CWS, NCAA to donate ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ to flood relief

CWS, NCAA to donate ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ to flood relief
Anthony Holman, NCAA director of championships and playing rules, and Jack Diesing, president of College World Series of Omaha Inc., at a press conference Wednesday. JESSICA WADE/THE WORLD-HERALD

CWS officials announced Wednesday a joint pledge with the NCAA to fund the rehabilitation of local baseball and softball diamonds affected by flooding.

“We don’t know the exact amount, but among ourselves here we expect to give tens of thousands of dollars to these entities,” said Jack Diesing, president of College World Series of Omaha, Inc.

The pledge was made in addition to grants also funded by the CWS and NCAA that annually benefit baseball programs in the area. Nearly $4 million has been distributed to those programs since 1973.

CWS announces free ticket opportunities for fans, first responders

College World Series officials on Wednesday announced opportunities for free or discounted tickets.

Fans attending Opening Celebration Day on Friday can receive a free general admission ticket to June 17-21 games by signing up at the CWS Table at Gate One between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and allow access to about 5,500 seats and standing room for an additional 1,500.

Anthony Holman, NCAA director of championships and playing rules, said there will be many free activities throughout the championship.

“We’re excited to provide discounts and free opportunities to first responders and military families,” Holman said.

First responders can purchase general admission tickets at the TD Ameritrade box office to Monday’s 1 p.m. game at a 50% discount. An official ID must be presented.

Children 12 and younger can receive a 50% discount on general admission tickets to Game 9 on June 19. They will also have the opportunity to run the bases after the game.

Military members, veterans and their families can receive a 50% discount on general admission tickets to the June 24 game, Game 1 of the Championship Finals. An organization ID must be presented at the box office.

When the Eli Young Band plays the CWS opening ceremony, one member will be making his Omaha homecoming

When the Eli Young Band takes the stage in front of a big crowd at TD Ameritrade Park, it will be a big homecoming for bassist Jon Jones.

An Omaha native and graduate of Westside High School, Jones attended the University of North Texas, where he met Mike Eli, James Young and Chris Thompson. They started a country band, naming it after its founding members: the Eli Young Band.

And with Grammy nominations and No. 1 country songs in tow, Jones and the Eli Young Band will play the College World Series Opening Ceremonies on June 14.

The first day of CWS activities begins with team practices and autograph sessions at 9 a.m. The opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 p.m., and the Eli Young Band will perform at 9:30 at home plate. Fireworks will follow the concert.

“This will be an extra fun one,” Jones told The World-Herald. “It’s the College World Series!”

Jones, 35, remembers attending the CWS numerous times at Rosenblatt Stadium, where he has lots of memories of sitting in the outfield bleachers.

“I’ve always really enjoyed baseball,” he said. “Now that I’m a dad, I enjoy going to baseball games.”

The other members of the band are excited to play the CWS, too. Three members grew up playing baseball, and the Texas-based group has played at multiple Rangers games. Last year, the group based its all-day festival at the Rangers’ park, Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Jones has told his bandmates more than a few stories — “We’ve had every conversation there is to have,” he said — about his many days watching the CWS.

Playing the event is just another step in a solid career for the Eli Young Band.

The group has scored two No. 1 country hits, “Crazy Girl” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” as well as a Grammy nomination and numerous Academy of Country Music noms.

Last month, the band released a greatest hits album, which included a new song, “Love Ain’t.” They’re also working on a new full-length album, which they hope to have out later this year.

“We’re more energized than ever to be out playing music,” Jones said. “It’s really been an absolute thrill. We’re incredibly lucky and fortunate.”

For the moment, the band is focused on its summer tour, which includes the stop in Omaha at TD Ameritrade Park.

Jones will have a cheering section. His sister lives in Omaha, and his brother is nearby in Iowa. And when he talks about Omaha while touring the country, he often gets asked about the CWS.

“It’s one of the biggest things that people associate with Omaha,” he said. “There’s something about it.”

CWS visitors guide: Info on parking, tailgating, tickets, schedules, bag restrictions and more

Can you take your purse in the stadium? How late can you tailgate? When’s that fireworks show again?

There’s lots to know before the first pitch. Whether it’s your first time attending, or you’re a College World Series veteran, here’s everything you need to know to prepare for the CWS.

What’s the schedule?

» The daylong Opening Celebration kicks everything off Friday, and games are every day, from Saturday through June 22. The three-game championship series starts June 24.

Saturday: Game 1, Texas Tech vs. Michigan, 1 p.m.; Game 2, Arkansas vs. Florida State, 6 p.m.

Sunday: Game 3, Vanderbilt vs. Louisville, 1 p.m.; Game 4, Mississippi State vs. Auburn, 6:30 p.m.

Monday: Game 5, 1 p.m.; Game 6, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Game 7, 1 p.m.; Game 8, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, June 19: Game 9, 6 p.m.

Thursday, June 20: Game 10, 7 p.m.

Friday, June 21: Game 11, 1 p.m.; Game 12, 6 p.m.

Saturday, June 22: Game 13, 1 p.m.; Game 14, 6 p.m.

Sunday, June 23: 8 a.m., Road to Omaha Run benefiting the Omaha Parks Foundation; to register, go to

Monday, June 24: CWS Finals Game 1, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 25: Finals Game 2, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, June 26: Finals Game 3 (if necessary), 6 p.m.

» Fan Fest presented by Capital One will be open every day of the CWS. It features food trucks, vendors and more. It opens two hours before each day’s first game in Lot C at 10th and Mike Fahey Streets and runs until the day’s second game of the day starts.

» The annual College Home Run Derby is June 29 at 7 p.m.

What’s planned for the Opening Celebration?

» Open team practices are 9:10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. New teams will take the field every hour. Players will be available for autographs for 45 minutes, starting 30 minutes after team practice. For a list of team practices, go here.

» Parade of Teams starts at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium. All eight teams will march east from Mike Fahey Street to TD Ameritrade Park.

» Opening ceremonies start about 8:45 p.m. Friday at TD Ameritrade Park. The free event will feature team introductions, U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue parachute team, Eli Young Band concert and fireworks.

Where can you park?

» Parking is available near TD Ameritrade Park in Lot A, for $10, or the CenturyLink Center garage for $12. Don’t try parking in Lots B or D unless you have premium seats or are a season ticket holder. Accessible parking is available free-of-charge in Lots A and B on a first-come, first-served basis.

» All stadium lots will open at 8 a.m. on CWS game days and will close 90 minutes after the event. There’s no overnight parking allowed at any TD Ameritrade Park or CenturyLink Center lot.

» No motor homes (or other RVs) will be admitted at the TD Ameritrade Park/CenturyLink Center lots either.

» City surface lots, garages, metered spaces and Creighton University are available for parking. If you leave your quarters at home, you can use the ParkOmaha app to pay the meters. Sunday is free at meters.

» There is a bicycle valet on Mike Fahey Street between 13th and 14th. For motorcycles, park on Mike Fahey Street along 14th.

What about shuttle buses?

Want to get to the game but not worry about parking? The City of Omaha offers a few options every day of the tournament, including a Stadium Circulator shuttle bus, regular Metro bus routes and a rent-a-bike program with drop-off and pick-up stations throughout Omaha.

Stadium Circulator

For 25 cents a ride, the Stadium Circulator bus might be the best option, looping through downtown.

» Runs every 10 minutes

» For the Opening Celebration, it will run from 9:30 a.m. to 30 minutes after the festivities end; on game days, it will run 90 minutes before the first game and 90 minutes after the last out of the last game of the day.

» Pick-up and drop-off locations include downtown hotels, the Old Market, CWS Fan Fest and the ballpark. For more information, visit

Where can I tailgate?

» Tailgating is allowed at all TD Ameritrade Park, CenturyLink Center and Creighton University parking lots

» Tailgaters must stay within parking stalls and can’t stake any tents into the ground. For safety purposes, all tents and equipment must be put away before entering the stadium.

How do you get tickets?

» Only single reserved seats are still available to purchase directly from the NCAA in advance. More seating options can be found on secondary ticket sites, such as the NCAA Ticket Exchange or StubHub.

» General admission ticket books are also on sale online, by phone and in person at the CenturyLink Center box office and at many area supermarkets. A $90 ticket book includes 10 tickets, which can be used all at one game or at separate games.

» General admission seating is in the outfield bleachers in sections 125 to 136. The first 5,500 people will get seats. Additional ticket holders may be allowed in as standing room only. Accessible seating is first-come, first-served.

» Trying to find last-minute tickets? Every day during the CWS, a limited number of reserved seats can be bought at 10 a.m. at the TD Ameritrade Park box office. Tickets are limited to four tickets per person, per game, and are sold through a random drawing.

Will there be beer?

Yes. Beer, wine and alcohol will be sold inside the stadium. You’ll need your ID and will be able to order up to two drinks at once for $6 to $9. Alcohol won’t be served after the seventh inning, and customers who seem overserved will be cut off.

Can you tour the stadium?

Yes. Fans can tour the park, including the clubhouse, batting cage, dugout and radio booths, at 9:30 a.m. daily, Monday through Friday (June 17-21) and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday (June 19 and 20). Tickets are $8 and may be purchased at the box office. Tours will meet at the Road to Omaha Statue on the corner of 13th and Cuming Streets and will last about 45 minutes.

What security is in place?

Fans entering the stadium can expect bag checks and metal detector wands. Local law enforcement will be at all entrances of the stadium and inside the stadium, along with event security staff. Concrete barriers have also been installed along the sidewalks by TD Ameritrade Park to protect pedestrians.

Additionally, the Omaha Police Department asks the public to immediately report any suspicious behavior or unattended items to nearby officers, or by calling 911.

What CAN you bring into the stadium?

» Clear bags or small clutch bags not exceeding 4.5-by-6.5-inches. For more on the clear bag policy, go here.

» Cameras are allowed in the stadium for personal use, but must have a lens shorter than 1 inch. No extra detachable lenses are allowed.

» One empty clear plastic bottle per person, 20 ounces or smaller.

What CAN’T you bring into the stadium?

» Other bottles or cans, outside food or drink or coolers.

» Purses, backpacks, camera bags, binocular cases, fanny packs and opaque bags of any kind (with the exception of medically necessary bags).

» Frisbees, beach balls, large umbrellas or noise-making devices (i.e. bells, whistles, horns, etc.)

» Illegal drugs or alcohol, weapons of any kind, including lawfully concealed firearms, or any item deemed to challenge public safety.

» Commercial signs or banners (without the prior approval of MECA).

» Drones, fireworks, laser pointers, selfie sticks, hoverboards.

Anything else?

» Gates open two hours before game time; parking lots open at 8 a.m. all game days.

» Don’t have a bag? Jump in the express line at Gate 4.

» People can leave and re-enter the stadium during a game, but they must be screened again for re-entry.

» Fans must leave between games. Gates will reopen either two hours before the next game or, if less than two hours, once the stadium had been cleared.

» TD Ameritrade Park is a smoke-free facility. Smokers must stay 20 feet away from the gate entrance. Electronic or vapor cigarettes are also prohibited.

» Per Nebraska law, open containers of alcohol are not allowed on public streets. Officers will be enforcing “open container” and “minor in possession” violations.

» Cox Communications is offering free WiFi throughout the metro area at 550 hotspots named CoxWiFiFree through July 1. For more info, visit

» Temporary radio station, AM channel 1670, can be heard within 3 miles of the stadium and will broadcast CWS info.

Everything you need to know about all eight College World Series teams

From College World Series history, coaching records, players to watch and scouting reports, here’s everything you need to know about the eight teams that reached the 2019 CWS.

Editor’s note: Each team is represented below by a “I heart the CWS” logo as part of The World-Herald’s preview section.

Rankings are according to D1Baseball, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball

* * *

Arkansas (46-18)

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas | Enrollment: 27,558


Record against CWS teams: 6-3 | Record against Top 25: 11-11

Rankings: 5 / 4 / 2


Record: 15-18 | Appearances: 9 (last in 2018)

National titles: None


Dave Van Horn (1,268-622)

National titles: None | CWS record: 8-14 (seven appearances)


The Razorbacks rolled through their home regional, outscoring Central Connecticut State and TCU 20-6 in three games. After trading blowout wins with Mississippi in the first two games of the super regional, Arkansas scored 14 straight runs to defeat the Rebels in the decisive game to clinch a CWS spot for the second year in a row and third time in five seasons.


The junior, who was a second-round pick of the Diamondbacks, leads Arkansas with 61 RBIs. He has scored 55 runs, hit 24 doubles, belted 11 home runs and compiled 139 total bases — all in the top three on the team. Fletcher hits in the No. 4 spot, and he keeps the lineup rolling in a variety of ways.


A freshman All-American in 2018 paces the team in hits (85), home runs (16) and slugging percentage (.574). He and Fletcher hit back-to-back, giving the Razorbacks one of the more potent Nos. 4 and 5 hitters in the country.


The Razorbacks were an out away from their first national championship a year ago, and finishing the job this year has been the focus since beginning fall workouts. Arkansas hits as well as any team has this season, with five players who have double-digit home runs, seven with at least 10 doubles, nine with at least 30 RBIs and six with a slugging percentage of .525 or better. There are not any easy outs in the lineup. Isaiah Campbell, a second-round draft pick, used his CWS start against Florida last year to springboard into an All-American junior season but the other two starters in the rotation are freshmen. If they can make the same strides in Omaha as he did a year ago, the Razorbacks could be well on their way to the title they narrowly missed last June.

— Andrew Stem

Auburn (38-26)

Location: Auburn, Alabama | Enrollment: 29,776


Record against CWS teams: 2-10 | Record against Top 25: 11-19

Rankings: NR / NR / 7


Record: 3-8 | Appearances: 4 (last in 1997)

National titles: None


Butch Thompson (180-120)

National titles: None | CWS record: 0-0


The Tigers slugged their way through the first two games of the regional, including a walk-off three-run home run against Georgia Tech. Then the Tigers scored 25 runs in their two super regional wins, including a 13-run outpouring in the first inning of the clinching game. In its five NCAA tournament wins, Auburn scored 55 runs.


After a freshman All-American season in 2018, Williams struggled for much of the season but has gotten going during the NCAA tournament. While his batting average is .241, Williams is 8 for 25 (.320) in six tournament games. During the tournament, he has three home runs, including the one to beat Georgia Tech, and driven in 13 runs. His bat has gotten hot when Auburn needed it the most.


Burns, a freshman All-American in 2018, won four of his first five starts in 2019, highlighted by a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati. During the past month, he has struggled with shoulder soreness, which has limited him to five innings in two postseason starts. His health will have an impact on how long the Tigers stay in Omaha.


After losing a super regional to Florida on a walk-off home run in Game 3 a year ago, the Tigers rebounded to get back to the College World Series for the first time in 22 years. Butch Thompson’s squad is a year ahead of schedule as many of the contributors are underclassmen. Auburn was 6-8 in its final 14 games before the NCAA tournament began, but the Tigers went 4-1 against two of the top ACC teams in regional and super regional play. They are peaking at the right time.

— Andrew Stem

Florida State (41-21)

Location: Tallahassee, Florida | Enrollment: 41,900


Record against CWS teams: 1-2 | Record against Top 25: 8-6

Rankings: NR / NR / 6


Record: 28-45 | Appearances: 22 (last in 2017)

National titles: None


Mike Martin (2,028-734-4)

National titles: None | CWS record: 21-32 (16 appearances)


Heading into their last game of pool play at the ACC tournament, the Seminoles were in danger of missing the NCAA tournament in Mike Martin’s final year as coach. Florida State shut out NC State 11-0, got into the NCAA tournament as one of the “last four in” and have not lost since. FSU swept through the regional, scoring 35 runs in three games, then swept LSU in the super regionals.


A first team All-ACC selection, the junior third baseman leads the Seminoles home runs (16), RBIs (56), runs (60), walks (69), on-base percentage (.484) and slugging percentage (.620). He has a home run and six RBIs in the NCAA tournament, inlcuding the walk-off single to clinch a berth in the CWS.


A first team All-ACC selection as a pitcher and a third team pick as an outfielder, Flowers has been one of the top two-way players in college baseball. He is second on the team with 13 home runs and third with a .511 slugging percentage. As the closer, he has 12 saves and has allowed four runs in 25 ⅔ innings.


When the Seminoles score, they tend to score in bunches. Florida State is 27-5 when scoring seven or more runs. The offense starts with Mike Salvatore, the team’s leading hitter, getting on base then the middle of the lineup — Mendoza, Reece Albert and Flowers — bring him in. Florida State was a preseason Top 25 team, but the Seminoles didn’t play that way for much of the year. Florida State is peaking at the right time to try to give Martin his first national title in his final season. Of note, Florida State is looking to become the fourth consecutive team to win the national championship after eliminating LSU from the NCAA tournament (Coastal Carolina in 2016, Florida in 2017 and Oregon State in 2018).

— Andrew Stem

Louisville (49-16)

Location: Louisville, Kentucky | Enrollment: 22,000


Record against CWS teams: 2-2 | Record against Top 25: 17-6

Rankings: 11 / 11 / 4


Record: 2-8 | Appearances: 5 (last in 2017)

National titles: None


Dan McDonnell (603-238)

National titles: None | CWS record: 2-8 (five appearances)


Baseball can be a strange game. The Cardinals, the No. 7 national seed, had to bounce back from a second-day loss to Illinois State and beat the Redbirds twice – and in walk-off -fashion in the finale – just to get out of their home regional one week. Then Louisville blasted a very good East Carolina team twice in the super regionals to become the first team to earn a trip to the College World Series the next.


It’s been one heck of a debut season for the freshman from Wisconsin. Binelas became the first Cardinal to hit for the cycle in 21 years and the first Louisville rookie to hit 10 or more homers in 12 seasons. And that was before the third baseman drove in the game-winning run in the regional final.


The Louisville ace was the ACC’s pitcher of the year, claiming the triple crown by leading the league in wins, earned-run average and strikeouts. The lefty from Illinois lost back-to-back starts before a strong outing in the super regional. The Cardinals will need him to be great against Vanderbilt.


The Cardinals are no stranger to Omaha, but they haven’t exactly fared well here. Louisville has only two wins in its previous four appearances and has won its College World Series opener just once. This team features great balance. The Cardinals are the only team in the field that ranks in the top 30 nationally in runs per game, earned-run average and fielding percentage. They lost to Vanderbilt 6-2 back on May 7.

— Tony Boone

Michigan (46-20)

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan | Enrollment: 44,136


Record against CWS teams, 0-3 | Record against Top 25, 5-6

Rankings: NR / NR / 16


Record: 12-12 | Appearances: 8 (last in 1984)

National titles: 2


Erik Bakich (255-160-1)

National titles: None | CWS record: 0-0


No CWS participant had a tougher path to Omaha than the third-seeded Wolverines, who were among the last four teams in the NCAA tournament field. They emerged from the regional hosted by defending champion Oregon State, beating Creighton twice in three tries along with Cincinnati. Then they ousted No. 1 national seed UCLA with white-knuckle victories — 3-2 and 4-2 — in three games. The Bruins hadn’t lost a home series since April 2017.


Walking on to Michigan’s football team was the goal before a shoulder injury in high school derailed that plan. He instead spent two years playing baseball at Lincoln Trail Community College in Illinois before joining UM’s baseball team. The results have been immediate: Big Ten player of the year and a third-round pick by Houston. The kind of athlete who could be a Division I receiver at many schools, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Brewer roams center field and owns 12 homers, 55 RBIs and 24 steals in 57 games.


The junior right-hander doesn’t have the strikeout totals of fellow rotation members Tommy Henry and Jeff Criswell. But the Friday starter set the tone all spring and ended with a team-high 114⅔ innings and team-low 2.59 ERA. The No. 77 overall pick to the Colorado Rockies last week struck out eight over 8⅓ frames against top-seeded UCLA last weekend, and could get a couple of starts in Omaha.


If not for a walk-off win over Illinois to escape going 0-2 at the Big Ten tournament last month, the Wolverines wouldn’t have even been in the NCAA field. Michigan wasn’t rated in polls to end the regular season and held a nonconference strength of schedule ranking 222nd out of 297 Division I teams. But the high-end athleticism and balanced power that set it apart in its league has been on display throughout the postseason. Combined with three elite starting pitchers and a decent bullpen, the Wolverines will be as an out at the CWS as anyone.

— Evan Bland

Mississippi State (51-13)

Location: Starkville, Mississippi | Enrollment: 22,201


Record against CWS teams: 3-5 | Record against Top 25: 16-8

Rankings: 3 / 5 / 5


Record: 12-20 | Appearances: 11 (2018)

National titles: 0


Chris Lemonis (51-13)

National titles: None | CWS record: 0-0


The No. 6 national seed joins Florida State as the only CWS participant to remain unbeaten in the postseason. And despite trailing in four of those five wins, the Bulldogs have outscored their opposition 37-13. They swept Stanford 6-2 and 8-1 in the super regional to ensure their season ends in Omaha in consecutive seasons.


The sophomore first baseman broke out as the team’s best power source this season with 14 home runs and tied for an MSU high with 22 doubles. The All-SEC first-team selection owns 59 RBIs for the nation’s No. 10 scoring offense (8.1 runs/game) and sports a .402 on-base percentage that has translated into 65 runs scored in his 64 contests this spring. Perhaps more than anyone, he responded well to the hitting approach of first-year coach Chris Lemonis.


The nation’s strikeout leader has come up big time and again for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound lefty with a low-90s fastball and deceptive changeup is among the nation’s top 10 qualified starters in earned-run average (1.76), 17th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.79) and second in strikeouts per nine innings (14.82). At 10-2, the No. 28 overall pick in the MLB draft and SEC Pitcher of the Year is good enough to will MSU to a win anytime he takes the mound.


Mississippi State is as balanced as anyone in Omaha. Its offense — with a nation-best 160 doubles in 64 games and team batting average (.317) that ranks fifth — is tailor-made for TD Ameritrade Park. No one has an ace better than Small, and the rest of the staff more than survived a rugged SEC schedule to post an overall ERA of 3.48, which is 12th nationally. Considering that most of these Bulldogs already have CWS experience from last year and have rolled through regionals and supers, momentum is on their side too.

— Evan Bland

Texas Tech (44-18)

Location: Lubbock, Texas | Enrollment: 35,893


Record against CWS teams: 3-1 | Record against Top 25: 12-7

Rankings: 8 / 9 / 5


Record: 2-6 | Appearances: 4 (last in 2018)

National titles: None


Tim Tadlock (718-276)

National titles: None | CWS record: 2-6 (four appearances)


The Big 12 regular-season champions didn’t have to leave home to earn their way back to the College World Series for the fourth time in six years. Texas Tech swept through its regional before surviving three-game tussle with league rival Oklahoma State to advance. Kurt Wilson’s three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning put the Red Raiders over the top in a back-and-forth super regional finale.


Cameron Warren: The first baseman has been an offensive terror for the Red Raiders during his final collegiate season. Warren led Texas Tech with a .354 average, hit 17 home runs and drove in a Big 12-high 76 runs. The slugger from Oklahoma is the lone senior on the Red Raider roster this year.


Josh Jung: The Co-Big 12 player of the year became only the second Red Raider ever to be picked in the first round of the MLB Draft when he went eighth overall to Texas. The junior infielder moved from third base to shortstop during the season while batting .342 with 14 home runs and 56 runs batted in.


The Red Raiders are a threat to win the College World Series in their fourth appearance. They have an outstanding starting trio – Micah Dallas, Caleb Kilian and Bryce Bonnin – that has gone 14-2 over the past six weeks. Josh Jung and Cameron Warren provide a 1-2 punch in the heart of the Texas Tech lineup, and Gabe Holt is an elite leadoff batter. The Red Raiders open with Michigan, a team they went 3-0 against.

— Tony Boone

Vanderbilt (54-11)

Location: Nashville, Tennessee | Enrollment: 12,592


Record against CWS teams: 8-1 | Record against Top 25: 10-5

Rankings: 2 / 2 / 1


Record: 11-6 | Appearances: 3 (last in 2015)

National titles: 1


Tim Corbin (841-491-1)

National titles: 1 | CWS record: 11-6 (three appearances)


The Commodores swept three games in their home regional — including two wins over Indiana State — and rebounded from an opening-game loss to Duke to win the final two games of the super regional to clinch the program’s fourth CWS appearance in nine years. Before the NCAA tournament, Vanderbilt won four games in a row to claim the SEC tournament title. In the SEC championship, Vandy rallied from an eight-run deficit to beat Mississippi 11-10 on Philip Clarke’s walk-off single.


A first team All-American, the sophomore third baseman’s 83 runs are second most in Division I. His 100 hits are third and .410 batting average is sixth. Martin also rates in the top 20 nationally in on-base percentage (.503) and total bases (151). He is second on the team with 18 stolen bases while boasting a team-best 33 multihit games.


The freshman right-hander threw the eighth no-hitter in NCAA tournament history in a 3-0 win over Duke in Game 2 of the super regional. He had two walks and set a school record with 19 strikeouts. For the season, he is 10-5 with a 3.50 ERA and has 97 strikeouts and 18 walks in 87 ⅓ innings. He allowed one run in 15 ⅔ innings in two NCAA tournament starts.


The Commodores enter the CWS as one of the favorites, and it is not hard to see why. Vanderbilt can hit at every spot in the order — 10 players have at least 40 hits and seven have scored at least 40 runs. The lineup features two first team All-Americans in Martin and Golden Spikes Award finalist JJ Bleday. The Commodores have outscored opponents 550-275. The rotation of Drake Fellows, Rocker and Mason Hickman along with Tyler Brown (14 saves) at the back end of the bullpen make Vanderbilt one of the most balanced teams in the country.

— Andrew Stem

2019 MLB draft picks in the College World Series

Here’s the list of every player selected in the MLB draft from each of the 2019 College World Series teams with more information on one of the more pivotal players for each squad.

* * *

Michigan Wolverines

Tommy Henry, LHP

74th pick (second round) by Diamondbacks

Karl Kauffmann, RHP

77th pick (second round) by Rockies

The junior has posted a 10-6 mark while leading the Wolverines with a 2.59 earned run average in 114 ⅔ innings. Kauffmann has flourished in the postseason by throwing 25 innings and giving up four runs and 13 hits and totaling 18 strikeouts in starts in the Big Ten tournament, Corvallis Regional and Los Angeles Super Regional.

Jordan Brewer, OF

106th pick (third round) by Astros

Jack Weisenburger, RHP

614th pick (20th round) by A’s

Jimmy Kerr, 1B/3B

982nd pick (33rd round) by Tigers

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Josh Jung, 3B

Eighth pick (first round) by Rangers

The Big 12 co-player of the year, and a second team all-American selection by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America, Jung became the second-highest draft pick in Texas Tech history behind Donald Harris, who was the No. 5 pick of the Rangers in 1989. The junior leads the Red Raiders with 62 runs scored, 22 doubles, 52 walks and a .476 on-base percentage. Jung also ranks second on the team in home runs (14), RBIs (56) and slugging percentage (.636).

Gabe Holt, OF

223rd pick (seventh round) by Brewers

Caleb Kilian, RHP

236th pick (eighth round) by Giants

Taylor Floyd, RHP

313th pick (10th round) by Brewers

John McMillon, OF

322nd pick (11th round) by Tigers

Caleb Freeman, RHP

440th pick (15th round) by White Sox

Cameron Warren, 1B

654th pick (22nd round) by Reds

Arkansas Razorbacks

Dominic Fletcher, OF

75th pick (second round) by Diamondbacks

Isaiah Campbell, RHP

76th pick (second round) by Mariners

A second team all-American by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America, Campbell boasts a 12-1 mark with a 2.26 earned run average. He tallies more than one strikeout per inning with 115 in 111 ⅓ innings. The junior, who struck out eight in a win over Florida in the 2018 CWS, surpassed the 200-strikeout mark for his career in a regional win over TCU, becoming the sixth Arkansas pitcher to amass at least 200 strikeouts in a career.

Matt Cronin, LHP

123rd pick (fourth round) by Nationals

Jack Kenley, SS

232nd pick (eighth round) by Tigers

Jacob Kostyshock, RHP

249th pick (eighth round) by Rockies

Cody Scroggins, RHP

287th pick (ninth round) by Red Sox

Zack Plunkett, RHP

611th pick (20th round) by Dodgers

Florida State Seminoles

Drew Mendoza, 3B

94th pick (third round) by Nationals

A second team all-American by Baseball America, Mendoza is third in the nation in his junior campaign with 69 walks and also ranks in the top 20 in Division I with a .484 on-base percentage. Additionally, he leads the Seminoles in home runs with 16, which rates as the most by a Florida State player since 2010. He also paces FSU in runs scored (60), RBIs (56) and slugging percentage (.620).

JC Flowers, RHP

124th pick (fourth round) by Pirates

Drew Parrish, LHP

229th pick (eighth round) by Royals

Mike Salvatore, SS

276th pick (ninth round) by Mariners

Vanderbilt Commodores

JJ Bleday, OF

Fourth pick (first round) by Marlins

The SEC player of the year, SEC tournament MVP and a first team all-American by Baseball American and Collegiate Baseball, Bleday leads the nation with 26 home runs and his slugging percentage of .717 is tops in the SEC. His mark of 182 total bases is also best in the SEC. Bleday, the 16th Vanderbilt player to be drafted in the first round in the past 15 years, has reached base in 45 consecutive games, and he leads the Commodores with 54 walks. He is second on Vanderbilt with 69 RBIs.

Drake Fellows, RHP

173rd pick (sixth round) by Padres

Philip Clarke, C

267th pick (ninth round) by Blue Jays

Ethan Paul, SS

274th pick (ninth round) by Pirates

Stephen Scott, OF

317th pick (10th round) by Red Sox

Zach King, LHP

381st pick (13th round) by Marlins

Gillis Jackson, LHP

403rd pick (13th round) by Brewers

Joe Gobillot, LHP

488th pick (16th round) by Rays

AJ Franklin, LHP

499th pick (17th round) by Royals

Patrick Raby, RHP

504th pick (17th round) by Reds

Pat DeMarco, OF

525th pick (17th round) by Yankees

Ty Duvall, C

764th pick (25th round) by A’s

Julian Infante, 1B

1,071st pick (36th round) by Marlins

Louisville Cardinals

Logan Wyatt, 1B

51st pick (second round) by Giants

Michael McAvene, RHP

103rd pick (third round) by Cubs

McAvene, a second team all-ACC selection, posted a 2.67 earned run average and totaled seven saves for the Cardinals. The junior, who began the year with five scoreless appearances, has totaled 46 strikeouts and allowed just nine walks in 30 ⅓ innings.

Tyler Fitzgerald, SS

116th pick (fourth round) by Giants

Nick Bennett, LHP

193rd pick (sixth round) by Brewers

Bryan Hoeing, RHP

201st pick (seventh round) by Marlins

Jake Snider, OF

604th pick (20th round) by Pirates

Drew Campbell, OF

697th pick (23rd round) by Braves

Shay Smiddy, RHP

1,088th pick (36th round) by Rays

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Ethan Small, LHP

28th pick (first round) by Brewers

Small earned numerous accolades for his season, including SEC pitcher of the year and first team All-American honors from both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. He boasts a 10-2 record with a 1.77 earned run average. His 168 strikeouts lead the country, and his marks of 14.81 strikeouts per nine innings and 0.85 walks/hits per inning pitched rank second in Division I. Small, who has recorded at least 10 strikeouts in 11 of his 17 starts this season, is also a finalist for the Collegiate Baseball Foundation national pitcher of the year.

Jake Mangum, OF

118th pick (fourth round) by Mets

Colby White, RHP

188th pick (sixth round) by Rays

Trysten Barlow, LHP

489th pick (16th round) by Rockies

Dustin Skelton, C

531st pick (18th round) by Marlins

Jared Liebelt, RHP

602nd (20th round) by Diamondbacks

Keegan James, RHP

759th pick (25th round) by Rockies

Marshall Gilbert, C

874th pick (29th round) by Pirates

Peyton Plumlee, RHP

946th pick (31st round) by Astros

Cole Gordon, RHP

958th pick (32nd round) by Mets

Tanner Allen, 1B

1,029th pick (34th round) by Rockies

Auburn Tigers

Will Holland, SS

149th pick (fifth round) by Twins

Davis Daniel, RHP

211th pick (seventh round) by Angels

Eduoard Julien, 2B

539th pick (18th round) by Twins

After a freshman all-American campaign in 2018, Julien backed that up with his second consecutive season of driving in at least 40 runs, becoming the first Auburn player in eight years to have at least 40 RBIs in back-to-back seasons. The sophomore leads the Tigers with 50 runs scored and also tops the team with 14 doubles, nine home runs, 54 RBIs, 24 extra-base hits and 44 walks.

Jack Owen, LHP

635th pick (21st round) by Cardinals

Elliott Anderson, LHP

679th pick (23rd round) by Royals

Ashes, bleacher ‘creatures’ and all the quirkiness that embodies Omaha’s College World Series

I can neither confirm nor deny the rumor that an Omaha guy’s ashes were sprinkled into the dirt behind home plate at TD Ameritrade Park.

But I believe it happened. Because Omaha has an undying love for this summer festival they call the College World Series, and it can get a little wacky in a folksy Omaha kinda way.

True, a lot of the hoopla is orchestrated, generated for the NCAA and TV. But a lot of it is organic, brewed from the chemistry of summer, baseball, and people flocking from all over the country (many from the bayous with food to share) to a spectacle in which somehow our normally modest, self-deprecating, slightly above-average city magically becomes THE place to be.

Kids line up for ballplayers’ autographs and scramble for foul balls in the stands during practice sessions. Throngs of young people with the bodies for sleeveless T-shirts or Daisy Duke shorts roam the stadium to see and be seen. Middle-aged people renew friendships formed at the CWS over many years, decades even, at tailgate barbecues and in blistering stadium seats.

The CWS chemistry produced the self-proclaimed Professional Tailgaters and their plastic pink flamingos. These guys from Omaha and across the country met for the series every year. They had a flamingo for every team. As each team was eliminated, as many as 100 people would gather for a “hooding ceremony” in which the tailgaters covered a flamingo’s head and played “Taps” on kazoos.

Baseball god-less heathens ransacked the Tailgaters’ encampment outside Rosenblatt one year. Strangers pitched in and bought them a new shade tent and pink plastic drink straws.

It’s tradition for Omahans to pick favorite teams and then root for them with the zeal of converts, the ardor of summer lovers, the goofiness of fans who long for a baseball player to throw them a ball or a batting glove.

I was there in 1997 when fans in Rosenblatt Stadium’s left-field bleachers (known by security as the creatures) fell for a Mississippi State left-fielder named Rusty Thoms. They chanted his name. Girls made T-shirts that said “Rusty.” A group of guys spelled out his name on their bare chests. Rusty threw bubble gum to them. He returned their stray beach balls before the grounds crew could pop them. Rusty’s mom came out and sat with the creatures as they chanted his name and sang “root root root for RUSTY” during the seventh-inning stretch.

I also was there when beloved former CWS public address announcer Jack Payne used to tell fans in the bleachers to “scooch up and get to know your neighbor” to make room for people coming in as the late great Lambert Bartak played “You Are My Sunshine” on the stadium’s Hammond organ. Omahans aren’t normally the type to share sweat with strangers, but we scooched.

I was not there when the ashes were allegedly sprinkled at TD Ameritrade. I heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend, who was there. A long-time CWS season ticketholder had told his seatmates behind home plate that when he died, he wanted them to make a little part of him a part of the stadium in that particular way. Then he did die. The way the story goes, his buddies smuggled a portion of his ashes into the ballpark, and with all appropriate ceremony gave them a final resting place in baseball heaven, which, by the way, is where this match of the CWS and Omaha was made.

Cue the organ music. It’s time for more stories to be made.