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Ranking the Champions: #25-16

Updated: Feb 2

Ole Miss Celebrates 2022 National Championship. Photo by Reggie Wortman

25. - 2008 Fresno State:

An unranked, 3 seed, 43-31 Fresno State coached by Mike Batesole was on a hot streak at the end of the season as they won the WAC regular season and conference title. As one of 5 unranked teams over the past 26 seasons they are probably the least prestigious team on our list. But for all the Bulldog fans, yes, you got a title and have made the list. Justin Wilson (LHP) was drafted 144th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates and was the best player on this roster. They survived losses in the regional, supers, and World Series. Somebody had to be in last place and unfortunately for Bulldog fans, it was Fresno State.

24. - 2015 Virginia

The 2015 Virginia team had a 44-24 overall record and was an unranked 3 seed. They were the runner-up in 2014 and had a brutal regular season with a ton of injuries. Coach Brian O’Connor just kept believing in his team. They backed into the tournament after going 1-3 in the ACC Tournament, but they won 5 of the final 6 regular season games, just barely making a bid into the field of 64. Once in the tournament, this team caught fire and began looking like the 2014 ball club. Not a ton of MLB talent here, but Nathan Kirby was probably the best player, being the only first-team ACC pick on the roster. As much as we love our dude Stephen Schoch (not on this Cavalier team) this Virginia team was anything but dominant in 2015.

23. - 2022 Ole Miss

Ole Miss had a 42-23 overall record. They were ranked No. 1 early on in the 2022 season in most polls, but they really struggled once conference play started. A 14-16 record in SEC play and a load of question marks had this team on the bubble of even making the field of 64. Coached by Mike Bianco, the Rebs got in as an unranked 3 seed (likely the last at large selection) and really caught fire. As many of my colleagues said, “don’t let the Rebs get hot.” Personally, I was not a believer until their dominant super regional against Southern Miss. Even entering Omaha this team was still an underdog in a truly powerful field. Tim Elko was the emotional and field captain in this post-season and will forever be in the hearts of Ole Miss fans. Dylan DeLucia was terrific and really willed this team to its first National Championship, but the Rebs got hot and were not dominant throughout the season.

22. - 2016 Coastal Carolina

With a 55-18 overall record, the 2016 Coastal Carolina team was the 2 seed in the Raleigh Regional. Coach Gary Gilmore was dominant in the Big South League going 21-3. This team struggled in non-conference and was living high on momentum headed into the tournament. There were no real superstars or MLB talent on the roster. This team was an unconventional underdog that didn’t really have a huge following. While the Carolina’s continue to produce baseball talent, this team was pretty lack luster. Beating LSU in the super regional and Arizona in the final in close games was really the only exciting part of Coastal Carolina’s season. But, they do boast a National Championship and earned a spot on this list.

21. - 2007 Oregon State

The 2007 Oregon State team had a 49-18 overall record and was an unranked 3 seed who barely got into the tournament after winning the title the previous season. Coach Pat Casey and the Beavers started off hot but had some struggles in Pac-10 play, going 10-14. This team caught fire during the tournament after losing a game to Virginia. After that, the Beavers would go on to win 10 straight, beating North Carolina for the second time in two years in the final. This Oregon State team had a lot of talent in Eddie Kunz and Mitch Canham, who were both drafted in the first round. Canham now serves as Oregon State's head coach. While Darwin Barney was drafted later, he is probably the most well-known talent from this team and is also a coach for the current Beavers. While the regular season was a bit of a let down, the post-season dominance and back-to-back titles has this team higher on the list than the other unranked teams.

20. - 2004 Cal State Fullerton

The Titans had a 47-22 overall record and went 19-2 in conference play to win the Big West Conference. Coach George Horton, who was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year, led this team of talented California kids as a 12 seed through the pressure of Omaha. The Titans went 11-2 in the postseason, defeating perennial powerhouses Miami, South Carolina twice, and finally Texas in the finals. This team was opportunistic with the offense and had just enough pitching to win. Notable MLB talent include Kurt Suzuki and Justin Turner. They were overall, a great team but that 47-22 record is why we have them lower on this list.

19. - 2014 Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt went 51-21 for Coach Tim Corbin’s first title with the Commodores. They did not win either the SEC regular season or postseason titles after going 17-13 in conference play. They earned a 13 seed and cruised through the regional defeating the Oregon Ducks twice before beating Stanford 2-1 in the supers. In the College World Series, they would defeat Louisville, UC Irvine, and Texas before taking 2 of 3 from No. 1 seed Virginia. This team featured MLB talent Walker Buhler, Dansby Swanson, and Bryan Reynolds. They were a talented team but not winning a conference title tarnished the greatness of this season.

18. - 2010 South Carolina

2010 was the first of back-to-back titles for the Gamecocks, who went 54-16 overall. Coached by Ray Tanner, this team did not with either the regular season or postseason titles in the SEC after going 21-9. They earned the 13 seed and would make quick work in the regional, defeating a good Virginia Tech team, and in the supers where they knocked off Coastal Carolina. They then went 6-1 at the World Series, defeating UCLA in a pitching duel. This was the last championship ever to take place at Rosenblatt Stadium and it did not disappoint. They had MLB talent in Jackie Bradley Jr., Whit Merrifield, and Christian Walker. Although they were a good team, there was nothing flashy about this Gamecock bunch and it was easily the less prestigious of their titles.

17. - 2012 Arizona

The 2012 Arizona team went 48-17 overall. This was the first title for the new Pac-12 conference, despite the Wildcats not winning the Pac-12 after going 20-10 in conference play. This team is the first team on our list to go undefeated in the postseason, going 10-0 and preventing South Carolina from a third consecutive title. Coach Andy Lopez did a great job getting this 11 seed team to believe it was capable of winning a title and they defeated division rival UCLA along the way. Alex Mejia and Rob Refsnyder went to the MLB from this team. The Wildcats were all business and had they won the regular season Pac 12 title, would have been higher on the list.

16. - 2013 UCLA

Going 49-17 overall and getting the 12 seed, Coach John Savage was wanting revenge after making the World Series in 2012 and losing to conference rival Arizona. While the Bruins did not win a Pac-12 title, they did go 21-9 and were solid all year. Hosting a regional and beating three California schools (San Diego State, Cal Poly, and San Diego), they would go on to beat Cal State Fullerton in the supers for a California sweep. The success would continue as this UCLA squad wouldn’t lose a single game in the World Series, beating LSU, NC State, North Carolina, and taking the first two from Mississippi State in the finals. While the Bruins put on a dominant postseason, they only make the list once and their mediocre regular season and lack of MLB talent keeps them here in the middle of our list.

Written by Mark Garland

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