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Husky Baseball vs Mississippi State: Preview & Open Thread

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The Diamond Dawgs will play their first-ever game in Omaha against the battle-tested Bulldogs (5:36 p.m. Pacific, ESPN)

Washington Huskies baseball

The Huskies will play their first College World Series game ever tonight against Mississippi State. As the lower seeded team Washington will be the "road" team vs the Bulldogs

Game time is 5:36 p.m. Pacific (7:36 p.m. local in Omaha) on ESPN. North Carolina won a 4.5 hour marathon 8-6 over the Beavers in the CWS opener, forcing UW-Miss St back by about half an hour. That was the longest 9-inning game in College World Series history.

CWS Schedule

Notes:

All times listed are Pacific Daylight Time.

All TV broadcasts are on ESPN unless indicated otherwise.

Unlike the WCWS format, there is no crossover between the two halves of the bracket. The only games Washington could be in after their opener are games 5, 6, 9, 11, and 13.

For that same reason, the only three opponents UW could see before the championship are Mississippi State, Oregon State, and North Carolina.

Sat 6/16

G1: #6 North Carolina (44-18, 22-8 ACC) vs #3 Oregon State (49-11, 20-9 Pac-12) -- UNC wins 8-6.

G2: Washington (35-24, 20-10 Pac-12) vs Mississippi State (37-27, 15-15 SEC) -- 5 p.m.

Sun, 6/17

G3: #13 Texas (42-21, 17-7 Big 12) vs #5 Arkansas (44-19, 18-12) -- 11 a.m.

G4: #9 Texas Tech (44-18, 15-9 Big 12) vs #1 Florida (47-19, 20-10 SEC) -- 4 p.m., ESPN2

Mon, 6/18

G5 (elimination): Oregon State vs Loser G2 -- 11 a.m.

G6: North Carolina vs Winner G2 -- 4 p.m.

Tue, 6/19

G7 (elimination): Loser G3 vs Loser G4 -- 11 a.m.

G8: Winner G3 vs Winner G4 -- 4 p.m.

Wed, 6/20

G9 (elimination): Winner G5 vs Loser G6 -- 4 p.m.

Thu, 6/21

G10 (elimination): Winner G7 vs Loser G8 -- 5 p.m., ESPNU

Fri, 6/22

G11 (potential elimination): Winner G6 vs Winner G9 -- noon

G12 (potential elimination): Winner G8 vs Winner G10 -- 5 p.m.

If-necessary rematches of G11 and/or G12 would be played Saturday on ESPN, but times are TBD. The best-of-three championship series runs Monday 6/25 to Wednesday 6/27, all at 4 p.m. on ESPN.

What to watch for

The middle of the order has really fueled the Husky lineup in the postseason. Cleanup man Joe Wainhouse has been on a home run tear for over a month, but he's been joined by Levi Jordan and AJ Graffanino as big producers in the postseason for UW.

TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha is infamous as a pitcher's park. The park itself is large, but the bigger factor is the fairly consistent strong winds that blow in from center. Today's UNC-OSU matchup had a steady wind over 20 mph coming straight from center to home plate. If/when a few balls do go out, it will probably be on line drives and balls hit near the foul poles to avoid the brunt of the wind, rather than high flies. Clearly bodes poorly for Wainhouse, but nobody else on UW really hits much in the way of high fly balls.

Mississippi State is definitely more of an offensive-minded squad, averaging over 6 runs per game. 8 of the 9 position players to start at least 40 games this season have an OBP of .340 or better.

Leadoff hitter and center fielder Jake Mangum is the most dangerous hitter for the Bulldogs, slashing .353/.432/.484 on the season.

The #5 hitter, RF Elijah MacNamee has had a big power surge in the NCAA tournament. The average hasn't been much higher (.318 on the season, .333 in the tourney) but 5 of his 8 homers have come in the past 8 games. Interestingly, MacNamee has walked just 12 times total this season.