Florida survives, Mississippi State’s pitching shines and three more College World Series 2018 takeaways

OMAHA, Neb. – Another day at the College World Series, another bean ball from Mother Nature. So while they’re putting on the tarp again, we can ponder a few questions to come.

How’s the No. 1 seed – and defending champion – looking at the moment? Besides backed to the wall?

Florida became the first reigning champion since 1995 to lose its CWS opener the following year, when it was beaten by Texas Tech. Before that, the past eight title defenders had gone 8-0. “The reality of it is,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said, “we put ourselves behind the eight-ball a little bit.”

Florida stayed alive Tuesday by eliminating Texas 6-1, largely on the 13-strikeout pitching of Jackson Kowar and three-run homer from Jonathan India. Kowar did his dominating with 121 pitches in 6.2 innings – one of two men in the past 40 years to strike out 13 in under seven innings. His changeup tormented the Longhorns, in concert with his mid-90s fastball. “He’s got an arsenal,” Texas coach David Pierce said.

But afterward, O’Sullivan was thinking about the empty at-bats, when the Gators put the first two runners on base in each of the first three innings, and got only a single run out of it. He was thinking of the miscues. He was thinking how star closer Michael Byrne had to throw 31 pitches Tuesday, after 21 Sunday, and what might that mean if they have to protect a lead later in the week? Byrne is not a pitching machine.

“A lot of times you win a game like that, 6-1, and a lot of those mistakes get forgotten quickly because you win the game,” O’Sullivan said. “But today was no cleaner than it was on Sunday.

“This time of year you don’t want to nitpick your team too much because the bottom line, a win is a win. I’ll let them enjoy it. (But) we’ll talk about some things; maybe shorten up some swings with runners in scoring position. I think our swings are getting a little bit too big.”

“And we had to go to Michael Byrne again. We’re going to have to get some help on the back end of the game.”

Next will be either Texas Tech or Arkansas on Thursday. Well, maybe Thursday. Weather is swinging the big bat in this tournament at the moment.

Can the magic carpet ride of the Mississippi State pitchers continue?

The Bulldogs have given up two runs in 18 innings, struck out 13 and walked two. That’s a pretty good reason they’re 2-0.

Another is how they keep knocking down the door whenever the other team leaves it ajar. North Carolina committed three errors Tuesday — as many as the Tar Heels had in their first six NCAA tournament games combined.

Mississippi State used them to score eight unearned runs. Tar Heels pitcher Austin Bergner threw maybe one bad pitch in seven innings, a hanging breaking ball. Jordan Westburg, the No. 9 hitter, sent it into the left field stands for a grand slam. “One bad pitch, like, out of 98,” North Carolina coach Mike Fox said. “They made us pay for it.”

And that’s one way the Bulldogs keep moving on. “I think everybody that’s here is capable of taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes. I think that’s how you get here,” coach Gary Henderson said. “I think absolutely we are better at that piece of the game than we were.”

Can Cooper Criswell save the Tar Heels?

He’s given up one run and eight hits in 13 postseason innings. He came out of the bullpen to put away Oregon State Saturday. When they meet again, he’ll be starting against the Beavers.

Who’s the next unexpected hero?

Westburg had one home run all season before his grand slam. North Carolina’s Ben Casparius had not been at the plate since May 11 when he drove in three runs against Oregon State. Oregon State’s Kyle Nobach had 16 RBI during the entire regular season — but has 14 in the NCAA tournament and four in two games here.

Lots of individual big nights so far. Thirteen different players have had three-hit games already.

Any white-knuckle ninth innings coming soon?

Only three of the seven games so far have been decided by three or fewer runs. Last June, there were 10.

Will Arkansas’s bats stay afire after scoring 25 runs in its last two games? Will Texas Tech remain the team that is so hard to score on, and just took care of Brady Singer? “They just beat us,” O’Sullivan said.

The Razorbacks and Red Raiders will meet in the next game – whenever that is. It was postponed Tuesday night and more rain is due Wednesday. This, in a College World Series that already has had delays of 4:31 and 2:29, and two postponements.

Texas and Washington are gone. Mississippi State is 2-0. Arkansas and Texas Tech have played one game in four days. And everyone else is fighting to stay around, including the Florida team that won here last June. The Gators are pretty good at this survival business. They’re 6-0 the past two seasons in elimination games.

“If you don’t play the game you’re playing you’re not going to play another game,” Byrne said. “So right now, you have to play one game at a time, one day at a time.”

And, he could have added, one weather delay at a time.

2018 College World Series 2018 schedule: bracket, Start times, matchups

The regionals and super regionals are in the books. The road to Omaha is now complete and the remaining eight teams are now in Omaha to compete for a national championship. The 2018 NCAA baseball College World Series begins Saturday in TD Ameritrade Park.

The eight teams: Oregon State, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Washington, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Texas Tech.

The format is two four-team, double-elimination brackets. The first four and last four teams listed above comprise the two brackets, respectively.

Schedule

Saturday, June 16

  • Game 1: North Carolina 8, Oregon State 6
  • Game 2: Mississippi State 1, Washington 0

Sunday, June 17

  • Game 3: Arkansas 11, Texas 5
  • Game 4: Texas Tech 6, Florida 3

Monday, June 18

  • Game 5: Oregon State 14, Washington 5 (Washington eliminated)

Tuesday, June 19

  • Game 6: Mississippi State 12, North Carolina 2
  • Game 7: Florida 6, Texas 1 (Texas eliminated)

Wednesday, June 20

  • Game 8: Arkansas vs. Texas Tech, 12 p.m. ET
  • Game 9: Oregon State vs. North Carolina, 7 p.m. ET (elimination game)

Thursday, June 21

  • Game 10: Florida vs. Game 8 loser, 8 p.m. ET (elimination game)

Friday, June 22

  • Game 11: Mississippi State vs. Game 9 winner, 3 p.m. ET
  • Game 12: Game 8 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 8 p.m. ET

Saturday, June 23

  • Game 13 (if necessary): Game 11 winner vs. Game 11 loser, 3 p.m. ET
  • Game 14 (if necessary): Game 12 winner vs. Game 12 loser, 8 p.m. ET

Monday, June 25

  • College World Series finals, Game 1. 7 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 26

  • College World Series finals, Game 2. 7 p.m. ET

Wednesday, June 27

  • College World Series finals, Game 3 (if necessary). 7 p.m. ET

Blue vs Braves Jays odds 2018: Atlanta a small road betting favorite for Day 4 Game

The Atlanta Braves have retaken the lead in the National League East thanks to a 5-1 record over their last six games and a Toronto Blue Jays sweep over Atlanta’s division rival Washington Nationals over the weekend. After getting help from the Blue Jays last week, the Braves will now try to beat them in a two-game road series starting Tuesday night.

Atlanta is a slight road favorite at -108 in the series opener in Toronto at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark Mike Soroka will take the hill for Atlanta facing Jaime Garcia and the Blue Jays who are going off at -102 at home.

Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays

When: Tuesday, June 19, 7:07 p.m. ET

Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Betting Line / Total: Atlanta -108 / 9 Runs

Braves at Blue Jays OddsShark Matchup Report

Atlanta Braves

The Braves didn’t look much like a World Series contender when they got off to a mediocre 12-10 start to the 2018 season. But since then, Atlanta has gone 30-19 over its last 49 games and put up some impressive numbers across the board.

The team ranks second best in the National League in run production averaging 4.85 runs per game and has the second best Team ERA among starters in the NL at 3.24. With a deep pitching staff and productive offense, there’s no sign of this year’s Braves club slowing down in a wide open National League.

At just 20 years old, Mike Soroka has looked comfortable in his first four big league starts with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. The Braves are 3-1 in Soroka’s four trips to the mound per the OddsShark MLB Database.

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto’s season took a nose-dive over the course of a 5-17 slump that started May 12. But thanks to sweeps at home over Washington and Baltimore, the Blue Jays are 7-3 over their last 10 games and 7-0 over their last seven at home.

The Blue Jays offense has been mired by injuries to Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson this season, but over their last seven home games the Blue Jays have averaged 6.1 runs per game.

Tuesday night’s total is set at nine runs. The OVER is 4-0 in the last four games between these two teams.

Atlanta is 16-7 in its last 23 games against the Blue Jays. This series wraps up with a pitching duel on Wednesday night between Anibal Sanchez and J.A. Happ.

College World Series 2018: Start Time, TV channel for Day 4

The 2018 College World Series continues (weather permitting) on Tuesday, with a trio of games. The first will be the delayed matchup from Monday between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and North Carolina Tar Heels at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

The next two games will see the Texas Longhorns take on the Florida Gators at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN and the Arkansas Razorbacks facing off with the Texas Tech Red Raiders at 7 p.m., also on ESPN.

Online streaming of the games can be had via WatchESPN, the ESPN App or via a subscription service that carries it. All games are from the TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Texas was absolutely blown out by Arkansas in Game 3, 11-5. Weather delays hampered the game and it took nearly three hours, but a huge sixth inning for Arkansas gave them the big win.

Florida, the top seed and defending champions, lost in Game 4 to Texas Tech, 6-3. This means that the Texas vs. Florida game is an elimination game, while one of Arkansas or Texas Tech will pick up their first loss of the bracket.

Mississippi State and North Carolina were set to face off on Monday, but poor weather caused the game to be delayed to Tuesday.

The full schedule and scores for the College World Series can be found here. Below, you can find all you need to know to watch Tuesday’s games.

How to watch the College World Series 2018 on Tuesday

Mississippi State vs. North Carolina | 11 a.m. ET
TV: ESPN2
Online Streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN App

Texas vs. Florida | 3 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN
Online Streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN App

Arkansas vs. Texas Tech | 7 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN
Online Streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN App