Photo courtesy of Ole Miss athletics

TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha has been vacant for almost two years.

Sure, the 10-year-old stadium has hosted events over that span of time. But the main event, the College World Series, is finally nearing its return after a year off, stirring from the cancellation of the 2020 college baseball season.

It’s a city that truly craves this illustrious event year in and year out. Fans around the country annually flock to the Midwest to lay their eyes on some of the most passionate baseball you could ever find.

The road to Omaha is now set as 64 teams were unveiled during Memorial Day cookouts. Those teams were placed throughout 16 NCAA Regionals.

This double-elimination format will allow the winner to advance to the best-of-three Super Regionals – where tickets to coveted Omaha will be punched.

So who are the 64 teams that are spread out at 16 different sites around the country? Who’s advancing to the Super’s? In the second part of a 2-part series, we give our regional picks and who to watch out for as we continue to inch closer to crowning a champion of college baseball.

Stanford Regional

(1) Stanford (No. 9 Overall Seed)

(2) UC Irvine

(3) Nevada

(4) North Dakota State 

Regional Player To Watch:

Brendan Beck, RHP, Stanford (7-1, 3.03 ERA)

Projected Regional Winner:

(9) Stanford

The Stanford Cardinal (33-14, 17-10 Pac-12) haven’t reached the College World Series since 2008. That may change this year, and with an overall talented pitching staff in the Bay Area, the Cardinal may not lose until they get to Omaha. 

South Bend Regional

(1) Notre Dame (No. 10 Overall Seed)

(2) Connecticut

(3) Michigan 

(4) Central Michigan 

Regional Player To Watch:

Steven Haijar, LHP, Michigan (4-1, 2.85 ERA)

Projected Regional Winner:

(10) Notre Dame

It was quite the year in South Bend for head coach Link Jarrett and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (30-11, 25-10 ACC), who did not lose a road ACC series all year long and cruised to the league’s regular season title. The train won’t stop now as power-hitting Niko Kavadas (.288, 16 HRs, 49 RBIs) and southpaw John Michael Bertrand (7-2, 3.33 ERA) will propel the Irish into their first Super Regional since 2002. 

Columbia Regional

(1) Old Dominion (No. 11 Overall Seed)

(2) South Carolina

(3) Virginia 

(4) Jacksonville 

Regional Player To Watch:

Andrew Abbott, LHP, Virginia (8-5, 2.63 ERA)

Projected Regional Winner:

Virginia

This is going to be such a fun regional. First off, you got the No. 1 seed Old Dominion (42-14, 22-10 Conference USA), who won a tough Conference USA, traveling to Columbia in what should be a packed Founders Park in front of one of the best fan bases in college baseball. But you can’t forget about Virginia either. The Cavaliers (29-23, 18-18 ACC) always make noise when they get into the tournament, including riding a No. 3 regional seed into a national championship back in 2015. The Hoos just always get hot at the right time, and they’ll do the same this year, winning arguably the toughest regional and clinching a spot in the Super’s. 

Oxford Regional

(1) Ole Miss (No. 12 Overall Seed)

(2) Southern Miss

(3) Florida State

(4) Southeast Missouri State

Regional Player To Watch:

Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State (.332, 22 HRs, 64 RBIs)

Projected Regional Winner:

(12) Ole Miss

This is another tough regional. Both Southern Miss (37-19, 22-9 C-USA) and Florida State (30-22, 20-16 ACC) will be tough to hold off in a regional round, but the Rebels (41-19, 18-12 SEC) will be tough to top in Oxford with some of the nation’s best pitching. Ole Miss will advance to the Super’s. 

Greenville Regional

(1) East Carolina (No. 13 Overall Seed)

(2) Charlotte

(3) Maryland

(4) Norfolk State

Regional Player To Watch:

Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina (10-0, 1.32 ERA)

Projected Regional Winner:

(13) East Carolina

The East Carolina Pirates (41-15, 20-8 AAC) have made Eastern North Carolina a stronghold as a regional host these last couple of seasons. However, it’s the first time they haven’t seen the likes of in-state powers Duke, North Carolina, or NC State in their regional in what seems like forever. The Pirates will take advantage, riding their horse Williams on the mound, and letting star second baseman Connor Norby (.424, 15 HRs, 51 RBIs) do his thing at the plate. 

Eugene Regional

(1) Oregon (No. 14 Overall Seed)

(2) Gonzaga

(3) LSU

(4) Central Connecticut 

Regional Player To Watch:

Landon Marceaux, RHP, LSU (6-5, 2.26 ERA)

Projected Regional Winner:

LSU

This is another case of a team that just barely gets in the field that is set to make some noise, and with the impending retirement of head coach Paul Mainieri, the LSU Tigers (34-22, 13-17 SEC) just automatically set themselves up for a magical run. The Tigers will win a regional in Eugene. 

Gainesville Regional

(1) Florida (No. 15 Overall Seed)

(2) Miami

(3) South Alabama

(4) South Florida 

Regional Player To Watch:

Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami (.284, 3 HRs, 36 RBIs)

Projected Regional Winner:

(15) Florida

You talk about a regional stoked with talent, it’s in Gainesville, Fla. Not only does it feature three Florida perennial powers in their respective leagues, but according to MLB Pipeline, the three-day tournament will feature four of the top 50 prospects for the upcoming 2021 Major League Baseball Draft. That includes Gators’ outfielder Jud Fabian (.258, 20 HRs, 46 RBIs), Del Castillo, South Alabama outfielder Ethan Wilson (.319, 8 HRs, 32 RBIs), and Florida right-handed hurler Tommy Mace (6-1, 4.32 ERA). All this collection of talent sways in the Gators’ favor. Florida will fend off the rest of the field and advance in the NCAA Tournament. 

Ruston Regional

(1) Louisiana Tech (No. 16 Overall Seed)

(2) NC State

(3) Alabama

(4) Rider 

Regional Player To Watch:

Jonny Butler, OF, NC State (.388, 12 HRs, 41 RBIs)

Projected Regional Winner:

NC State

The NC State Wolfpack (30-17, 19-14 ACC) started off 1-8 in the ACC. Since then, the “Pack 9” have garnered an 18-6 mark in league play, and were a play or two away from winning the ACC Championship. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (40-18, 22-8 C-USA) will pack the house in what should be a rocking college baseball environment in Ruston, but Elliott Avent’s ballclub is just too hot right now. Watch out for the Wolfpack and their relentless offense in the postseason.