Rivalry Week — Omaha Edition
Four SEC West foes, both sides of the Red River Showdown, plus Notre Dame-Stanford converge on Nebraska
With more newly-minted champions such as Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Oregon State unrepresented at this year’s College World Series, a new generation of title-bearer is destined to be crowned. In fact, the most recent Series winner among the 2022 field is Texas, led by the late, great Augie Garrido to its sixth title back in 2005, when gas sold for a mere $2.34 a gallon and Hollaback Girls were all the rage. Though light on updated bling, the ’22 crop is as potent an eight-pack as one might expect.
Texas A&M — The Aggies may be the most well-rested of the bunch, utilizing just four relief pitchers, who collectively held Louisville scoreless in their two-game super regional sweep of the Cardinals. 1B Jack Moss ranks sixth nationally with 99 hits.
Texas — Lurking uncomfortably close to A&M is former and future conference buddy UT. The Longhorns endured weather delays aplenty before finalizing their road sweep of East Carolina in the supers. The ‘Horns led the country with 740 hits.
Notre Dame — Perhaps the unlikeliest of the finalists, the Irish brazenly charged into Knoxville and knocked out the top-seeded Volunteers with a come-from-behind 7–3 win in Sunday’s game three. ND’s three-run seventh and eighth innings buried the Vols.
Oklahoma — The road warrior Sooners took the scenic route to Omaha, first dispatching perennial power Florida in the Gainesville regional, then upending #4 seed Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. OU is deliberate at the plate, rating sixth nationally with 352 walks.
BRACKET CHAMPION: OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Stanford — The Cardiac Cardinal survived elimination games against upstarts Texas State and Connecticut in consecutive home regional rounds before summoning enough second-overall-seed gumption to advance. SU’s .311 team batting average is D-1’s 10th highest.
Auburn — Much in the manner of Notre Dame, the Tigers were able to tune out a raucous road super regional crowd in Corvallis to knock out the #3 Beavers. The slick-fielding War Eagle places 10th in the country with a .981 percentage.
Arkansas — The Hogs proved they could win slugfests in round one, averaging 12 runs per game at the Stillwater regional, then swept UNC in Chapel Hill by 4–1 and 4–3 counts. UA’s middle infield turned a ninth-best 54 double plays.
Mississippi — Had this been March Madness, Ole Miss would almost certainly have been playing a First Four game in Dayton. But the Rebels got hot at the right time, sweeping their super regional against in-state rival Southern Miss by a composite 15–0 tally.
BRACKET CHAMPION: ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
and…the 2022 national champion: ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS