Baseball BeatJune 16, 2007
The World Series in June
By Rich Lederer

The 2007 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska got underway last night when Rice rallied to defeat Louisville 15-10 in the opener and North Carolina came from behind to beat Mississippi State 8-5 in the second game. 18,807

The Rice Owls, down 10-4 in the bottom of the fifth, scored 11 times over their final five innings in earning their sixth straight victory. The North Carolina Tar Heels, the 2006 CWS runner-up, fell behind 4-0 before rallying with four hits, two hit batters, a walk and an error to plate six runs in the sixth inning in registering their fifth come-from-behind victory in six NCAA tournament games. Rice and North Carolina will meet in the winner's round while Louisville and Mississippi State face-off in the elimination game.

Rice, North Carolina, and Arizona State are heavily favored to win it all. Of the eight teams in the World Series, only Rice, UNC, and ASU were No. 1 seeds in the Regionals two weeks ago. In addition, the Sun Devils, Tar Heels, and Owls were the only clubs to finish first in conference play.

Oregon State finished sixth in the Pac-10, Cal State Fullerton placed fifth in the Big West, Mississippi State had the fourth-best record in the two-division Southeastern Conference, Louisville ranked third in the Big East, and UC Irvine tied for second in the Big West.


  • Rice (55-12 Overall, 22-2 in Conference USA)
    Head Coach: Wayne Graham (684-270 in 15 seasons)
    Top Draft Pick: Joe Savery, LHP-1B (1-19, PHI)
    Note: The Owls had 14 players drafted, tied for the most ever.

  • North Carolina (54-13 Overall, 21-9 in ACC)
    Head Coach: Mike Fox (395-173-1 in 9 seasons)
    Top Draft Pick: Josh Horton, SS (#90, OAK)
    Note: Fox is one of only six men to play in and then coach his alma mater to the CWS.

  • Mississippi State (38-21 Overall, 15-13 in SEC)
    Head Coach: Ron Polk (1,350-668-2)
    Top Draft Pick: Ed Easley, C (#61, ARI)
    Note: After a four-year absence, Polk is in his second tour as head baseball coach at Mississippi State.

  • Louisville (46-23 Overall, 19-8 in the Big East)
    Head Coach: Dan McDonnell
    Top Draft Pick: Trystan Magnuson, RHP (#56, TOR)
    Note: The 35-year-old McDonnell, considered one of the top recruiters in the country while serving as an assistant coach at Ole Miss, has taken the Cardinals to the CWS in his first season as head coach.


  • Arizona State (48-13 Overall, 19-5 in Pac-10)
    Head Coach: Pat Murphy (528-255-1 in 13 seasons)
    Top Draft Pick: Eric Sogard, 2B (#81, SD)
    Note: The Sun Devils are led by Brett Wallace (.423-16-78), one of the top-hitting sophomores in the country and a member of Team USA.

  • Cal State Fullerton (38-23 Overall, 10-11 in the Big West)
    Head Coach: George Horton (490-200-1 in 11 seasons)
    Top Draft Pick: Wes Roemer, RHP (#50, ARI)
    Note: The Titans are making their 15th CWS appearance in only the 33rd year of its Div. I history. CSF has won four CWS titles (1979, 1984, 1995 and 2004) and had one runnerup finish (1992).

  • Oregon State (44-18 Overall, 10-14 in Pac-10)
    Head Coach: Pat Casey (13 seasons at OSU)
    Top Draft Pick: Edward Kunz, RHP (#42, NYM)
    Note: The Beavers are the defending champions, becoming the first-ever team from the Pacific Northwest to win the NCAA Division I College World Series.

  • UC Irvine (45-15 Overall, 15-6 in the Big West)
    Head Coach: Dave Serrano (third season)
    Top Draft Pick: Bryan Petersen, RF (#136, FLA)
    Note: Swept Texas in the Regionals and Wichita State in the Super Regionals despite playing on the road. After beating WSU, the Anteaters went directly from Kansas to Omaha.


    Bracket One:

    Fri 6/15: Rice 15, Louisville 10
    Fri 6/15: North Carolina 8, Mississippi State 5,
    Sun 6/17, 2 PM: Louisville-Mississippi State
    Sun 6/17, 7 PM: Rice-North Carolina
    Tue 6/19, 2 PM: Winner, Game 3 vs. Loser, Game 4
    Wed 6/20, 2 PM: Winner, Game 4 vs. Winner, Game 5
    Thu 6/21, 2 PM: Winner, Game 4 vs. Winner, Game 5 (if necessary)

    Bracket Two:

    Sat 6/16, 2 PM: UC Irvine-Arizona State
    Sat 6/16, 7 PM: Oregon State-Cal State Fullerton
    Mon 6/18, 2 PM: Loser, Game 1 vs. Loser, Game 2
    Mon 6/18, 7 PM: Winner, Game 1 vs. Winner, Game 2
    Tue 6/19, 7 PM: Winner, Game 3 vs. Loser, Game 4
    Wed 6/20, 7 PM: Winner, Game 4 vs. Winner, Game 5
    Thu 6/21, 7 PM: Winner, Game 4 vs. Winner, Game 5 (if necessary)

    Championship Series:

    Sat 6/23, 7 PM
    Sun 6/24, 7 PM
    Mon 6/25, 7 PM

    You can stay abreast of all the live scoring and results at the official web site for NCAA Sports. Aaron Fitt and John Manuel will be covering the action at Baseball America via the site's College Blog. Baseball America also has a Game Tracker with game stories, box scores, and highlights.

    Prediction: Arizona State over Rice in three games.

    If there is a surprise, look for UCI to be the school that pulls it off.

    Who do you like this year and why?

  • Comments

    John Manuel sent me an email stating that he predicted on a podcast earlier this week that UNC would beat Arizona State in the finale.

    In that same podcast, I predicted Arizona State over Rice, and I'll stand by that. I agree with your assessment that UCI could be the surprise team, however. Very compelling field, and I think North Carolina and Oregon State are both also capable of getting back to the championship series and winning it. The only teams that would shock me are Fullerton, Mississippi State and Louisville.

    I'm a huge fan of anything Arizona-related, so I am going to go with ASU. I'm also a big Brett Wallace fan and you have to love the performances the club received from two freshman hurlers against UC Irvine. ASU defeats North Carolina for the title.

    I really like Savery and the rest of Rice’s offense, so I think they’re going to make the finals. I don’t know enough about College baseball to make another intelligent selection, so I’m taking Oregon State to get back to the finals. I like Rice to win the whole thing.

    ESPN was showing WPA during the Oregon State/Fullerton game tonight…has that been going on for the whole tournament?

    I'm late to the commenting party, but I made my picks in my chat on Wednesday: Rice over Cal State Fullerton in the finals, with North Carolina and Oregon State getting to the bracket finals. Heading out to Omaha on Monday with my two sons. Two daughters want to come, but I can't handle four kids at once!

    Yeah I think I like the Owls.

    Well, so much for predictions...

    I missed on the finalists as well as the team that could pull off a surprise.