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Can they make it back to Omaha in 2024? Part 2.

By Alyssa Cooper


Between 2018 - 2023, there was the opportunity for 40 different Division I college baseball programs to compete in the College World Series. However, only 10 programs during that time have accounted for over half of those 40 spots.

 

So, how likely are Tennessee, Oral Roberts, Virginia, and Stanford to reach Omaha again?

 

5. Tennessee – 45%

 

This season for the Vols may very well define the outlook of their program in the coming years.  They will have to compete without Chase Burns, who has transferred to Wake Forest. The team looks to Junior Drew Beam to take on the Friday night role in 2024. Anthony Causey, a transfer from Jacksonville State, could also assume a weekend or bullpen for the Vols. Sophomore right-hander AJ Russell, who had a .89 ERA last year as a freshman reliever, could also get a slot in the rotation.


Photo Courtesy: The Tennessean Tony Vitello is entering his seventh year as the Volunteer’s head coach.

The lineup will look very different from the one that upset #4 Clemson in regional play and took down Southern Miss in the super-regional. Vitello liked what he saw in the Tigers’ Billy Amick, and the junior power-hitting righty will provide that much-needed power in the lineup. Tennessee also acquired Cannon Peebles from the portal to make up for the losses of Jared Dickey, Maui Ahuna, Griffin Merritt, and Christian Scott. 

 

Junior Christian Moore batted .304 with 17 home runs and will be an X-factor along with Amick for Tennessee’s offense come 2024. Sophomore Dylan Dreiling and juniors Blake Burke and Hunter Ensley are back in the lineup, too, among others.

 

For Tennessee, it is a loaded division in the SEC East. Similar to TCU, they do not necessarily have to host to make it to Omaha; however, they probably will.

 

6. Oral Roberts – 5%

 

There isn’t much to say about the Golden Eagles. They were the first “Cinderella” team to make it to Omaha since the 2016 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers won it all.. While their weekend rotation is intact, minus Harley Gollert, the only returners to that 2023 lineup are Holden Breeze and Drew Stahl.

 

The reality is that Oral Roberts run only happened because of Oklahoma State’s unexpected implosion in their own regional. Granted, the Cowboys have reached a super-regional since 2019, but how they went out at home at O’Brate stadium was nothing short of deplorable. 

 

This year, they don’t have the team that can make that same run again. 

 

7. Virginia – 45%

 

The most significant advantage of the Cavaliers heading into 2024 is that Griff O’Ferrall, Ethan Anderson, Anthony Stephan, Casey Sauke, and Henry Godbout are returning to the lineup . Freshmen Henry Ford and Mark Gialluisi could also find themselves in the lineup, along withSalisbury transfer, Jacob Ference. from.

 

Luke Hanson and Harrison Didawick, two Cavaliers with limited but meaningful 

playing time in 2023, are options for the 

lineup, as well.


Photo Courtesy: Bradley Hodge’s Twitter Sophomore Bradley Hodges could find himself in the weekend rotation this season.

The only returner to their starting weekend rotation is sophomore Jack O’Connor, 

who posted a sub-4 ERA his first year 

with 65 strikeouts in 64 innings. What will make or break Virginia’s push to a second-straight run for Omaha is whether sophomores Bradley Hodges, Kevin Jaxel, Cullen McKay, or Evan Blanco are ready to assume more prominent roles either in the rotation or bullpen. There is depth in the ACC coastal division, so Virginia must answer those questions as soon as possible to take control of the division early and to have a decent shot of making it to Omaha.

 

8. Stanford – 25%

 

In three straight appearances, the Cardinal have won just one game in the College World Series. 

 

Photo Courtesy: Baseball Prospect Journal Malcolm Moore is one of the best catchers in college baseball entering the 2024 season.

The season, just due to new players that will surround both the lineup and pitching staff, will be a toss-up. Stanford lost many bats and many arms after the end of 2023. The Cardinal season will hinge upon the potential for success on both sides of the ball. Players like Nathan Fleischli and Tommy O’Rourke on the mound would have to have measurable success after missing time due to injury, and there is the possibility that freshmen step into weekend and bullpen roles. 

 

Picking up sophomore Brandon Larson from UC San Diego was perhaps Stanford’s best move in the portal this past offseason. Standout freshman catcher Malcom Moore is back in the lineup, as well as Owen Cobb. If healthy, a handful of position players who battled injuries and illnesses could positively impact the lineup. 

 

If Pac-12 competitions Oregon State fails to meet expectations and Stanford meets those expectations, they might again be the only West Coast team to host a regional. The Cardinal path to Omaha is guaranteed if they host a regional. 


Edited by Sydney Rogers

Social media content created by Melissa Neglio

 

 


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