Photo courtesy of @NCAABaseball via Twitter.

2022 College World Series: Four SEC Teams Among Omaha Eight

The road to Omaha has reached its final destination as eight squads have their eyes set on the 2022 College World Series Championship title. The Southeastern Conference is leading the way with four teams punching their ticket to College baseball’s biggest dance. 

The SEC is represented by Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Auburn and Arkansas. After the No. 1 Vols fell to Notre Dame in the Knoxville super regional, the SEC West took over. 

Here’s a look at the Omaha eight and how each performed in the super-regional round:

  • Notre Dame (defeated No. 1 Tennessee in 3 games)
  • No. 2 Stanford (defeated UConn in 3 games)
  • Auburn (defeated No. 3 Oregon State in 3 games)
  • Oklahoma (defeated No. 4 Virginia Tech in 2 games)
  • No. 5 Texas A&M (defeated No. 12 Louisville in 2 games)
  • Ole Miss (defeated No. 11 Southern Miss in 2 games)
  • Arkansas (defeated No. 10 North Carolina in 2 games)
  • No. 9 Texas (defeated No. 8 East Carolina in 3 games)

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The College World Series will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. The SEC is sitting pretty with a good chance of winning the 2022 CWS title. Here’s a look at the four SEC teams. 

Arkansas

Head Coach Dave Van Horn leads the Razorbacks on his ninth trip back to Omaha and the team’s overall 11th appearance. 

The Razorbacks entered the season eager to make a comeback after failing to reach the CWS in 2021. Arkansas went 18-12 in SEC play with crucial SEC series wins over then-No.15 LSU, then-No.19 Auburn, and Ole Miss. 

After losing two games in the SEC tournament, Arkansas took three of four in the Stillwater Regional. Following, the Razorbacks managed a sweep over the then-No.11 Tar Heels.

The Razorbacks house an impressive bullpen. Behind the arms of Zack Morris, Gabriel Starks, Zebulon Vermillion and Evan Taylor, the squad became the top-20 ERA in the nation. Starter Connor Noland has also been crucial to Arkansas. Noland holds a 7-5 record with a 3.86 ERA. The right-handed pitcher boasted an incredible performance in Game one against North Carolina with 6 2/3 innings, six hits, six strikeouts and no runs.

Offensively, the Razorbacks are led by Cayden Wallace, Braydon Webb and Brady Slavens who each have 15 homers on the season. In addition, Wallace and Slavens have over 50 RBIs apiece.  Arkansas has a total of 100 homers, ranking it No.17 nationally. 

The Razorbacks have proven their ability to come through with clutch hitting but they must utilize their starting pitching to gain an early advantage on the scoreboard. Arkansas is likely to have close games in Omaha but they also have a shot at bringing home the title for the first time in franchise history.

Auburn 

Despite being predicted to finish seventh in the SEC after going 25-27 the prior season, Auburn has punched their way to Omaha, proving everyone wrong along the way. 

The Tigers started the year by winning two of three in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown. Auburn continued on to win 11 of 14 and go 16-13 SEC. After an early SEC tournament loss, the Tigers turned it around by winning all three games in regionals against Southeastern Louisiana, Florida State and UCLA. Next, the Tigers took two of three from Oregon State in the super regionals.

Auburn standout Sonny DiChiara is phenomenal at getting on base. DiChiara leads the country with an on-base percentage of .560. The senior is outstanding at the plate. Not only does he get walked the most, but he is also an impeccable hitter, recording a .392 batting average. His batting average tops his fellow Tigers as does his 22 dingers and 59 RBIs.

Additionally, Auburn has a solid rotation atop the mound. Right-handed pitchers Joseph Gonzalez and Mason Barnett are reliable starters. John Armstrong, Chase Allsup and Blake Burkhalter have proven themselves out of the bullpen, contributing to a 4.42.staff ERA.

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Ole Miss

After opening 2022 on a nine-game win streak and an overall No.1 regular season ranking, Ole Miss struggled in SEC play. The Rebels went 14-16 and lost in the SEC tournament opener to Vanderbilt.

The issues the squad once faced with pitching and base running have taken a turn for the better. The Rebels won seven games in a row and swept Missouri and LSU to lead them into the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels walked into a Super Regional contest with Southern Miss and took care of business taking them down 10-0 and 5-0 in consecutive shutout wins. 

Rebels hero Tim Elko leads the team with 22 homers, 71 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.068. The offensive talent of Ole Miss also extends off the bats of Justin Bench (.311 team-leading batting average), Jacob Gonzalez (17 homers), Peyton Chatagnier and Kemp Alderman

https://twitter.com/OleMissBSB/status/1537468895375855616?s=20&t=cur1P_TR1KSYeT-yfyWM-Q

Ole Miss holds a staff ERA of 4.44. Ole Miss freshman Hunter Elliot’s talent continues to grow as he recently boasted 7.1 innings, giving up no runs on three hits against Southern Miss. The freshman recorded a 2.82 season ERA. Also worth noting are the arms of Josh Mallitz and Mason Nichols out of the bullpen.

Texas A&M

The Aggies have become an entirely new team in 2022. The 2021 season witnessed a 29-27 record and failure to reach the tournament. However, now Texas A&M is going 42-18 and has shown out in an incredibly challenging SEC environment. The Aggies took seven of their last final three-game series against SEC teams before falling to the Florida Gators in the conference tournament. 

Texas A&M has since picked up the pace. The Aggies put up 32 runs in three games at the College Station Regional, taking down Oral Roberts, Louisiana and then-No. 23 TCU. In the super regional, the Aggies defeated then-No. 9 Louisville in one-run ball games on both days. 

Jack Moss leads the team in batting average at .391 in addition to a total of 47 RBIs. Austin Bost records a .359 batting average, with nine home runs and 43 RBIs while Brett Minnich is batting .306 with 50 RBIs. Dylan Rock and Ryan Targac have been major standouts this season. Rock has a team-high 18 homers while Targac follows with 15. 

About Ellie Shreve

Ellie is a second-year sports and media journalism major at the University of Florida.

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