Pitching depth key in wide-open CWS

Without question, Texas is a tough, solid ballclub. Texas is the most balanced team, but South Carolina is a good hitting club. Arizona is fundamentally solid. Arkansas' numbers don't look great, but the Razorbacks play great baseball. Miami is a perennial power, and LSU can hit with the best of them. Cal State Fullerton can score in bunches, and Georgia plays a blue-collar game.

Really, paper comparisons aside, any of these teams can win. The key in this tournament is pitching and timely hitting. The team that gets good starting pitching and good bullpen work will have the best chance to win the College World Series.

Players to Watch
South Carolina C Landon Powell has great power and does a great job behind the plate.

Texas CF Drew Stubbs, only a freshman, is a polished hitter and fielder. His teammate, catcher/first baseman Curtis Thigpen, is a good hitter. Texas closer Huston Street is tremendous, and he's tournament-tested.

Miami third baseman Gabby Sanchez is a solid hitter, as is LSU right fielder Jon Zeringue.

Georgia pitcher Sean Ruthven, the son of former major-league pitcher Dick Ruthven, has thrown well in the tournament.

Remember, pitching staffs in college baseball aren't like major-league rotations. Each of these teams has about two strong starters, so to win the College World Series a team really needs its No. 3 and No. 4 guys to step up. Also, during the year coaches tend to be careful about pitch counts, with perhaps a 110- or 120-pitch limit. During the College World Series coaches probably will need to go with their starters longer.

Tony Gwynn, a career .338 hitter with the Padres, is the head baseball coach at San Diego State and an ESPN baseball analyst. Ask Tony in his CWS chat!

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