By Joe Quinn - Co-Host of Omaha Sports Insider on AM 590 - ESPN Omaha, 2-6 CT weekdays.
Welcome to OSI Heat Index, a weekly look at local teams and assignment of a “temperature reading” based on the past week’s performance.
For instance, a temperature reading of “1” would be ice cold, while “10” would be scorching hot.
This week, it’s a special look at the eight College World Series teams following the first weekend of competition.
Heat Index: 10
The Chanticleers win over top-ranked Florida late Sunday night proved they’re not a fluke, and are a team that will challenge to make the finals. Nobody questioned Coastal’s makeup, but weren’t sure how it would play out against the big boys from Power 5 leagues.
Despite being looked at (and endeared) by many local fans as the “underdog,” the Chanticleers are in Omaha to make some noise.
Heat Index: 9
Although there wasn’t a lot of offense in the Cowboys win over UCSB, starter Thomas Hatch turned in a dominant performance on the mound. Hatch went the distance for Oke State, giving up just five hits and striking out seven.
Prior to the postseason, Oke State’s offense was a significant concern, and that resurfaced on Saturday. They’ll need to find a way to score more than one run going forward if they’re to advance.
Heat Index: 9
The Wildcats’ win over Miami may not have had the shock and awe that Coastal’s did over Florida, but it was a more complete win for certain.
The Cats rode a dominant combined pitching performance by Nathan Bannister and Cameron Ming, and took advantage of a shaky start by Canes SP Michael Mediavilla. Arizona jumped out to the early lead and never looked back.
Heat Index: 9
The Horned Frogs get the award for most dramatic win of the opening weekend, a 5-3 victory over Big 12 rival Texas Tech. After the Red Raiders took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Freshman DH Luken Baker put one into the seats to give the Horned Frogs the 5-3 advantage in the top of the ninth.
TCU has plenty of familiarity with Omaha, with this being their third consecutive year in the CWS. They’re just as dangerous as anyone left in the winner’s bracket.
Heat Index: 6
It wasn’t a good weekend for the remaining national seeds in Omaha, highlighted by the Gator’s loss to Coastal Carolina. However, despite being the #1 overall seed and one of the favorites, Florida did lose to a quality team in a tight ballgame.
The good news for Florida is they have the pitching depth to navigate the loser’s bracket and claw their way back into contention. It just won’t be as easy as it could have been with an opening round win.
Heat Index: 5
Miami had plenty of chances to rally after a disastrous start in their loss to Arizona, but couldn’t muster the big hit when they needed it. The Canes had runners in scoring position five times late in the game, and couldn’t get them across.
Miami will need a better start against UCSB if they are to advance. The Canes gave up three runs in the top of the first inning against Arizona, with two walks and two hit-by-pitches leading to the start of the damage.
Heat Index: 5
The late game heroics of TCU cost Tech a chance at a win late Sunday afternoon, but it’s hard to say the Raiders didn’t play well.
In one of the more entertaining games of the weekend, both teams battled back and forth throughout the afternoon before TCU broke through late. Tech scored runs, pitched OK, but just gave up a homer late to cost them the win.
The bad news for Tech? Next they’ll have to face the #1 overall seeded Florida Gators in an elimination game early Tuesday evening.
UC Santa Barbara
Heat Index: 4
It’s a tough pill to swallow when you get a one-run complete game performance from your starting pitcher, and still manage to lose the game. That’s the reality the UCSB is living right now after Shane Beiber was out-dueled by Oklahoma State’s Thomas Hatch on Saturday.
The Gauchos will face Miami in the first elimination game on Monday, and could likely be the first team to see their flag lowered outside of TD Ameritrade Park.