By Mike McCormick
It's that time of year when the ping replaces the crack of the bat for two weeks. The College World Series starts this weekend. Games 1 and 2 are Saturday at 3:00 ET and 8:00 ET on ESPN and ESPN 2. Games 3 and 4 are Sunday at 2:00 ET and 7:00 ET.
Oregon State enters the CWS with an impressive 54-4 record. But the program will need to go through the field of eight teams at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The 2017 CWS also includes baseball powerhouses LSU (No. 3), Florida (No. 4), TCU (No. 6), Louisville (No. 7), Florida State (No. 16), Cal State Fullerton (No. 20) and Texas A&M (unranked), so if Oregon State is going to run the table and set an all-time record, it won't be easy.
For perspective and to get you ready for the action, these are the top 10 college baseball seasons ever … so far.
10. 1991 LSU
The Tigers tied or broke 15 CWS records, including runs per game (12), slugging percentage (.603), fielding percentage (.993) and home runs (nine). Eight players posted a batting average above .300.
Future Major Leaguers: Chad Ogea, Andy Sheets
9. 1984 Cal State Fullerton
The Titans posted a program-best in wins, along with a .313 team batting average, and 13 players were drafted. They defeated defending champion Texas Longhorns, who had two straight 60-win seasons, in the final.
Future Major Leaguers: John Fishel, Greg Mathews
8. 1987 Stanford
This was the first of back-to-back titles for legendary coach Mark Marquess. Freshman outfielder Paul Carey hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning of an elimination game against LSU.
Future Major Leaguers: Jack McDowell, Ruben Amaro
7. 1973 USC
Probably the best of the Trojans teams that won five consecutive national titles from 1970-74, the '73 squad pulled off the greatest comeback in CWS history, scoring eight runs in the ninth inning against the Dave Winfield-led Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Future Major Leaguers: Fred Lynn, Randy Scarbery
6. 2011 South Carolina
This marked the Gamecocks' second straight title, and they become the first team to go 10-0 in NCAA postseason play. Their team batting average was .297 for the season, and the bullpen went 6-0 with a 0.53 ERA in the NCAA Tournament.
Future Major Leaguers: Jackie Bradley Jr.
5. 1978 USC
It's fitting for USC to have multiple entries here, since the school has won more national titles in baseball (12) than anyone else. The balanced Trojans put together a .313 batting average and 2.73 ERA for the season.
Future Major Leaguers: Dave Engle, Dave Hostetler, Dave Van Gorder
4. 1965 Arizona State
This was the first D-I championship for any school in Arizona. Rick Monday hit .359 for the Sun Devils in '65 before becoming the overall No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft and going on to a 19-year big league career.
Future Major Leaguers: Rick Monday, Sal Bando
3. 2003 Rice
The Owls won 30 straight games after a 3-1 start to their season and finished by crushing a 51-win Stanford team, 14-2, in the decisive CWS final. Every player that started at least 55 games hit above .290.
Future Major Leaguers: David Aardsma, Paul Janish
2. 1975 Texas
Boasting a whopping .903 winning percentage, this was the Longhorns' first of six baseball championships. The pitching staff was unreal: Jim Gideon (17-0, 1.80 ERA), Rich Wortham (15-1, 1.95 ERA) and Martin Flores (10-1, 1.43). Keith Moreland batted .410 to lead the offense.
Future Major Leaguers: Keith Moreland, Rich Wortham, Jim Gideon
1. 1995 Cal State Fullerton
The Titans swept through postseason play on the way to coach Augie Garrido's last title in Fullerton. They finished with a school-record .864 winning percentage and .336 batting average, and they had nine players drafted. Then-President Bill Clinton called them "college baseball's dream team," so what more needs to be said?
Future Major Leaguers: Mark Kotsay, Jeremy Giambi, Mike Lamb
Fittingly, in the very first game of the CWS on Saturday, Oregon State draws Cal State Fullerton.
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Mike McCormick is a contributing editor to Sports on Earth. Dylan Hornik contributed research to this report.