Field of favorites eyeing Omaha and College World Series
Seven of the eight national seeds advanced from the regionals (North Carolina was the only national seed to lose), so several favorites are still in the hunt for one of the eight College World Series berths. Two-time defending champion South Carolina and 2011 runner-up Florida are among them. So is six-time champion LSU, which is second only to South California (12 titles) in national championships. Four Pac-12 teams remain alive, including Arizona and Stanford, which have five championships between them. Neither has won a title since the Reagan administration, however, so both programs would be refreshed by victory.
There are some surprises, though. No. 3 seeds St. John's and Kent State were not expected to make it out of the first weekend and Stony Brook became just the third No. 4 seed to win a regional, joining Missouri (2006) and eventual national champion Fresno State (2008).
Then there is Oregon. The Ducks are a national seed but they are underdogs nevertheless due to the fact that the program was resurrected just four years ago after being dormant for 28 years.
Here'a a look at each of the four Super Regionals. The first four will be played Friday, Saturday and (if necessary) Sunday; the second quadrant will be played on Saturday, Sunday and (if necessary) Monday.
The matchup: This Super Regional has the most compelling matchup because it features a Kent State team that has never been to the CWS against an Oregon team that made it once 58 years ago. The Ducks were never expected to return, seeing as the program ceased to exist 32 years ago. It was brought back in 2009 and now here they are two wins away from Omaha. Kent State gets production throughout the lineup, but George Roberts (.369, 7 HR, 62 RBIs) is the biggest run-producer. Pitching is the difference, however, with a staff ERA that is more than two two runs lower than the opposition (3.48 vs. 5.57). Pitching is what has propelled Oregon, too. The Ducks' staff ERA (3.02) is among the lowest in the nation, obscuring the fact the offense is averaging fewer than five runs a game.