2023 college baseball preview
The GIST: Oil those mitts and stock up on peanuts and Cracker Jacks (or Jills) because baseball season is back, baby. The road to the men’s College World Series (CWS) in Omaha, NE, begins today. How can you not be romantic about it?
How it works: There are 301 Division I baseball teams competing for 64 national tourney roster spots — 31 of which are reserved for conference champions, while the remaining 33 are selected by committee. Those 64 teams must survive two rounds (Regionals and Super Regionals) to book one of eight tickets to the CWS.
- On June 16th, the lucky eight will descend on Omaha, where they’ll compete in one of two double-elimination brackets. The last pair standing then face off in a best-of-three series to take the ’ship.
The contenders: After loading their bases with transfer talent like junior pitcher Paul Skenes (Air Force) and sophomore designated hitter Tommy White (NC State), the six-time champ LSU Tigers clawed out a preseason No. 1 ranking. Their not-so-secret weapon? Junior outfielder Dylan Crews, who’s arguably the country’s best hitter and a Golden Spikes Award front-runner.
- But even the best sluggers may be no match for No. 2 Tennessee’s lethal pitching lineup, highlighted by junior rightie hurler Chase Dollander. No. 3 Stanford boasts their own stacked roster, and reigning national champ Ole Miss starts the season at No. 4.
What to watch: Start that pitch clock because a six-team SEC vs. Big 12 challenge, the College Baseball Showdown, starts swinging today. There are four Top 25 teams on deck, with No. 9 Oklahoma State vs. Missouri batting leadoff at 12 p.m. ET.