Ridaught: The Greatest Show on Dirt

TD Ameritrade Ballpark
TD Ameritrade Ballpark home of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Bret Habura/Shutterstock

We’re down to the final eight teams in the college baseball season.

However, only four of the top 16 national seeds are still alive at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska (June 17-27).

In fact, three of the top four lost in the super regionals (top-ranked Tennessee, No. 3 Oregon State, and No. 4 Virginia Tech).

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The Southeastern Conference leads the eight-team field with four participants—Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Auburn.

“The Greatest Show on Dirt” begins today at Charles Schwab Field as No. 5 Texas A&M takes on Oklahoma, which eliminated the Gators in the Gainesville Regional, at 2 p.m., followed by No. 9 Texas and Notre Dame, which upset Tennessee, at 7 p.m.

Game one is intriguing because it’s a match-up of former Big 12 Conference rivals and future Southeastern Conference foes.

The Aggies (42-18) are making their seventh appearance in the Men’s College World Series, and first since 2017. 

Texas A&M, which is 26-7 since April, is batting .292 as a team and averages 7.5 runs per game. Sophomore Jack Moss has been on fire batting .541 (20-for-37) at the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.

The Aggies pitching staff has compiled a 4.68 ERA, 547 strikeouts to 202 walks and 552 hits in 531.0 innings and has allowed a .262 opponent batting average.

The Sooners (42-22) are making their 11th MCWS appearance, and first since 2010. 

Oklahoma is hitting .297 as a team and averaging 7.7 runs per game.

Their 70 home runs this season are the most since OU’s 2010 College World Series team hit 105.

The pitching staff has compiled a 5.41 ERA, but the Sooners have allowed four or fewer runs in six of its last seven contests.

Oklahoma shortstop Peyton Graham is one of eight MLB draft candidates worth watching during the CWS.

The Sooners rank fourth nationally in stolen bases (142), led by Graham with 32.

Texas (47-20), which is making its NCAA-record 38th appearance at the CWS, ranks fifth nationally with a .318 team batting average and the Longhorns are third in the country with a program record 128 home runs.

Texas slugger Ivan Melendez won the Dick Howser Trophy on Friday.

His 32 home runs tie him with two other players for 13th place on the single-season charts, including Mark McGwire (32 for USC in 1984).

Their pitching staff ranks 23rd with a 4.18 ERA. Texas is also the nation’s top fielding team with a .986 fielding percentage.

Notre Dame is in the CWS for the first time since 2002.

This might be Notre Dame’s last best chance, with a roster stocked with graduate students and a manager in high demand, including at his alma mater Florida State.

The Irish (40-15) are 13th in the NCAA and first in the ACC in fielding percentage with a .980 mark this season. The Irish have committed 41 errors in 1,475 putout opportunities this season.

They rank 12th nationally and are first in the ACC in team ERA (3.95), are sixth in the NCAA and first in the ACC with 7.67 hits allowed per nine innings, and the Irish rank fourth in the NCAA and second in the ACC in strikeouts per nine innings with 10.8.

Texas and Notre Dame haven’t met since 1995. This is only the sixth time the two teams have met and the series is tied 3-3.

Notre Dame is the only school in the country to have a team in the College World Series, both March Madness tournaments and a New Year’s Six bowl game.

The SEC has a really good chance of getting at least one team to the CWS Finals, which begin next Saturday, June 25.

Arkansas, which eliminated No. 10 North Carolina, will play No. 2 seed Stanford on Saturday at 2 p.m., followed by No. 14 Auburn, which upset No. 3 Oregon State on the road, and Ole Miss, which defeated Southern Miss. 

Men’s College World Series Schedule

Friday, June 17

No. 5 Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 9 Texas vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, June 18

No. 2 Stanford vs. Arkansas, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 14 Auburn vs. Ole Miss, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Sunday, June 19

Loser No. 5 Texas A&M/Oklahoma vs. Loser No. 9 Texas/Notre Dame, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

Winner No. 5 Texas A&M/Oklahoma vs. Winner No. 9 Texas/Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Monday, June 20

Loser No. 2 Stanford/Arkansas vs. Loser No. 14 Auburn/Ole Miss, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

Winner No. 2 Stanford/Arkansas vs. Winner No. 14 Auburn/Ole Miss, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

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