June 21, 2009

CWS Championship Series Preview

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College World Series - Championship Series Notes

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

There have been 884 games played in the College World Series. Texas and LSU have combined to play in 184 games, more that 20% of all games played. The two have met just twice. The Longhorns defeated the Tigers 12-7 in 1989, while LSU topped Texas 13-5 in 2000.


LSU is third in CWS win percentage at .635. Can you name the top two? USC is first at .740 (74-26) and Minnesota is second at .708 (17-7). Arizona State is fourth at .625 (60-36), Missouri is fifth at .621 (18-11) and Texas is sixth at .604 (81-53).


Since Texas is the No. 1 national seed and LSU is the No. 3 national seed, this will be the first time since 2003 (No. 5 Rice) that a national seed will win the championship. Unseeded Cal State Fullerton won in 2004, Texas in 2005, Oregon State in 2006 and 2007, and Fresno State in 2008.


The last time the No. 1 national seed won the title was in 1999, when Miami (Fla.) won the championship.


Miami is also the last team from Bracket 1 to win the title, which it did in 1999. LSU won Bracket 1 this year, while Texas won Bracket.


The starting pitchers are expected to be Chance Ruffin for Texas and Louis Coleman for LSU. Ruffin is 10-2 with 3.27 ERA. He has 24 walks and 104 strikeouts in 118.1 innings. Ruffin started Tuesday against Arizona State, going two innings with seven hits, six runs, four earned runs, one walk and three strikeouts in a no-decision as the Longhorns won 10-6 over the Sun Devils. Coleman is 14-2 with 2.68 ERA. He has 22 walks and 132 strikeouts in 121 innings. Coleman started Monday against Arkansas, going six innings with six hits, one earned run, three walks and seven strikeouts in earning the victory in a 9-1 win over the Razorbacks.


This is the penultimate College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. Next year will be the final CWS at Rosenblatt before moving in 2011 to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, the new downtown stadium.


LSU catcher Micah Gibbs is from Pflugerville, Texas, not far from Austin.


“Growing up in the Austin area, I had that love for UT,” Gibbs said. “But at the same time, when I was real young, I went to a camp at LSU and had a mutual love for LSU, too. I saw the fans and how much support they had. Seeing [catcher Brad] Cresse in 2000 do what he did, I pictured myself in that situation. To do that and to play against the team I grew up watching, you couldn’t ask for anything else.”


Texas and LSU are tied for the top ERA in this year’s College World Series at 3.67. LSU is second in batting at .368, while Texas is fourth at .324. LSU has not committed an error in Omaha in 108 chances. The Tigers are the only team not to turn a double play in the CWS. Texas is eighth in CWS fielding percentage at .941. The Longhorns have committed seven errors in 118 chances.