32 ERA) leads the nation in wins and is third in strikeouts (151). He sat out super regionals and CWS last year when The Oregonian newspaper reported he pleaded guilty to child molestation as a minor. In recent interviews with Sports Illustrated and The New York Times, Heimlich denied wrongdoing. … Beavers’ .320 batting average is highest in CWS field. … 2B Nick Madrigal (.397, 3 HRs, 32 RBIs) leads seven regular starters batting higher than .300. … Beavers had six players taken in first 10 rounds of the draft, led by Madrigal (fourth overall by White Sox), RF Trevor Larnach (20th by Twins) and SS Cadyn Grenier (37th by Orioles). Other top players — C Adley Rutschman (.386, 7 HRs, 70 RBIs), RHP Bryce Fehmel (10-1, 2.87), LHP Jake Mulholland (1-2, 2.37, 15 saves)

They said it: “Our club, I have unbelievable trust in what they’re doing.” — Casey

Kody Clemens of UT hoists the Big 12 championship trophy after beating TCU at Disch-Falk Field on Saturday. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas Longhorns (42-21)

Road to Omaha: Won Austin regional — beat Texas Southern 10-0, beat Texas A&M 8-3, beat Indiana 3-2. Won Austin super regional — lost to Tennessee Tech 5-4, beat Tennessee Tech 4-2, beat Tennessee Tech 5-2

CWS profile: 85-59 in 35 appearances (last time 2014), with national championships in 1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002 and 2005; 2-3 vs. CWS teams

First game: Arkansas, 1 p.m. Sunday (ESPN, 104.9)

The No. 13 seed Longhorns will be making their 36th appearance, 11 more than the next closest team (Miami). … Their 85 CWS wins are 11 more than USC’s 74. … 2B Kody Clemens (.356, 24 HRs, 72 RBIs), the Big 12 player of the year and son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, has hit five home runs and driven in 11 runs in the postseason. … Every recruiting class signed by the late Augie Garrido has made at least one trip to the CWS. Garrido, who stepped down in 2016 after coaching Texas for 20 seasons, was the all-time NCAA wins leader until Florida State’s Mike Martin passed him in May. Garrido died in March. Other top players — C DJ Petrinsky (.261, 9 HRs, 28 RBIs), SS David Hamilton (.294, 5, 36), DH Zach Zubia (.277, 11, 44), RHP Nolan Kingham (8-4, 4.34 ERA), RHP Chase Shugart (6-3, 4.07), RHP Blair Henley (6-6, 3.32)

They said it: “This is definitely what my class and the class above me have been working for. Omaha is the goal.” — Kody Clemens

Texas Tech Red Raiders (44-18)

Road to Omaha: Won Lubbock regional — beat New Mexico State 9-2, beat Louisville 10-4, beat Louisville 11-6. Won Lubbock super regional — beat Duke 6-4, lost to Duke 11-2, beat Duke 6-2

CWS profile: 1-4 in 2 appearances (last time 2016); 1-3 vs. CWS teams

First game: Florida, 6 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2)

Third CWS appearance in five seasons for the No. 13 seed Red Raiders. … 3B Josh Jung (.390, 12 HRs, 78 RBIs) comes in with top batting average among CWS players. .. Highest-scoring (8.3 rpg) and top slugging team (.512) in field. … LF Grant Little (74th overall by Padres) is program’s highest draft pick since 2012. He’s hitting .272 with 12 homers and 73 RBIs. … Red Raiders’ 14-0 start was best in program history, and they set school record with 37-inning shutout streak in February. Other top players — 1B Cameron Warren (.327, 10 HRs, 53 RBIs), SS Michael Davis (.288, 12, 52), DH Zach Reams (.348, 17, 54), RHP Caleb Kilian (9-2, 3.04)

They said it: “Those first two teams were special, too. What I’m really excited about is, there’s a good part of the country that’s going to get to see some of these guys play. They deserve that. There’s some good players there.” — Red Raiders coach Tim Tadlock, on going to his third CWS

Washington Huskies (35-24)

Road to Omaha: Won the Conway regional — beat UConn 7-1, beat Coastal Carolina 11-6, beat UConn 9-6. Won Fullerton super regional — beat Cal State Fullerton 8-5, lost to Cal State Fullerton 5-2, beat Cal State Fullerton 6-5 in 10 innings

Washington’s Joe Wainhouse hits a solo home run against Cal State Fullerton in the fourth inning on June 9, 2018, at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif.  (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

CWS profile: First appearance; 1-2 vs. CWS teams

First game: Mississippi State, 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)

The Huskies were 18-18 after a loss to UT Rio Grande Valley and are 17-6 since. … DH Joe Wainhouse (.312, 19 HRs, 59 RBIs) has five home runs in last six games. … 2B AJ Graffanino (.373, 0 HRs, 19 RBIs) is the team’s highest draft pick, going in the eighth round to Atlanta. … RHP Joe DeMers (7-3, 2.56 ERA) pitched a perfect game in February and is the first Washington pitcher to throw two shutouts in a season since 2011. … Graffanino and Wainhouse are sons of former major leaguers Tony Graffanino and Dave Wainhouse. … Huskies were picked seventh in preseason Pac-12 coaches poll. Other top players — C Nick Kahle (.293, 6 HRs, 35 RBIs), SS Levi Jordan (.302, 8, 42), RHP Alex Hardy (5-2, 2.14, 8 saves)

They said it: “I’m thrilled for our guys. I’m thrilled for the University of Washington. It’s been a long time coming.”— Huskies coach LIndsay Meggs