College World Series tees off

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    By Nicholas Cottle

    The first game of the Men”s College World Series starts Friday, June 16, 2006 when the Clemson Tigers (52-14) face off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (50-16).

    The NCAA series hosts the eight winners of the best-of-three Super Regionals around the country.

    The teams joining the Tigers and Yellow Jackets for the chance to be champion will be Rice (55-11), Cal State Fullerton (48-13), Georgia (47-21), Miami (41-22), North Carolina (50-13) and Oregon State (44-14).

    The first CWS was played in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1947 with a total attendance of 3,792. Kalamazoo hosted the Series again in 1948.

    Former President George Bush was captain of the Yale baseball team that played in the CWS in Kalamazoo in 1948.

    The tournament moved the following year to Wichita, Kan. The CWS moved again the next year to its current location in Omaha, Neb. in 1950.

    A total of 825 CWS games have been played since 1947 with total overall attendance of 5,956,425.

    In 2005, the NCAA signed a new contract agreement for the CWS to continue in Omaha through 2010.

    According to NCAA Managing Director of Baseball and Football Dennis Poppe, most NCAA championship contracts are for one or two years leaving the Men”s College World Series unparalleled in its partnership with Omaha.

    “An agreement may be for three years if the championship has been at one site for a long time, but it”s unheard of to have a five-year agreement,” Poppe said in a press release. “No NCAA Championship at any level has remained in one location even close to the 57 years the Men”s College World Series has been in Omaha.”

    Texas, the 2005 champion, will not be competing in this year”s tournament, but the 2004 champion, the Cal State Fullerton Titans, will be squaring off against North Carolina in Game 2.

    The Titans will again be led by coach George Horton who has a winning percentage of .700 going 402-172-1 over 10 seasons.

    Cal State Fullerton will be looking for a fourth championship at the familiar Rosenblatt Stadium, considered a true pitcher”s park since renovations completed in 2002 that created longer power alleys and a higher outfield fence.

    The distance from home plate to the outfield wall stayed at 408 feet to straight-away center field, but the left field and right field foul lines were increased from 332 feet to 335 feet, so the elite eight will need to bring their bats.

    Game 1 will begin at 12 p.m. today and all games will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2.

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