2018 College World Series Championship Series
Oregon State (53-11-1) vs. Arkansas (47-19)
TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, 24,000
Game Times, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (if necessary) 6 PM CT
Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez, Kyle Peterson, Laura Rutledge
Ravech is a comedian and excellent play by play broadcaster. On Sportscenter last year, after a Miami (FL) basketball game in which Jim Larranaga, the Miami coach, was dressed in what looked like pajamas for his postgame press conference, Ravech said after the video, "Box of Cheerios and call it a night." Great crew here.
Kyle Peterson, KP, is one of the 5 best TV analysts in sports. I'd put it in this order, 1. Jay Bilas (ESPN college basketball), 2. KP, 3. Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN-ABC college football), 4. Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sunday Night Football, Inside the NFL on Showtime), 5. Todd Blackledge (ESPN College Football).
Oregon State's best player is second baseman Nick Madrigal. He hits .395 this season and stole 15 of 16 bases. He only committed 1 error in 39 games, a .994 fielding percentage. He was hurt part of the season. But he's the leader of the team. Catcher Adley Rutchman bats .397 with 8 homers and 80 Ribeyes. Right fielder Tarver Lanarch hits .344 with 18 homers and 75 Ribbies. Their pitching staff is led by lefty Luke Heimlich, a highly controversial guy whose story you can look up, I can't talk about it, it's so bad. But Heimlich has posted a good year going 16-2 with a 2.80 ERA, he's walked 26 and struck out 154 in 125 innings. He was not drafted after last year, or this year, his senior season, as MLB didn't want to touch this powder keg of trouble. Oregon State's closer is Jake Mulholland who has 15 saves, a 2.25 ERA with 11 walks and 44 K's in 44 innings. They are a pretty loaded group. Bryce Fehmel is another standout starter for the Beavers with a 10-1 record and a 2.80 ERA. He has walked 24 and K'd 63 in 111 innings. Oregon State won national championships in 2006 and 2007.
The Razorbacks impressively knocked off the defending national champion Florida Gators to make it to the championship series. The Hogs defeated the Gators 5-2 last Friday Night. They are tied for third in the country in home runs with 98. Third baseman Casey Martin is their leading hitter at .357 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs. Left fielder Heston Kjerstad is hitting .337, doing yard work 14 times and driving in 57 runs. Second baseman Carson Shaddy is hitting .335 with 13 homers and 54 Ribbies, and right fielder Eric Cole is hitting .325 with 14 homers and 51 RBIs. Tonight's starter, Blaine Knight, who will face Heimlich, is 13-0 with a 2.88 ERA, and, in 106 innings pitched, has walked 24 and struck out 96. He's spectacular. Another key starter for the Razorbacks is right hander Isaiah Campbell. The tall right hander has a 5-6 record with a 4.12 ERA, but he throws it 94-96 and shut down Florida Friday Night going 5.1 innings, giving up 2 hits, 2 runs with 0 walks and 8 K's. His stuff is electric like Knight's. Arkansas' closer is Matt Cronin, who has 13 saves and a 3.15 ERA. Cronin has struck out 56 in 45 innings of work.
Oregon State is a very good team, but they play in the Pac-12, which doesn't feature near the competition that the SEC does. But they're good; I see them taking this to 3 games. But I like Blaine Knight and the bullpen tonight and Isaiah Campbell and the pen on Wednesday to close it out for the Hogs as they claim their first national championship in program history which started up in 1897 to 1930 then came back to the modern era in 1947. Huge deal for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas in 3