Meet the 2023 College World Series participants

Jun 25, 2022; Omaha, NE, USA; A member of the grounds crew clears the field of a beach ball during game 1 of the Men’s College World Series championship series between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Ole Miss Rebels at Charles Schwab Field. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 25, 2022; Omaha, NE, USA; A member of the grounds crew clears the field of a beach ball during game 1 of the Men’s College World Series championship series between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Ole Miss Rebels at Charles Schwab Field. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports /

The Men’s College World Series is ready for Omaha, but first baseball fans need to get to know the eight teams still playing for a championship.

The 11-day buzz around Omaha, NE is expected to be palpable, with eight teams from across the country settling inside Charles Schwab Field in Omaha in the 2023 College World Series.

It’s been nearly six years since a team from the field left has won a national championship. The utopia of college baseball has arrived with one team looking to be crowned as the new king of the sport.

Here’s a look at the Day 1 matchups, beginning on Friday, June 16 before meeting each of the eight teams.

College World Series schedule 2023: Dates, matchups and times

Friday, June 16

  • TCU vs. Oral Roberts – 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 Virginia – 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday, June 17

  • No. 1 Wake Forest vs. No. 8 Stanford – 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • No. 5 LSU vs. Tennessee – 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Games will be played from Friday, June 16 through Thursday, June 22 in a double-elimination format. The College World Series final will begin on Saturday, June 24 in a best-of-3 clash with the decisive Game 3, if necessary, being played on Monday, June 26.

College World Series 2023: Meet the 8 teams in Omaha

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

  • Last CWS appearance: 1978
  • Head Coach: Ryan Folmar
  • Team MVP: OF Matt Hogan
  • X-Factor: Reliever Cade Denton

The Golden Eagles have found some magic in June, being the third team in NCAA Tournament history to make the MCWS as a No. 4-seed in their region.

Last weekend was memorable for the program. After fumbling an 8-run lead in the first game, Oral Roberts bounced back for a walk-off in game two and a convincing 11-6 in the final match.

It’s the program’s second all-time CWS appearance and 51-12 marks its best record in a season. They rank at the top of nearly every offensive statistical category in the Summit League.

It’s not a fluke; they’ve made it either. Not only do they rely on offense but making clean plays on the field. The Golden Eagles lead the nation in fielding percentage at .984, headlined by Summit League Defensive Player of the Year shortstop Mac McCroskey.

The lights are at their brightest and opening the College World Series with TCU is no easy draw. The rest of the way will not give favors to the plucky underdogs.

LSU Tigers

  • Last CWS Appearance: 2017
  • Head Coach: Jay Johnson
  • Team MVP: CF Dylan Crews, 3B Tommy White, RHP Paul Skenes
  • X-Factor: RHP Ty Floyd

The Tigers come into the tournament with an embarrassment of riches. The projected No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the MLB Draft in Crews and Skenes, to go along with the best power hitter in the country in White.

That trio has helped propel the Tigers swiftly through the regional and supers with a 5-0 record. They have a making of a team that can run through the field with overpowering play at critical positions.

LSU is fresh off a combined 22-3 sweep of No. 12 Kentucky and should be among the favorites to win the title, which would be their first since 2009.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • Last CWS Appearance: 1955
  • Head Coach: Tom Walter
  • Team MVP: RHP Rhett Lowder
  • X-Factor: CF Tommy Hawke

Wake Forest is in a unique position as the No. 1 overall seed and making an appearance for the first time in over 65 years.

They own the best WHIP in college baseball at just 1.04 and the lowest team-earned run average by a wide margin at 2.84. It’s hard to get runs off this club.

The Demon Deacons flex their power in Winston-Salem, ranking in the Top 5 in the country in home runs. But playing in Omaha becomes a more significant challenge. Wake has unique field dimensions, with right field at just 300 feet and the left not much further back at 310.

In Omaha, each is 330. While the gaps and straight-away are relatively standard, playing in much deeper fences at Charles Schwab Field could keep some shots in the park.

Wake Forest has all the tools for a deep run, but getting used to a new environment and the pitching facing its biggest test will be top priorities.

Florida Gators

  • Last CWS Appearance: 2018
  • Head Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan
  • Team MVP: LHP/1B Jac Caglianone
  • X-Factor: RHP Hurston Waldrep

Florida collected win No. 50 with their 4-0 shutout over South Carolina to advance to the MCWS. The Gators’ pitching has been their M.O., especially when the bullpen is called.

Reliever Brandon Neely was named to the first All-SEC team and an All-American, collecting 13 saves on just a 3.66 ERA. He has struck out 64 batters in his 46.2 innings pitched. Others like Cade Fisher and Phillip Abner have been main stables and a key behind Florida’s success.

Caglianone is the two-way star, the rotation’s ace, while also hitting .336, with 31 home runs and 84 runs batted in. Although he was not given the John Olerud two-way Player of the Year award, it’s become a hot topic for discussion.

Florida’s batting lineup tends to go in dry spells, but with the arms they have, it would be a surprise if they were an early exit.

Virginia Cavaliers

  • Last CWS Appearance: 2021
  • Head Coach: Brian O’Connor
  • Team MVP: C Kyle Teel, RHP Connelly Early
  • X-Factor: 3B Griff O’Ferrall

The Cavaliers boast the best batting average in the country at .335, ranking first in doubles and seventh in runs. The team knows how to hit. And play clean ball.

Virginia has the third-best fielding percentage of any team left at .977. They have yet to make a ton of noise in this tournament, quietly sweeping the Charlottesville regional and dominating Duke after dropping the first game 5-4.

They have their fair share of history with the tournament, winning the crown in 2015 and being a runner-up the year prior.

Having the conference player of the year in Teel go with three other first-team All-ACC players in the field will be vital and they need to avoid a slump to get the No.2 Gators.

TCU Horned Frogs

  • Last CWS Appearance: 2017
  • Head Coach: Kirk Saarloos
  • Team MVP: RHP Kole Klecker 
  • X-Factor: SS Tre Richardson

The Horned Frogs enter the MCWS with the nation’s longest winning streak at 11 and have won 19 of their past 21. They are averaging 10.8 runs per game and have not given up more than five runs in a game since May 18, the last time they lost.

It’s safe to say TCU is the hottest team coming into Omaha.

Many players have been in rhythm at the plate, but a key for the Horned Frogs is getting third baseman Brayden Taylor involved.

He is TCU’s most complete offensive weapon and highest projected draftee but has struggled in the tournament, being hitless in his last three games.

The Horned Frogs may have the most momentum of any team left in the field, but the question becomes, can they maintain it against the best rosters in the sport?

Tennessee Volunteers

  • Last CWS Appearance: 2021
  • Head Coach: Tony Vitello
  • Team MVP: OF Jared Dickey
  • X-Factor: OF Christian Scott

The Vols had to battle Southern Miss and the weather this past weekend but preserved to clinch their second MCWS appearance in three years.

Dickey gets the engine running for this offense. A unit that was middle of the road in batting average and hits but swings for the fences more times than not. Their 125 home runs rank third in the league and sixth nationally.

They got through a 14-inning gauntlet against Clemson in the regionals. Their backs against the wall against Southern Miss trailing in game two after losing the first. It did not matter; they did not flinch as they got through the Golden Eagles in the Hattiesburg Super Regional.

Christian Moore has played his best ball yet at the plate and Chase Dollander is a great No. 2 option in the starting rotation.

Stanford Cardinal

  • Last CWS Appearance: 2022
  • Head Coach: David Esquer
  • Team MVP: RHP Quinn Matthews, C Alberto Rios
  • X-Factor: 3B Tommy Troy

Stanford’s path to Omaha was slightly different from the other seven. After a game-one loss to Texas, the Cardinal needed a herculean effort and was gifted Quinn Matthews. His complete game, 156-pitch effort earned them another night with an 8-3 win.

The following night, June Madness followed.

Both teams traded three-run half innings back and forth until the bottom of the ninth, where a fly ball got caught in the Palo Alto sky.

The Cardinal earned a third-straight MCWS appearance but has had a rough time getting to the national championship game. They have gone without a championship in their last 11 trips to Omaha.

Stanford could break the curse With more clutch play and a sprinkle of bounces.

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