On to Omaha: The Elite Eight
The 2013 College World Series field is set as North Carolina beat South Carolina in a make up game on Tuesday to claim the eighth and final spot. The Tarheels are just one of three No. 1 seeds to advance to the CWS, joining Indiana and North Carolina State in double-elimination play that begins this Saturday in Omaha, Neb.
Eliminated: Vanderbilt Commodores
Not making it to the CWS this year are the Vanderbilt Commodores, the overall No. 2 seed that fell to Louisville. The Cardinals finished first in the Big East Conference and at 51-12 this Louisville team has won its most games ever. Vanderbilt lost both games to Louisville at home, dropping the opening contest on Sat. 5 to 3 before being set back 2 to 1 on Sun. The Commodores finished the season at 54-12.
This year’s CWS will feature a pair of regional battles as Indiana squares off against Louisville on Sat. and North Carolina takes on North Carolina State on Sun. The series gets started on Sat. afternoon when Mississippi State and Oregon State face off. The fourth game, to be played Sun. night, has UCLA meeting LSU.
Two CWS Brackets
The teams are split into two brackets with Miss. St., Oregon St., Indiana and Louisville in one bracket and North Carolina, NC St., UCLA and LSU in the second bracket. The winners will be pitted against each other two days later as will the losers. Two losses and the losers go home; the winner of each bracket will face off in a best-of-three championship series that begins on June 24.
At 44-17, the UCLA Bruins have the “worst” record in the CWS field. The Bruins received an at-large bid to the tournament, finishing third in the Pac 12 behind Oregon St. and Oregon. But, this is the third CWS appearance in four years for UCLA, a team that has yet to win a national baseball championship.
Oregon State and LSU are two teams that have had more recent success in the CWS. The Beavers won the national championship in 2006 and repeated in 2007. In both years the Beavers knocked off the Tarheels. LSU won the CWS in 2009, beating Texas.
First Appearance: Indiana
Indiana will be making its first-ever appearance in a CWS this year. The Hoosiers have been playing baseball for 118 years, but never have gone this far. The current post-season format was introduced in 1947 and the Hoosiers are also the first Big Ten team to reach the CWS since Michigan did so in 1984.
Indiana opened its season with a 2 to 0 win over Louisville in Florida. In March, the two teams met in Bloomington, with the Hoosiers prevailing 6 to 2. In May, the teams squared off for the third time, with Louisville winning 4 to 3 at home. Indiana, winner of the Big Ten Conference championship, did not play the other two teams in its bracket this year.
All CWS games will be played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. That park was recently opened and can accommodate 24,000 fans. Omaha, sponsor of the CWS since 1950, is contracted to host the series through 2035.