OMAHA, Sporting Alert – The 2016 NCAA College World Series gets underway with the first set of games on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
A pair of postseason standouts, UC Santa Barbara and Oklahoma State will open up the tournament at 3 p.m. ET, before No. 3 Miami and Arizona, the other two teams on the same side of the bracket, face-off afterwards at 8 pm.
Oklahoma State, which impressed during the Regional and Super Regional rounds, is making its 20th overall appearance in the College World Series, according to the school’s website, but its first since 1999.
The Cowboys (41-20) enter Saturday’s game with a 5-0 record in the NCAA tourney this season, after winning the Clemson Regional and then sweeping their way through the Columbia Super Regional.
This weekend, the Big 12 outfits will line up against the Gauchos, who have also been fruitful in NCAA tournaments this term.
UC Santa Barbara head to TD Ameritrade Park with an undefeated record in June, after winning the Nashville Regional and then dramatically claiming the Louisville Super Regional.
It is the first time the Gauchos are advancing to the College World Series in program history and the players are looking forward to making it a memorable one.
As for the predictions, the experts are bracing for a close battle, with OSU getting the slight edge 51-percent to 49-percent to win on Saturday.
UC Santa Barbara, 6-0 on neutral grounds, is ranked No. 23 in the NCAA RPI, while Oklahoma State, which is 4-5 at neutral sites, is 32 in the RPI rankings.
BRACKET 1 GAME 2
Game 2 in the College World Series in Bracket 1 on Saturday will see third-ranked Miami (Fl) battling with No. 21 Arizona.
The Hurricanes (50-12) are making their second straight trip to Omaha, and the 25th to the CWS in program history.
Arizona Wildcats (44-21) are making their 17th College World Series appearance, but their first in Omaha since winning their fourth national championship in 2012.
In the all-time meeting between these two college clubs, Miami leads the series 7-4, with the most recent battle coming in the 2008 Coral Gables Super Regional, which the Canes won 2-1.
Miami booked its place to NCAA College World Series after beating Boston College in a deciding Game 3 at the NCAA Coral Gables Super Regional.
The Hurricanes, who are 5-1 in NCAA tournament play this campaign, also won the Coral Gables Regional.
Arizona earned their College World Series place after capturing the Lafayette Regional Championship and then the Starkville Super Regional.
The Wildcats have won five straight games and 11 in the last 12.
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College World Series
TD Ameritrade Park (Omaha, Nebraska)
Saturday, June 18
3 p.m. on ESPN2: UC Santa Barbara vs. Oklahoma State (Game 1)
8 p.m. on ESPN2: Arizona vs. Miami (Game 2)