The 2018 College World Series is upon us, as eight teams–Oregon State, North Carolina, Washington, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Texas, Texas Tech and Florida–are set to battle it out in Omaha for a national championship.
The majority of the games will broadcast on ESPN, while one will be on ESPN 2 and another will be on ESPN U (complete bracket, schedule and TV listings here). Fortunately, even if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still easily watch all the games live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch a game live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with both its extensive on-demand library (which has many shows available after they air) and 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).
Sling TV: ESPN and ESPN 2 are both included in the “Sling Orange” channel package, while ESPN U is in the “Sports Extra” add-on. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of both bundles, and you can then watch live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
If you can’t watch a game live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.
WatchESPN: You can also watch live ESPN, ESPN 2 or ESPN U on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. You’ll need to sign in to a cable provider in order to watch these streams, but if you don’t have that, you can sign up for one of the above options and then use your Hulu or Sling TV credentials to sign in and watch on ESPN’s platforms.
Bracket 1: Oregon State, North Carolina, Washington, Mississippi St.
Ranked second in the nation, Oregon State looks like the favorite in this bracket following a dominant run to their second College World Series in a row and seventh appearance in school history. After going 44-10-1 during the season, the Beavers have won each of their five postseason games, outscoring opponents 49-8 in the process. They have three hitters who were taken in the first 40 picks of last week’s draft, led by Nick Madrigal who went fourth overall to the Chicago White Sox.
“They have an outstanding lineup,” Minnesota coach John Anderson said after his team was swept by OSU in the super regionals. “They are going to give people trouble trying to pitch to that lineup for nine innings, we found that out.
The Beavers, though, draw a tough opening round matchup in the CWS, as they’ll begin play against a North Carolina team that has enjoyed similar dominance this postseason, scoring 48 runs in their five wins. Though they don’t have as many elite-tier prospects as Oregon State, the Heels had a school-record 10 players drafted.
On the other side of the bracket, both teams are unranked but have each shown an impressive ability to overcome adversity.
Washington booked their first CWS appearance in school history with a dramatic, rallying win over Cal State Fullerton in which they fell behind in both the ninth and 10th innings, while Mississippi State began their postseason with a 20-10 loss to Oklahoma, and on the very next day scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win an elimination game over Florida State in Tallahassee. A lot of teams wouldn’t survive that kind of emotional swing, but the Bulldogs impressively gathered themselves and got back to the CWS for the first time since 2013.
Bracket 2: Arkansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Florida
Florida are the defending champions and No. 1 seed, so they are obviously the team to beat here. It hasn’t been an easy road for the Gators in the postseason, though, as they went to extra innings in the deciding Game 3 against Auburn in the super regionals.
They’ll begin play against No. 9 seed Texas Tech, who are making their third CWS appearance in five years. The Red Raiders have a CWS-low team ERA of 4.40, making this a very intriguing matchup against Florida’s star-studded lineup led by SEC Player of the Year and No. 5 pick Jonathan India.
The other first-round matchup is actually a rematch, as Texas and Arkansas met in a two-game series back in mid-March. The Razorbacks swept that series, winning 13-4 and 7-5. That came in Fayetteville, though, and the Longhorns have looked strong this postseason, giving up a total of just 14 runs in six games.