College baseball NCAA Regional predictions: Who advances to the College World Series?

College baseball NCAA Regional predictions: Who advances to the College World Series?

Tennessee, which advanced to the College World Series for the first time in the Tony Vitello era in 2021, is the overwhelming favorite to win the national title this year. The Volunteers begin their title quest Friday with the start of the regional play. The winners of the 16 regionals will move on to the eight super regionals the following weekend, with the winners of the supers advancing to the College World Series in Omaha.

Knoxville Regional

  1. Tennessee (No. 1 overall)
  2. Georgia Tech
  3. Campbell
  4. Alabama State

Tennessee capped off one of the most dominant regular seasons in college baseball history with the program’s first SEC tournament title since 1995. The Vols get it done on both the mound (their 2.37 ERA leads the nation by a staggering 0.69 over No. 2 Southern Miss) and at the plate (nation-best 141 home runs). Here’s an astounding stat: Those 141 home runs hit by Tennessee equal the amount of earned runs the Vols’ pitching staff has allowed.  … Georgia Tech comes close to matching Tennessee’s firepower on offense, but the Yellow Jackets really struggle on the mound; they have a staff ERA of 6.54, and opponents are hitting .289.. … Campbell, which lost six of its first seven games in 2022, is in a regional for the fourth straight season after winning the Big South tournament crown. … Alabama State advanced to its second-ever regional by outlasting Southern in 14 innings in the SWAC championship game Sunday afternoon.

Predicted winner: Tennessee

Stanford Regional

  1. Stanford (No. 2)
  2. Texas State
  3. UCSB
  4. Binghamton

Stanford brings a 16-game winning streak into the postseason and is one of the most complete teams in the nation. The Cardinal rank in the top two in the Pac-12 in batting average (.301), slugging percentage (.518) and home runs (92) while leading the league in both ERA (3.82) and opponents batting average (.238). … Texas State earned a No. 2 seed — despite losing to Louisiana in the Sun Belt tournament semifinals — on the strength of its gaudy record (45-12 overall, 26-4 in league play). … UCSB ripped through the Big West with a 27-3 mark in league play and will be playing in a regional in the third straight season for the first time in program history. … Binghamton is 22-28 overall but cruised through the America East tournament with three wins by a combined score of 35-11.

Predicted winner: Stanford

Corvallis Regional

  1. Oregon State (No. 3)
  2. Vanderbilt
  3. San Diego
  4. New Mexico State

Oregon State enters the postseason with six losses in its past 10 games after starting the season with a 40-9 mark. The Beavers are led by Pac-12 Player of the Year Jacob Melton, who is hitting .375 with 15 home runs and 77 RBIs. … Vanderbilt’s usually stout pitching staff has been erratic down the stretch — other than freshman lefty Carter Holton, who has not allowed a run in his past 24 innings (all against SEC opponents) .… Catcher Caleb Ricketts is the leader of a potent San Diego offense; he’s hitting .379 with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs. … New Mexico State gave up an average of 10.4 runs during its final 16 regular-season games and then allowed five total runs en route to a 4-0 record in the WAC tournament.

Predicted winner: Oregon State

Blacksburg Regional

  1. Virginia Tech (No. 4)
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Columbia
  4. Wright State

Virginia Tech, a national seed for the first time in program history, won nine straight ACC series after being swept at Georgia Tech to open league play. The Hokies have two Golden Spikes Award national semifinalists — outfielder Gavin Cross and shortstop Tanner Schobel. … Gonzaga’s resume is highlighted by an early season sweep at Oklahoma State (the No. 7 national seed) in which the Bulldogs allowed five total runs. … Columbia won 19 straight games at one point this season and is headed to a regional for the sixth time under head coach Brett Boretti. … Wright State is 1-9 vs. teams in the NCAA Tournament, with the only win coming in early March in a previous trip to Virginia Tech.

Predicted winner: Gonzaga

College Station Regional

  1. Texas A&M (No. 5)
  2. TCU
  3. Louisiana
  4. Oral Roberts

Top-ranked Tennessee made headlines for its offensive prowess this season (and deservedly so), but it was the Texas A&M Aggies, not the Vols, who led the SEC in batting average (.290) and runs scored (233) in league games. Jim Schlossnagle engineered an unlikely turnaround in his first year (the Aggies didn’t even make the SEC tournament in 2021) by reshaping his roster with an influx of transfers. … Schlossnagle’s former program, TCU, will make the relatively short trip to College Station after capturing the Big 12 regular-season title in Year 1 under Kirk Saarloos, Schlossnagle’s former pitching coach. … Louisiana finished fourth in the Sun Belt in the regular season but played its way into the field (for the 17th time in program history) by rallying for two runs in the top of the ninth to beat Georgia Southern 7-6 in the league title game Sunday afternoon. … Oral Roberts went 7-7 in 14 games against teams in the field, highlighted by road wins over Oklahoma State and Ole Miss. The Golden Eagles clinched the automatic bid out of the Summit League with a 21-2 win over Omaha on Sunday.

Projected winner: Texas A&M

Coral Gables Regional

  1. Miami (No. 6)
  2. Arizona
  3. Ole Miss
  4. Canisius

Miami is in the field for the 48th time and is hosting a regional for the 28th time in program history. The Hurricanes are 88-17 in postseason games at Mark Light Field. … Arizona went 5-10 in its past 15 games but did beat Oregon State (the No. 3 national seed) two out of three in a mid-May series in Tucson. The Wildcats were swept at Oregon in the final series of the regular season. … Ole Miss, ranked No. 1 in the nation earlier this season, was 7-14 in the SEC at one point but rallied to win seven of its final nine regular-season games in league play to sneak into the field. … Canisius second baseman Max Grant is one of four players in the NCAA Tournament who is hitting at least .400. The sophomore from Canada leads the Golden Griffins in average (.404), home runs (10), slugging (656) and on-base percentage (.492).

Projected winner: Arizona

Stillwater Regional

  1. Oklahoma State (No. 7)
  2. Arkansas
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Missouri State

Oklahoma State’s 20 losses are the most among the eight national seeds. Only Florida (39-22) has more losses among the 16 regional hosts. The Cowboys had series wins at Vanderbilt and Texas (a sweep) but were also swept twice at home (by Gonzaga and Texas Tech). … Arkansas was not awarded a spot as a host despite going 18-12 in the SEC. The reason? The Hogs’ RPI was 41. They had the No. 55 strength of schedule and did not play a nonconference road game. … Grand Canyon, coached by former major leaguer Andy Stankiewicz, earned an at-large bid after recording a 41-19 overall record and a 25-5 mark in the WAC. The Antelopes have wins over Arizona (two), Texas Tech (two), San Diego, Oregon State and Stanford. … Missouri State struggled in the regular season (25-26) but went 5-1 in the Missouri Valley tournament, outscoring its opponents 59-26 and hitting 20 home runs. The Bears are in a regional for the first time since 2018.

Predicted winner: Arkansas

Greenville Regional

  1. East Carolina (No. 8)
  2. Virginia
  3. Coastal Carolina
  4. Coppin State

East Carolina lost its two top starting pitchers and its two best position players from last year’s team that reached the Super Regionals yet finds itself as a national seed for the second time in program history. This is the Pirates’ 32nd trip to the postseason, the most by any program that hasn’t advanced to the College World Series. … Virginia opened the season with 14 straight wins and was 22-1 in late March. The Cavs at one point lost seven of eight games and ended the season with losses in three straight and four of their final five. … Coastal Carolina is 2-4 in regional games since winning the 2016 national title, going 1-2 in both 2018 and 2019. … Coppin State will be playing in a regional for the first time in program history.

Predicted winner: Virginia

Austin Regional

  1. Texas (No. 9)
  2. Louisiana Tech
  3. Dallas Baptist
  4. Air Force

Texas first baseman Ivan Melendez is the most feared hitter in the nation. The junior from El Paso, Texas, is hitting .406 with 29 home runs, 87 RBIs and an OPS of 1.425. He has six multi-home run games. … Louisiana Tech is in a regional for the second straight season thanks to some late-game heroics in the Conference USA tournament. The Bulldogs advanced to the championship game by walking off Old Dominion with two runs in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday and won the title with a walk-off win over UTSA on Sunday. … Dallas Baptist earned an at-large bid despite going 11-9-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Patriots had the No. 1 nonconference strength of schedule and the No. 9 overall strength of schedule. … Air Force first baseman Sam Kulasingam is second in the nation with a .414 batting average. As a freshman in 2021, the North Carolina native hit .272. The Falcons are in a regional for the first time since 1969.

Predicted winner: Texas

Chapel Hill Regional

  1. North Carolina (No. 10)
  2. Georgia
  3. VCU
  4. Hofstra

North Carolina enters the postseason with 12 wins in its past 13 games, including a four-game sweep in the ACC tournament. In ACC regular-season play, the Tar Heels were outscored 194-191 en route to a 15-15 record. … Georgia lost its final four SEC series of the regular season — including one to Missouri on the final weekend — and went one-and-done in the SEC tournament. The Bulldogs do, however, have a win at Tennessee on their resume. … VCU has won 15 straight games and is 37-10 since March 8. Last year, the Rams entered the postseason with a 22-game winning streak and beat Campbell in the first round before falling to eventual national champ Mississippi State. … Hofstra went 4-0 in the CAA tournament, with all four wins coming by one run. The Pride beat Northeastern for the title on a walk-off hit by pitch with the bases loaded. This is Hofstra’s first-ever appearance in a regional.

Predicted winner: North Carolina

Hattiesburg Regional

  1. Southern Miss (No. 11)
  2. LSU
  3. Kennesaw State
  4. Army

Southern Miss ranks second nationally with a 3.16 ERA, and all three of the Golden Eagles’ weekend starters — Tanner Hall, Hunter Riggins and Hurston Waldrep — have a sub-3.00 ERA. … LSU, on the other hand, gets it done at the plate. The Tigers are led by sophomores Jacob Berry (.381, 15 HRs, 47 RBIs) and Dylan Crews (.345, 21 HRs, 58 RBIs). Berry followed head coach Jay Johnson from Arizona to LSU after the 2021 season. … Kennesaw State went 6-9 against teams in the field, including a 4-4 record against fellow A-Sun member Liberty, which received an at-large bid. … Army is making its fourth straight appearance in a regional, all under head coach Jim Foster. In nine years as the head coach at Rhode Island (2006-14), Foster did not reach the postseason.

Predicted winner: LSU

Louisville Regional

  1. Louisville (No. 12)
  2. Oregon
  3. Michigan
  4. SE Missouri State

Louisville is a host for the ninth time in Dan McConnell’s 15 full seasons as the head coach. The Cardinals have been to Omaha five times under McConnell but have yet to advance to the championship series. … Oregon went 0-5 against rival Oregon State but was the only team to win a series at Stanford this season. The Ducks are a combined 38-22 in the Pac-12 in Mark Wasikowski’s two full seasons as their head coach. … Michigan went 12-12 in the Big Ten and lost three of its final four series of the regular season but played its way into the field by winning the league tournament in Omaha. … SE Missouri State ranks 21st in the nation with 95 home runs and has four players with at least 14 — Tyler Wilber (18), Lincoln Andrews (15), Andrew Keck (17) and Jevon Mason (14).

Predicted winner: Louisville

Gainesville Regional

  1. Florida (No. 13)
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Liberty
  4. Central Michigan

Florida rallied from a 6-12 start in SEC play and earned a spot as a regional host by winning 16 of its final 21 games. The Gators hit just .250 as a team in league play but feature some of the SEC’s top hitters in Wyatt Langford (.363, 23 HRs), Sterlin Thompson (.336), BT Riopelle (15 HRs) and Jud Fabian (22 HRs). … Oklahoma (RPI No. 20) has a case as the strongest No. 2 seed in the field. The Sooners went 15-9 in the Big 12 (19-9 if you include the league tournament) and have 18 wins versus top-50 RPI teams (third-most in the nation). … This will be Liberty’s second trip to Gainesville in 2022. The Flames opened the season with a series win over the Gators, with wins of 6-4 and 5-3 coming after a 7-2 loss in the opener. … Central Michigan is in a regional for the third straight season. The Chippewas went 1-2 as a No. 3 seed in the Starkville Regional in 2019 and 2-2 as a No. 4 seed in the South Bend Regional in 2021.

Predicted winner: Oklahoma

Auburn Regional

  1. Auburn (No. 14)
  2. UCLA
  3. Florida State
  4. SE Louisiana

Auburn is powered by SEC Co-Player of the Year Sonny DiChiara, a transfer from Samford who hit .379 with 18 home runs and 48 RBIs. In his two full seasons at Samford, DiChiara hit a combined 39 home runs, including 21 as a true freshman in 2019. … UCLA averaged 13.8 runs in its four Pac-12 tournament games yet did not even reach the championship game. The Bruins staved off elimination by rallying to beat Oregon State 25-22 in 10 innings Saturday afternoon (after scoring nine runs in the ninth to tie the score) but lost to the Beavers 8-7 in the next game. … Florida State is in the field for a 44th consecutive season, tied with Miami (1973 through 2016) for the longest streak in college baseball history. The Seminoles, however, almost missed the cut; they were listed among the last four teams by the selection committee. … This is SE Louisiana’s third trip to a regional in the past six full seasons but its first in that span as an automatic qualifier (after winning the Southland tournament). The Lions received an at-large bid in both 2016 and 2017.

Predicted winner: UCLA

College Park Regional

  1. Maryland (No. 15)
  2. Wake Forest
  3. Connecticut
  4. Long Island

Maryland won a program-record 45 games and is hosting a regional for the first time in program history. The Terps rank third nationally with 123 home runs. … Wake Forest is one spot behind Maryland with 115 home runs. The Demon Deacons, in the field for the first time since 2017, are hitting .319 as a team and lead the ACC with 539 runs scored. … UConn enters the regional with 46 wins (second-most in program history), including 26 away from home. Sophomore outfielder Korey Morton has been limited to 34 games due to injury but is hitting .442 and slugging .726. … Long Island, in the field for the third time, played only one game in 2022 against a team that earned a spot in a regional — a 7-2 loss at Army on May. 3.

Predicted winner: UConn

Statesboro Regional

  1. Georgia Southern (No. 16)
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Texas Tech
  4. UNC Greensboro

Georgia Southern won 40 games and earned a spot as a host despite losing pitcher Chase Dollander as a transfer following the 2021 season. Dollander, an All-American at Tennessee this season, went 4-3 in 12 appearances for the Eagles last year. … At one stretch this season, Notre Dame had six straight ACC series that ended with a sweep, not including a weather-shortened one-game “series” against Virginia Tech. The Fighting Irish got swept by Louisville and Duke and swept NC State (two games), Florida State, Clemson and Wake Forest. … Texas Tech has been to a regional six previous times under Tim Tadlock and only once failed to advance to the Super Regionals (in 2017). The Red Raiders were a No. 1 seed in every previous trip except 2014 (No. 2). … UNC Greensboro started its Southern Conference schedule with seven straight losses but battled back to finish 16-14 in league play. The Spartans began the SoCon tournament with a 6-3 loss to Wofford but won five games in three days to capture the title and earn the automatic bid.

Predicted winner: Texas Tech

Super Regional Predictions

Tennessee over Texas Tech
Stanford over UConn
Oregon State over UCLA
Oklahoma over Gonzaga
Texas A&M over Louisville
LSU over Arizona
North Carolina over Arkansas
Texas over Virginia

College World Series

Champion: Tennessee

(Photo of Luc Lipcius: Truman McDaniel / Vanderbilt Athletics)


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