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Road to Omaha: The Fight for Glory

“Wake Forest Holds Top Spot in the AP Poll, LSU Looks to Repeat”

With snow clouds moving away, long sunny days ahead, and the fresh scent of spring air filling in our lungs, the road to the prominent College Baseball World Series, taking place in Omaha, Nebraska, starts February 16, 2024. College teams are jockeying for position to get to the prestigious tournament.

College baseball has an energy like no other, and has games that end up in insanity, hence the old adage, “Anything can happen.” Opening day for Division I baseball squads is soon, and with that, previews are upon excited college baseball enthusiasts. There is a lot to take in from last year’s exhilarating championship series between LSU and Florida. The two heavyweight rosters are both in the top five in the “Baseball America” preview for the 2024 season, looking scarier than ever. Returning player, Tommy White, known for his walk-off homerun against Wake Forest in the semi-finals, looks to be a key part in their offense. Look for “Tommy Tanks” to have a huge season on the once again loaded LSU roster. Returning player Jac Caglianone, the two-way sensation, looks to add on to an already threatening Gators lineup. “From my personal knowledge, I believe the best team is going to be the University of
Florida. An outstanding player like Jac Caglianone is going to carry his team this year to a victory in the College World Series. As a huge UF fan, this would be a dream come true,” Adrian Rojas said, a UC student who is highly passionate about college baseball.

Jac Caglianone

Florida comes in at No. 2 in the AP poll, Jac Caglianone gets excited after scoring in the College World Series., looking to bring the energy they brought last year to the college baseball world. The electric, young, and talented freshman class adds fuel to the fire for this season as first year players like Cameron Johnson (LSU) is one of many amazing first year players to keep an eye on. Drew Burress, the hometown kid from Georgia, looks to make an immediate impact for Georgia Tech as he is also one of the top freshmen in the country. UCLA’s freshman class is loaded with spectacular athletes like Roch Cholowsky, a sensational shortstop. Look for these players as they are projected to do big things in the 2024 season.

Sleeper teams, like Northeastern, enter this season at No. 23 in this year’s preseason poll where they just came off one of their best seasons in program history in the 2023 season. Last year, they went 44-16. This year could be the year they ball out in the College World Series tournament where they also return “four of its five most productive hitters,” including Mike Sirota who is projected to be a top ten pick in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft. Head coach Mike Glavine, who has coached at Northeastern for nine seasons, holds a 270-192-1 record coming into his tenth season.

In the New England Baseball Journal, Glavine told reporters that the team is “hungry” to win. “We didn’t accomplish our goals last year. As good as the season was, we didn’t win a championship or get to a regional final…So, these guys are hungry, and they know there’s some unfinished business.” Glavine and the Huskies have high expectations coming into this season, as well as many other fans, where they come in as the number one team in New England.

With the transfer portal being as big as ever in today’s world, players have switched schools to better their situations for themselves. Stanford baseball standout Braden Montgomery shocked the college baseball world as he made the decision to transfer to another baseball powerhouse, Texas A&M. He was a major part in Stanford’s successful run in the College World Series tournament. Montgomery batted .366 with 17 homeruns and 61 runs batted in last year as a sophomore. His freshman year, he was the PAC-12 Freshman of the Year. He made the All PAC-12 team as an honorable mention in his freshman season and as a sophomore, was named first team. This previous summer, he was selected to play on USA’s national collegiate team, a high honor. This year, he puts on his new threads and comes in as the tenth player projected to get drafted in the 2024 MLB draft. He joins an already talented outfield as he will be paired with another pre-season All American, Jace Laviolette. Look for this dynamic duo to put on a string of magical performances in their first year playing together.

In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Chase Burns from the Tennessee Volunteers, is now on the No. 1 team in the country, Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons add a big-time player who will have an immediate impact to a stacked pitching rotation. Burns turned in an eye-popping freshman season where he carried a 2.91 ERA with 102 strikeouts and a record of 8-2 over 80.1 innings pitched. However, his sophomore season, he did not have the same consistency where his ERA was 4.25 with a 5-3 record over 72 innings pitched. On the bright side, he had 114 strikeouts, which so far is a career high, and his fastball could get up to 102 MPH where he continuously showed flashes of potential which proved he could easily be the best pitcher in college baseball. With Wake Forest losing their ace, Rhett Lowder, who got drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, Burns looks to fill in that role nicely and be a dominant force for the Demon Deacons.

The SEC and ACC conferences look to be the top conferences in college. These two conferences always bring the fire power to collegiate baseball. Opening day could not come any quicker as fans are eager to see their teams in action. This season has the potential to be filled with surprises, celebrations, tough losses, close games, and loud crowds.

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