Days are getting warmer and anticipation is quietly building. There's an undeniable excitement in the air – it's time for the college baseball postseason and the College World Series! This annual tournament, steeped in history and tradition, began in 1947 and has since captivated the hearts of baseball fans nationwide. The reigning champion, Ole Miss, has no shot to defend their title, setting the stage for another thrilling series in Omaha.

The atmosphere in Omaha during this time of year is nothing short of magical. The city comes alive as fans from across the country gather to celebrate their love for college baseball and cheer on their favorite teams. It's a time when old memories of past triumphs and heartbreaks resurface, and new ones are waiting to be made. The nostalgia runs deep, as many fans reminisce about their own experiences playing baseball or recall the first time they attended the College World Series. The tournament's unique format only adds to the excitement. Consisting of a double-elimination bracket, teams from around the nation battle it out for a chance to etch their names into the annals of college baseball history. 

In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the top contenders and dark horse teams vying for a spot in the College World Series. We'll also make some educated predictions based on team statistics, strengths, weaknesses, and notable players. So, sit back, reminisce about your favorite college baseball memories, and let the anticipation build as we prepare for an unforgettable postseason.

Note: The information presented in this blog is based on data up to May 1, 2023. 

Top Contenders: LSU, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Vanderbilt

Louisiana State University (LSU):

LSU (35-8) has consistently maintained their position as the number 1 seed throughout the season. One of their most notable players in the country is Dylan Crews, who, with a .490 batting average in 43 games, is among the best hitters in college baseball. Furthermore, LSU's offensive prowess is evident in their nation-leading .447 on-base percentage and top 10 ranking for home runs, averaging an impressive 10 runs per game. However, their 4.49 team ERA highlights a significant weakness in their pitching depth. Despite this, LSU's ace, Paul Skenes, could round out any MLB rotation tomorrow. Given their performance in the highly competitive SEC, LSU appears poised to leverage their offensive strength in the postseason journey to Omaha.

Wake Forest (WF):

Wake Forest (37-6) possesses the strongest pitching staff in the nation, with a remarkable 2.40 team ERA. Seth Keener, Rhett Lowder, and Josh Hartle lead this formidable staff, contributing to Wake Forest's status as not only the best-coached team but also the most balanced team this season. Their pitching dominance is further emphasized when comparing their ERA to the next closest team, Tennessee, which has a 3.38 ERA. They lead numerous other pitching related categories too. Offensively, Wake Forest boasts a .308 batting average. Although their power numbers may be influenced by the little league field they play on, they remain a challenging matchup for any opposing team. I think Wake wins it all - Offense wins games, pitching wins World Series and the Demon Deacons have tons. 

University of South Carolina (SC):

South Carolina's (35-8) performance indicates a well-rounded team with a 3.55 ERA and a .309 batting average. Freshman Ethan Petry is having a breakout season, with his performance closely rivaling that of Sonny Dichiara's previous year, which is a crazy statement to make considering Petry’s played nearly 20 less games. Additionally, Cole Messina poses a steady threat at the plate. The Gamecocks' potent 1-2 pitching combination of Jack Mahoney and Will Sanders could be instrumental in propelling the team towards another deep run in Omaha but they’ll need to regain their momentum starting this weekend. 

Vanderbilt (Vandy):

Vanderbilt (32-11) relies heavily on their strong pitching and defense, as evidenced by their 3.95 ERA and arguably the best defense in college baseball. While they have solid offensive contributors in RJ Schreck and Chris Maldonado, they lack the typical 'superstar' their teams have previously boasted (i.e. JJ Bleday or Bryan Reynolds). Vanderbilt will need to depend on what has been a very consistent pitching staff, including Devin Futrell, Hunter Owen, and Carter Holton, to make a deep run in the tournament.

Dark Horses: UCONN, Virginia, Louisville

University of Connecticut (UCONN):

While it's hard to call a top 10 team an ‘underdog’, UCONN(32-11) has flown somewhat under the radar this season. The team from Storrs has put together a campaign worthy of recognition and could make some noise in the postseason.

University of Virginia (UVA):

UVA (35-11) has quietly assembled one of the nation's best offenses. With quality postseason experience and three players hitting at .400 (Teel, O'Ferrall, and Anderson), Virginia could be a serious threat if they perform well in the ACC tournament. 


University of Louisville (UofL):

Louisville (28-15), a perennial powerhouse, has had an inconsistent season but still possesses a high ceiling. Led by Jack Payton, the Cardinals need their pitching staff to step up and perform at their best. If the right Louisville team shows up, they have the ability to compete with any team in a three-game series

General Predictions / Thoughts:

  • LSU's lack of pitching depth may prevent them from getting to Omaha
  • Wake Forest's pitching staff will dominate even the strongest SEC offenses
  • Both the ACC and SEC will likely send 10 teams each to the postseason (dependent upon the next three weeks)
  • Dallas Baptist may be Texas' only shot at postseason glory this year
  • UCONN, WVU, Campbell, and East Carolina are all on the fringe as hosts, but if any of them end up as two seeds, an upset could be in the card
  • If South Carolina goes the distance, it will be due to Ethan Petry continuing his historic freshman season
  • The Northeast is poised for a deep run, with Boston College, Maine, University of Connecticut, Central Connecticut State, or Northeastern in the run for postseason glory
  • This postseason, we will likely see another record-breaking number of home runs in college baseball

As we draw closer to the exhilarating College World Series, we hope this analysis has provided valuable insights into the top contenders and dark horse teams in the college baseball postseason. With so much talent and competition on display, we can expect unforgettable moments, breakout performances, and thrilling games that will go down in the annals of college baseball history. This is the perfect opportunity to not only witness the passion and skill of these young athletes but also to deepen your own connection to the sport we all love.

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