2022 Men’s College World Series

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2022 Men's College World Series

Anyone else out there who is completely exhausted after the NCAA baseball tournament regionals?

From Sunken Diamond and College Park to the Gulf of Mexico and Rocky Top, so many wild, wacky, and wondrous regional games were played that it was almost too much for our baseball brain to process. Thank heavens for ESPN+ and Squeeze Play, although by the time we hit the wee hours of Monday night/Tuesday morning, analysts Mike Rooney and Chris Burke looked like they’d just gone four days in a row Yelled at Scott Forbes, the North Carolina head coach. Sorry heels – too soon?

It’s never too early to look back at what we just saw, especially when there was too much of it to see at once. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 superlatives from the NCAA Regionals.

Best A-Rod Impersonation at A-Rod Field: Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami

The man they call Yo Yo went deep three times at Alex Rodriguez Park in Miami’s opener against Canisius, and his team needed the homers after falling three runs behind the Golden Griffins early on. Morales circled the bases in Coral Gables to chants of “Yo Yo! Yo Yo!” even if he could have done those laps in a row row, like a rowboat, for most of the weekend because Tropical Storm Alex wouldn’t stop raining on his saves. The Miami native became only the fourth player in Canes baseball history to hit three roundtrippers in a postseason game, alongside Scott Lawson (2010), Kevin Brown (2001) and Lale Esquivel (1999). By the way, you’ll be hearing a lot about this ’99 team over the next few weeks. It’s the youngest No. 1 overall to win the College World Series, a streak Tennessee is trying to end. Speaking of Tennessee, Yo Yo had a Vol-like swagger as he rounded bases on Saturday. Unfortunately, his team’s season ended on Sunday.

Best Tribute to Those Who Carry On: Air Force Head Coach Mike Kazlausky

The Falcons made it to the Austin Regional Finals against host Texas Longhorns and ended the season on Sunday afternoon, but Coach Kaz wanted to make sure his outgoing seniors got their due, so he brought all eight into the post-game press conference. Everyone instantly becomes an active military, from ballplayer to lieutenant.

Best Football Team Disguised as a Baseball Team: Oklahoma State

The Cowboys played two playoff games on Sunday and fell behind in both, 12-0 (!!!) against Missouri State in the afternoon and 7-8 against Arkansas on Sunday night. The Pokes won both games, 29-15 and 14-10. That’s 43 runs in one day. Last fall, the Oklahoma State football team won 12-2, surpassing 43 points just twice in one day. If you factor in the Cowboys’ loss to Arkansas on Saturday, they hit 55 runs in two days, which was almost half of the 115 runs all four teams scored Saturday and Sunday. When they hit just three runs Monday night, they were eliminated by Arkansas. Still, on Sunday, one had to remember that Pete Incaviglia paused somewhere while chopping down trees with his bare hands and pulling trucks with his teeth to look at Stillwater’s boxing results and smile.

Best Depravity in History: East Carolina

The Pirates are the best college baseball program that has never traveled to Omaha. The ECU is making its 32nd postseason appearance in the NCAA and 17th this century, including seven trips to Super Regionals since 2001, but has zero appearances in the College World Series. The Pirates suffered their first loss in 21 games on Sunday, but bounced back Monday with a 13-4 rematch win over Coastal Carolina. Now they’re hosting Texas in baseball-loving Greenville, North Carolina, where they’re already teaching kids how to salute the Horns… below.

Best Robbery: Vance Honeycutt, CF, North Carolina

The Diamond Heels struggled badly against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Chapel Hill area, clinging to a 6-5 lead by the bottom of ninth place. Then rookie center fielder Vance Honeycutt, the name with the most North Carolina-sounding name of all time, saved the day and maybe the season with a perfectly timed jump-and-snatch of a potentially equalizing homer by Georgia’s Joshua McAllister.

Best Baseball Thing We’d Never Seen Before: Jorge Corona, C, Louisiana Tech

The story of what Louisiana Tech had to overcome over the past four years to become a participant in an NCAA tournament is truly inspiring, from a tornado in 2019 that destroyed their stadium to a promising season a year later canceled due to COVID-19. In the Bulldogs’ tournament opener in Austin, Jorge Corona had two home runs as a sophomore, and one of them was a grand slam in the park. Yes, you read that correctly. Your eyes didn’t fool you, unlike the Dallas Baptist midfielder’s.

Best Uses of Junk Food: Texas A&M and Pringles

Perhaps the best part of the postseason is the rise of all the weird mascots and lucky charms that show up in the dugout, from Arizona’s taco hat to Tennessee’s fur coat and “daddy hat.” But the most delicious lucky charm is in College Station. And no, they are not lucky charms. The Aggies have long been frustrated by their neighbors at TCU, who have repeatedly seemed to be holding back A&M from postseason glory. So last year they hired longtime Horned Frogs head coach Jim Schlossnagle. Speaking to his new team, Coach Schloss said that hits are like Pringles potato chips: “Once you have a hit, you want another one and another one.” His team turned that into a rallying cry by taking cans of Pringles everywhere , wearing Pringles t-shirts they wore under their jerseys, and chewing Pringles in the dugout. After beating – you guessed it, TCU – to advance the Supers, they received a tweet from – you guessed it, Pringles – and maybe there will be some crisp NIL offers in the future from A&M. At least they get free cans of chips.

Best way to get banned from Michigan state forever: That call second in the Louisville game

After a 7-2 lead in the first inning in Monday’s regional finals against Michigan, Louisville fell two behind and stuck there through the eighth inning. There was a bang-bang play at second base. The Cardinals’ Jack Payton ripped a ball off the wall on the left and came in second just as the Michigan shortstop wiped the tag across base. Payton was said to be safe, and video verification revealed Payton’s fingers were marked, visibly causing them to move. However, the call stood. Had Payton been called out, the inning would have ended Michigan 9-7. Instead, Louisville’s Levi Usher tied the game up with a two-run single and Cameron Masterman followed by a two-run homer to bring home the deciding runs.

Best Summary of a Program: Texas State throws out Tristan Stivors

I wasn’t shy about falling in love with the state of Texas in 2022, and why should I be? It’s a sombre bunch of mullet-wearing, moustached, homer-slapping guys for a school making its sixth NCAA appearance and its first since 2011. The Bobcats flirted with the top 10 all year, thanks in no small part to that Tristan Stivors, who was closer, was the nation’s leader with 18 saves. But on Monday night, TSU head coach Steven Tout Stivors trotted to the mound at Stanford as a starter in a regional playoff game. It was the first start for the Castroville, Texas native since he fielded for New Mexico Junior College Thunderbirds in March 2019 … and he wears the number 13. He went a brave seven innings with 9 K’s and gave up just one run, over one second inning solo homer. But alas, it wasn’t enough…

Best Walk-Off: Night, Night by Sunken Diamond

There was no shortage of nominees in this category. Central Michigan via Liberty, Southern Mississippi’s 10th-inning single against Kennesaw State in the perpetually mad Hattiesburg region, Coastal Carolina’s closure of Virginia, and Maryland’s Nick Lorusso with his 11th inning, beating UConn and preventing elimination on the home field the terps on sunday evening. But in the end, the biggest walk-off was the hit that left the entire round, Stanford’s Trevor Haskins and his #Pac12AfterDark single Heard ‘Round Palo Alto eliminating Texas State in the final game of Regionals.

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