BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU’s first trip to the College World Series since 2017 means right-hander Paul Skenes has a chance to break a major strikeout record that has stood for more than three decades. Skenes is 15 strikeouts from eclipsing former LSU star Ben McDonald’s 1989 SEC mark of 202. Skenes’ fastball routinely clocks 101 mph. He’ll likely make his next start Saturday night against Tennessee in Omaha, Nebraska. Skenes says the record is in the back of his mind but that he’s more gratified by his chance to keep pitching for LSU on college baseball’s biggest stage. Skenes has 188 strikeouts in 107 innings.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Second-seeded Florida has its most talented pitching staff since winning the program’s lone national title in 2017. The group is so deep that coach Kevin O’Sullivan could face daunting decisions about when to use standout sophomore Jac Caglianone and highly touted freshman Cade Fisher. O’Sullivan says “certainly, we’re pitching at a high level at the right time.” It’s been nearly flawless the last two weeks, raising outside expectations and making the Gators one of the favorites to reach the best-of-three championship series. Florida opens bracket play against No. 7 seed Virginia on Friday night.
UNDATED (AP) — The College World Series begins its annual run in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday. The opening games match Oral Roberts against TCU and Florida against Virginia. Openers on Saturday pit Wake Forest against Stanford and LSU against SEC rival Tennessee. Wake Forest is the first No. 1 national seed since 2018 to make the CWS. Oral Roberts will assume the underdog role as the first No. 4 regional seed to reach Omaha since Stony Brook in 2012. Bracket winners will play in the best-of-three championship series starting June 24.