OMAHA, Neb. — The best-of-three-games College World Series finals begin Monday night (7 ET on ESPN), with the Arizona Wildcats (48-22) taking on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (53-17) at TD Ameritrade Park.
Let’s go inside the numbers and check out 10 statistics to keep in mind as baseball prepares to crown its national champion.
1988: The College World Series adopted a format with two four-team brackets in 1988, and that was the last time that neither team playing in the championship game started 2-0 in the College World Series. Both Arizona and Coastal Carolina have won three straight elimination games to reach the CWS finals.
21.4: Batters have struck out on 21.4 percent of plate appearances in this year’s CWS, which would be the highest in any season. That continues a trend from the regular season, when there was an average of 7.17 strikeouts per nine innings. That’s the highest strikeout rate since aluminum bats were introduced to the college game in 1974 and a big part of the reason that there have only been 6.4 runs per game.
17: The Pac-12 has won 17 national titles, more than any other conference. And if you base the numbers on all championships of current Pac-12 members, it would jump to 28, as Arizona, Arizona State, California and USC all won national crowns as members of different leagues.
4: Arizona has won the College World Series four times and looks to tie in-state rival Arizona State for fourth all time with its fifth title this year. Each of the past four times that the Wildcats reached the championship game, they left Omaha with the trophy.
5: Arizona’s Jay Johnson is the fifth coach to lead his school to the College World Series championship in his first year. Before this season, the last to do so was Danny Hall with Georgia Tech in 1994. The trend isn’t Johnson’s friend, though, as the previous four all lost in the finals.
1.2: Arizona reached the CWS finals with some of the best pitching in College World Series history. The Wildcats have allowed six runs in five games in Omaha, or 1.2 runs per game. Before this season, only four teams had allowed fewer than 1.5 runs per game for an entire run through Omaha.
9: Coastal Carolina is the first school to reach the championship game in its first trip to the College World Series since Georgia Tech in 1994. The Chanticleers look to become the first team to win it all in their debut since Minnesota in 1956, the 10th year of the event. The past nine schools to make it this far in their first trip to Omaha lost in the title game.
53: Coastal Carolina has won 53 games this season, the most in Division I and second most in school history. If the Chanticleers win the title, they’ll match the highest win total in school history and become the first school since South Carolina in 2011 to win the title after reaching the CWS finals with more than 50 wins.
95: Coastal Carolina has hit 95 home runs this season, the most in Division I in the six seasons since BBCOR bats were adopted and power numbers dropped precipitously. Four Chanticleers have at least 15 home runs this season, while no other team in the nation has more than two players with that many homers.
1,098: Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore has won 1,098 games in 27 seasons as a head coach at South Carolina-Aiken and Coastal Carolina. He’s looking to become the sixth active coach with 1,000 wins and a national championship. The others are a who’s who of college baseball coaches: Stanford’s Mark Marquess, Miami’s Jim Morris, LSU’s Paul Mainieri, Rice’s Wayne Graham and UC Irvine’s Mike Gillespie.