The 2012 College World Series starts today in Omaha, Nebraska with two games as former Gator coach Andy Lopez sends his Arizona team to face Florida State and CWS Cinderella Stony Brook faces UCLA.
The Wildcats (43-17) don’t have a lot of power but part of that is because they play in a very big ballpark. They have hit better recently and they feature hitters like Seth Majias-Brean (.366), Johnny Field (.383), and Bobby Brown (.354) who can rake. On the mound, pitcher Kurt Heyer (12-2, 2.28) has been outstanding.
Florida State is trying to get coach Mike Martin his first national championship as he brings the Seminoles to the CWS for the 15th time. FSU (47-15) ripped Stanford in its regional and scored a ton of runs. Infielder Jayce Boyd (.389) and outfielder James Ramsey (.390, 13 HR) lead the way offensively. On the mound, some freshmen arms like lefty Brandon Leibrandt, the son of former big league Charlie Leibrant, has been outstanding with an 8-2 mark with a 2.58 earned run average.
UCLA (47-14) is the overall number two national seed with a completely different team than Florida saw a couple of years ago; that team did not well, this one hits much better. Six players hit .300 or better as all three outfielders hit above .300 led by Jeff Gelaich (.365, 11 HR) and Beau Amaral (.313). On the mound, the Bruins feature two 10 game winners in righty Nick Vander Tuig (10-3, 4.35) and righty Adam Plutko (11-3, 2.56).
Stony Brook is 52-13 and along with Kent State, the Cinderellas of the CWS. The Seawolves went into the Baton Rouge regional and beat one of the SEC’s best in LSU so they probably won’t be too intimidated at Omaha. Outfielder Travis Janikowski (.422) was a first round draft selection and sets the table at the top of the order. Infielder Maxx Tissenbaum (.389) helps nicely too. On the mound, the pitching staff throws strikes and is led by righty Tyler Johnson (12-1, 1.94) who has been outstanding. Fellow righty Brandon McNitt (8-3, 2.50) has been good as well.