In 2020, the Men’s Baseball College World Series was one of the sporting events affected the most by COVID-19. Actually, it was not just affected. It was completely taken away. Coaches, players, and fans missed it dearly.
It’s back. So, there is no surprise that there is so much excitement and joy surrounding the CWS in 2021.
The field has quite the mixture of teams and storylines. There are heavyweights and underdogs, just like every baseball season. Specifically, the SEC carries a ton of intrigue into the tournament. That is because of the teams that did make the final eight as well as a team that did not.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are the one that stands out the most. The Hogs did not lose a single series in the regular season. Not a single one, even in the SEC. They were the consensus #1 team in the nation for just about the entire regular season. They won the SEC Tournament in Hoover.
As some folks will say though, that’s “just baseball.” They ran into a determined, energetic NC State team in Super Regionals. Arkansas won the first game of the series 21-2. They lost the next two, 6-5 and 3-2. To call it an upset, that would be an understatement.
NC STATE IS OMAHA BOUND AFTER TAKING DOWN NO. 1 ARKANSAS 🔥 pic.twitter.com/o4A4nWPwUM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 14, 2021
For Vanderbilt, this was the expectation. Vandy will be looking to repeat as national champions, and they have one of the greatest 1-2 combo of starting pitchers that we have seen in quite a while. Both Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker are in the top 10 in just about every MLB mock draft. The backend of their bullpen, while young, has also done their part in big games so far. Their lineup is consistent throughout, and they play solid defense.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) June 11, 2021
Tim Corbin’s crew took care of a pesky, gritty Eastern Carolina team in two close games in Super Regionals. They’ll be tested by the team that eliminated Ole Miss in the Super Regional round, the Arizona Wildcats. It’ll be a matchup of strengths with Vandy’s pitching and Arizona’s slugging.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 14, 2021
Tennessee is here when really not many people at all expected them to be coming into the season. Fans of the team and fans of the SEC alike knew they were talented, but they have taken it to the next level in 2021. The Vols have exceeded expectations, but they believe they have more work to do. Tony Vitello has his team fully embracing the underdog mentality, and they can mash the baseball with the best of them.
Beck Wrecked It. 😳💥
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) June 13, 2021
In their final Super Regional game, Tennessee hit six home runs in a 15-6 win over LSU. It was a dinger fest, but that’s not new to them. They have five players with 10+ homers. Jordan Beck and Luc Lipcius share the team lead with 15. Can their bats continue to stay hot at TD Ameritrade? Only time will tell. They’ll face Virginia in the first round of play.
Mississippi State is back in Omaha for the third season in a row. They are the only team that can be said for, but they want to finish the job this time. They rode timely hitting and a strong bullpen to get to this point. Having the SEC Player of the Year in Tanner Allen does not hurt, either. Allen, Rowdey Jordan, and Kamren James have had a phenomenal postseason at the top of their lineup so far, and Catcher Logan Tanner has hit a couple of game-changing home runs during that span, too. They also may very well have the best reliever left in the tournament in Landon Sims as well.
— Mississippi State Baseball (@HailStateBB) June 16, 2021
They’ll battle the 2nd overall seed in Texas this weekend, a rematch of the teams’ first game of the season. The Bulldogs won that matchup 8-3, but both squads are a lot different now than they were then.
As per usual, the SEC is very well represented in the College World Series this year. The action kicks off this weekend. Tune in!
Featured Images Via USA TODAY-Sports