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NCAA BASEBALL

College World Series Day 1 Previews

Texas A&M will take on the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns will meet the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. We take a look at both matchups for you.

Update:
Texas A&M will take on the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns will meet the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. We take a look at both matchups for you.
Icon SportswireGetty

With the first day of the College World Series upon us, the SEC is in the driving seat with four of the eight berths. There is no guarantee that they will come out victorious though, particularly with the national number one Tennessee knocked out of the competition.

The field would seem to be wide open, and with games played all through the week, some picture will begin to develop fairly quickly from some of the surprises that we have been dealt this year. There are two games scheduled for today and we will take a look at each of them here.

Game 1

Oklahoma vs Texas A&M

First pitch: 1 p.m.

The SEC gives us a contender in this matchup in Texas A&M, one of only four nationally seeded teams to make it through to the finals, along with Texas, Auburn, and Stanford.

The Aggies will face a resurgent Oklahoma Sooners team, who are riding a postseason winning streak that started with the Big 12 championship, where they swept all comers, to the regional, where they upset Florida, and on to the super regional, where they topped the number four team in the nation, Virginia Tech, in three games.

For Omaha, both teams have had a full week’s rest, and the fresh arms on the mound may be the deal-maker. Texas A&M should have the edge in this department, and their bats have been hot the entire back half of the season.

The Sooners are a solid defensive team, only allowing 47 runs in the entire post season, including a blowout loss to Virginia Tech where they gave up 14. That anomaly aside, Oklahoma have generally kept their opponent to under four runs per game.

A&M’s bullpen will be their greatest asset, where they have the depth to get multiple relievers going for multiple innings. Their ERA as a squad is 4.68, giving them an edge over an opposition ERA of 6.92.

If you are an SEC fan, hoping for the conference to bring the championship down south, then Texas A&M might be your best hope.

Game 2

Notre Dame vs Texas

First pitch: 6 p.m.

Another one of the four nationally seeded teams to get to the finals, the Texas Longhorns, will face the giant-slayers Notre Dame. Both of these teams took down a higher-ranked opponent, but the Irish pulled off what many thought impossible, knocking off a Tennessee Volunteers side that may just be one of the best college teams ever fielded.

Pre-season favorites to win it all, the Longhorns have seed their chances die and revive a number of times through 2022, none more so than in the seventh inning of Game 2 in the super regionals. Finally letting rip with their prodigious bats, the Longhorns managed to come back and pull off an unlikely win to stay alive.

Notre Dame went into the post season unranked, perhaps unfairly, before pulling off a shock win in Game 1 of the super regional, before getting through to a Game 3 where they systematically dismantled the Volunteers.

With Texas finishing 2021 only one game away from the championship, combined with their higher ranking and powerful offense, they come into this game the favorites to move on to the final stage. But with the Irish performance so far in the post season, it would be arrogant to simply write them off.

Notre Dame had a team ERA of 3.82, a WHIP of 1.27, and their 11 strikeouts per nine innings was fourth highest in the NCAA going into the post season, but with stepping up their hitting against Tennessee, they are looking like a force to be reckoned with.

If the Irish can keep their bats hot, they can pull off another upset, since teams that get into Texas bullpen early have the edge on the Longhorns.

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