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Texas A&M Baseball

Previewing the 2024 Men's College World Series eight-team field

June 12, 2024
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What: 2024 Men’s College World Series 
Who: Bracket 1: Tennessee, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia
Bracket 2: Kentucky, North Carolina State, Florida, Texas A&M
Where: Charles Schwab Field – Omaha, Nebraska
When:

  • Saturday: 6:00 p.m. CT (ESPN)
  • Monday: Time TBD (1 p.m. or 6 p.m. CT) (ESPN)
  • All other games TBD

The Texas A&M baseball team is five wins away from capturing its first national championship in baseball.

That task is hard enough at full strength, but the Aggies enter the eight-team tournament minus their top hitter, Braden Montgomery, along with No. 2 starter Shane Sdao, who both suffered season-ending injuries against Oregon in super regionals last weekend.

The journey begins for Texas A&M on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT when the Aggies face fellow SEC partner Florida.

This year’s Men’s College World Series field is loaded, with the top four national seeds (Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M and North Carolina) in Omaha, while seven of the eight participants are national seeds (No. 8 Florida State, No. 10 North Carolina State and No. 12 Virginia). Florida is the only unseeded team in the field.

The field is divided into two four-team brackets. Tennessee, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia are paired together and will play a double-elimination tournament to determine one team that will advance to the national championship. Kentucky, Texas A&M, North Carolina State and Florida will compete in the other double-elimination bracket.

The winners from both brackets will face off in a best of two out of three series to determine the NCAA baseball champions of 2024.

Here’s a brief capsule summary of all eight teams in Omaha heading into this weekend’s play.


Bracket 2

 

#3 Texas A&M Aggies

  • RPI: 2
  • Record: 49-13 (19-11 SEC)
  • Team average: .300
  • Slugging percentage: .557
  • Home runs: 132
  • Team ERA: 3.94
  • Walks Allowed: 198
  • Fielding percentage: .978
  • Offense: 8.81 runs/game
  • Defense: 4.32 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  • Ryan Prager (8-1, 3.10 ERA, 114 K, 19 BB)
  • Evan Aschenbeck (6-1, 1.66 ERA, 72 K, 8 BB)
  • Chris Cortez (9-3, 2.83 ERA, 89 K, 29 BB)

Top Hitters

  • Jace LaViolette (.314 avg, 28 HR, 77 RBIs)
  • Gavin Grahovac (.306 avg, 22 HR, 63 RBIs)
  • Jackson Appel (.330 avg, 15 stolen bases, 25 K)
  • Hayden Schott (.331 avg, 79 hits, 59 RBIs)

Scouting Texas A&M

Despite the unfortunate injuries, most Las Vegas sports betting institutions list Texas A&M as the second favorite to win the NCAA Championship behind top-seed Tennessee.

The Aggies are still very talented across the board but very thin on the mound. Ryan Prager, Chris Cortez and Evan Aschenbeck will need to deliver near-perfect performances, while a surprise star like Justin Lamkin, Josh Stewart or Kaiden Wilson must emerge to get A&M to the final weekend in the national championship series.

On offense, the Aggies must get some power production from its two stars, Jace LaViolette and Gavin Grahovac, along with offensive output from the rest of the lineup, to have a chance to win the national title.

Florida Gators

  • RPI: 30
  • Record: 34-28 (13-17 SEC)
  • Team average: .272
  • Slugging percentage: .512
  • Home runs: 131
  • Team ERA: 6.16
  • Walks Allowed: 284
  • Fielding percentage: .981
  • Offense: 7.03 runs/game
  • Defense: 6.39 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  • Jac Caglianone (5-2, 4.71 ERA, 82 K, 48 BB)
  • Liam Peterson (3-4, 5.97 ERA, 14 starts, 1.59 WHIP)
  • Brandon Neely (3-4, 5.45 ERA, 93 K, 4 saves)

Top Hitters

  • Jac Caglianone (.411 avg, 33 HR, 68 RBIs)
  • Colby Shelton (.257 avg, 20 HR, 55 RBIs)
  • Ashton Wilson (.327 avg, .988 OPS)

Scouting Florida

The Florida Gators arrive in Omaha with the highest team ERA (6.16) of any participant in the field. Kevin O’Sullivan’s bunch slugged its way to beat national seed Clemson on the road to get here, and they will need to continue that offensive onslaught this week if the Gators hope to advance through their four-team bracket and into the national championship series.

Jac Caglianone is the key here. As the team’s leading starting pitcher (4.71 ERA) and top hitter (.411 batting average, 33 homers), he must produce big-time both on the mound and at the plate if Florida has any shot to make noise in Omaha. He’s a great talent, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on one player in this spotlight and in this environment.

#2 Kentucky Wildcats

  • RPI: 3
  • Record: 45-14 (22-8 SEC)
  • Team average: .287
  • Slugging percentage: .496
  • Home runs: 84
  • Team ERA: 4.95
  • Walks Allowed: 253
  • Fielding percentage: .980
  • Offense: 7.98 runs/game
  • Defense: 5.29 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  • Trey Pooser (7-1, 3.46 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)
  • Mason Moore (9-3, 4.93 ERA, 17 starts, 51 BB)
  • Johnny Hummel (3-0, 3.49 ERA, .92 WHIP, 7 saves)

Top Hitters

  • Nick Lopez (.350 avg, 57 runs, 50 RBIs)
  • Ryan Waldschmidt (.346 avg, 64 runs, .473 OB%)
  • Ryan Nicholson (.299 avg, 21 HR, 61 RBIs)

Scouting Kentucky

The Wildcats were a big surprise performer to start SEC play several months ago, but they’ve proven over the course of the SEC regular season and the NCAA postseason that they are for real and very formidable as the No. 2 overall national seed.

Kentucky has a salty starting pitching rotation with Trey Pooser and Mason Moore, who are a combined 16-4 this season, and they possess a solid bullpen and top-end closer in Johnny Hummel, who has eight saves and an impressive WHIP of 0.92. The Wildcats rank last of the eight participants in home runs, so the large dimensions of Charles Schwab Field could play to the Wildcats’ advantage.

#10 North Carolina State

  • RPI: 15
  • Record: 38-21 (18-11 ACC)
  • Team average: .290
  • Slugging percentage: .495
  • Home runs: 99
  • Team ERA: 6.09
  • Walks Allowed: 279
  • Fielding percentage: .976
  • Offense: 7.73 runs/game
  • Defense: 6.32 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  • Sam Highfill (7-2, 5.06 ERA, 17 starts, 41 BB)
  • Dominic Fritton (3-6, 7.35 ERA, 17 starts, 44 BB)
  • Derrick Smith (3-1, 4.50 ERA, 8 saves)

Top Hitters

  • Alec Makarewicz (.380 avg, 22 HR, 80 RBIs)
  • Garrett Pennington (.348 avg, 18 HR, 65 RBIs)
  • Jacob Cozart (.300 avg, 19 HR, 53 RBIs)

Scouting North Carolina State

The Wolfpack can score runs with anybody, led by the dangerous Alec Makarewicz with 80 RBIs heading into CWS play. The key for North Carolina State this week is the pitching, which is ranked seventh out of the eight squads with a bloated ERA of 6.09. The Wolfpack must get a Game 1 gem from ace Sam Highfill and then find a way to survive high-scoring contests the rest of the way. The depth of quality arms just isn’t there to compete “mano a mano” with the rest of this field outside of maybe Florida.


Bracket 1


#1 Tennessee Volunteers

  • RPI: 1
  • Record: 55-12 (22_8 SEC)
  • Team average: .310
  • Slugging percentage: .613
  • Home runs: 173
  • Team ERA: 3.83
  • Walks Allowed: 187
  • Fielding percentage: .978
  • Offense: 9.21 runs/game
  • Defense: 4.06 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  • AJ Causey (13-3, 3.77 ERA, 117 K, 19 BB)
  • Drew Beam (8-2, 4.44 ERA, 85 K, 17 starts)
  • Zander Sechrist (4-1, 3.26 ERA, 17 starts)

Top Hitters

  • Christian Moore (.375 avg, .32 HR, 71 RBIs)
  • Blake Burke (.376 avg, 19 HR, 56 RBIs)
  • Dylan Dreiling (.320 avg, 20 HR, 64 RBIs)

Scouting Tennessee

If you are curious why Tennessee is the odds-on favorite to win the championship, just look at the numbers across the board. The Volunteers come to Omaha with the most team wins, and they lead in virtually every critical statistical category, both offensively and on the mound.

This team doesn’t have a weakness on paper, but we know baseball doesn’t always go by the script. However, we do know they have stars like AJ Causey, Christian Moore and Blake Burke, who have delivered all season under pressure situations, and the stars usually shine at the College World Series.

#8 Florida State

  • RPI: 8
  • Record: 47-15 (17-12 ACC)
  • Team average: .316
  • Slugging percentage: .562
  • Home runs: 123
  • Team ERA: 4.86
  • Walks Allowed: 290
  • Fielding percentage: .979
  • Offense: 9.02 runs/game
  • Defense: 5.31 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  • Jamie Arnold (11-2, 2.77 ERA, 155 K, 22 BB)
  • Carson Dorsey (7-4, 4.64 ERA, 10 starts, 1.56 WHIP)
  • Conner Whittaker (5-0, 4.75 ERA, 14 BB)

Top Hitters

  • Cam Smith (.402 avg, 16 HR, 56 RBIs)
  • James Tibbs III (.374 avg, 28 HR, 94 RBIs)
  • Jaime Ferrer (.319 avg, 19 HR, 58 RBIs)

Scouting Florida State

The Seminoles may be the most underrated team in the field. FSU was bumped down to a No. 8 national seed in part due to the team’s less-than-shiny 17-12 ACC record.

But as we know now, the ACC matched the powerful SEC conference in getting four teams to Omaha.

In fact, outside of ACC play, the Seminoles are a remarkable 30-3. They also bring the second-highest team batting average to the CWS at .316, led by James Tibbs III with a whopping 94 RBIs. The key to FSU’s run could be pitching ace Jamie Arnold with an 11-2 record, a 2.77 ERA and an incredible 155 strikeouts. He’ll take on top seed Tennessee in Game 1, and that could be the most important game of these first two days. If he can take down the Volunteers, that will throw this championship tournament into chaos.

#4 North Carolina 

  • RPI: 4
  • Record: 47-14 (22-8 ACC)
  • Team average: .304
  • Slugging percentage: .531
  • Home runs: 113
  • Team ERA: 4.22
  • Walks Allowed: 230
  • Fielding percentage: .973
  • Offense: 8.72 runs/game
  • Defense: 4.75 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  •  Shea Sprague (3-1, 4.00 ERA, 14 starts)
  •  Jason DeCaro (6-1, 3.89 ERA, 17 starts, 40 BB)
  •  Dalton Pence (4-1, 2.04 ERA, 71 K, 8 saves)

Top Hitters

  • Parks Harber (.341 avg, 20 HR, 63 RBIs)
  • Casey Cook (.339 avg, 18 HR, 76 RBIs)
  • Vance Honeycutt (.314 avg, 26 HR, 65 RBIs)

Scouting North Carolina

The Tar Heels may be the most balanced team in Omaha with a deep pitching staff that ranks third behind only Tennessee and Texas A&M and an offense that ranks fourth in team batting average with legitimate power numbers.

North Carolina will utilize two starting pitchers with ERAs under 4.00, and they may have the best closer in the field with Dalton Pence. On offense, they boast three power hitters with 18 or more homers, led by Vance Honeycutt with 26 bombs to his credit in 2024. The Tar Heels will be watching that colossal opening matchup between FSU and Tennessee. If Jamie Arnold can take down Tennessee on Friday, the Tar Heels could emerge as the team to beat going forward.

#12 Virginia Cavaliers

  • RPI: 12
  • Record: 46-15 (18-12 ACC)
  • Team average: .336
  • Slugging percentage: .575
  • Home runs: 116
  • Team ERA: 5.39
  • Walks Allowed: 267
  • Fielding percentage: .976
  • Offense: 9.44 runs/game
  • Defense: 6.08 runs/game

Top Pitchers 

  • Evan Blanco (8-3, 3.69 ERA, 95 K’s, 25 BB’s)
  • Jay Woolfolk (4-1, 5.95 ERA, 1.68 WHIP)
  • Chase Hungate (7-1, 3.71 ERA, 2 saves)

Top Hitters

  • Harrison Didawick (.297 avg, 23 HR, 68 RBIs)
  • Henry Ford (.339 avg, 17 HR, 68 RBIs)
  • Jacob Ference (.354 avg, 17 HR, 43 RBIs)

Scouting Virginia

The Cavaliers bring in the highest-team batting average at a remarkable .336. Texas A&M doesn’t have a single-player hitting over .336. There’s also power in the lineup with four starters with 14 or more long balls led by Harrison Didawick and his 23 home runs. This offense averages 9.44 runs per game, which is also unfathomable.

However, the pitching is a problem after staff ace Evan Blanco. Virginia started Jay Woolfolk in Game 2 of super regionals with a 5.95 ERA and a fat WHIP of 1.68. That worked against up-start Kansas State, but it likely won’t be a successful strategic move against this quality CWS field. Then again, the Cavs may not have another option. They will need to slug their way through this tournament.

Statistical Comparisons – Men’s College World Series

RPI

  • 1. Tennessee - 1
  • 2. Kentucky - 2
  • 3. Texas A&M - 3
  • 4. North Carolina - 4
  • 5. Florida State - 8
  • 6. Virginia - 12
  • 7. North Carolina State - 15
  • 8. Florida - 30

Team Batting Average

  • 1. Virginia - .336
  • 2. Florida State - .316
  • 3. Tennessee - .310
  • 4. North Carolina - .304
  • 5. Texas A&M - .300
  • 6. North Carolina State - .290
  • 7. Kentucky - .287
  • 8. Florida - .272

Home Runs

  • 1. Tennessee - 173
  • 2. Texas A&M - 132
  • 3. Florida - 131
  • 4. Florida State - 123
  • 5. Virginia - 116
  • 6. North Carolina - 113
  • 7. North Carolina State - 99
  • 8. Kentucky - 84

Team ERA

  • 1. Tennessee - 3.83
  • 2. Texas A&M - 3.94
  • 3. North Carolina - 4.22
  • 4. Florida State - 4.86
  • 5. Kentucky - 4.95
  • 6. Virginia - 5.39
  • 7. North Carolina State - 6.09
  • 8. Florida - 6.16

Walks Allowed

  • 1. Tennessee -187
  • 2. Texas A&M - 198
  • 3. North Carolina - 230
  • 4. Kentucky - 253
  • 5. Virginia - 267
  • 6. North Carolina State - 279
  • 7. Florida - 287
  • 8. Florida State - 290
Discussion from...

Previewing the 2024 Men's College World Series eight-team field

79 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Warsteiner
The Marksman
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AG
We need to beat up on opposing pitching. All we have to do to win is score more runs than the other team.
Randy Rhodes
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That works most of the time
Warsteiner
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The Marksman said:

We need to beat up on opposing pitching. All we have to do to win is score more runs than the other team.


Insight like this what makes TexAgs the best.
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