Ranking every College World Series championship team in SEC history
With Mississippi State’s surprisingly dominant Game 3 victory over Vanderbilt on Wednesday, 2021 marks the 13th time an SEC team has claimed college baseball’s national championship.
It was the Bulldogs’ first team crown in any sport. It also removed them from No. 2 on the list of programs with the most College World Series appearances without winning a title.
But where does Mississippi State’s run to “Starkville North” rank among SEC CWS lore?
With another Road to Omaha traversed, we attempted to rank every championship-winning team in SEC history. The list is based on overall performance, but also historical significance and meaningful storylines.
13. 2010 South Carolina (54-16)
Whit Merrifield’s 11th-inning walk-off on the final pitch at Rosenblatt Stadium capped an absolutely incredible run. The Gamecocks lost their first regional game, eked out a pair of close wins over Coastal Carolina during Supers and then battled through the losers’ bracket in Omaha after dropping their first game.
12. 2014 Vanderbilt (51-21)
The Commodores finished 3rd in the SEC East but caught fire at the right time. Vandy’s “pitching lab” was in full effect as it rolled through regionals, topped a plucky Stanford team in the Super Regionals, then outlasted Virginia in a 3-game championship series behind Most Outstanding Player Dansby Swanson.
11. 2021 Mississippi State (50-18)
Call it recency bias, but the Bulldogs get some love for winning it all in the first CWS since COVID-19 canceled the 2020 season. Fans flocked to Omaha in droves and painted downtown — and TD Ameritrade Park — maroon and white in a showing of support that rivals the great LSU followings of the 90s and early 2000s. The OmaDawgs also fought through adversity. They had to win Game 3 in the Super Regional just to get to Omaha, had to beat Texas in another elimination game to get to the CWS Finals, and then had to beat Vandy twice in a row to win it all. We’ll remember this one for a long time.
10. 2000 LSU (52-17)
Another stacked bunch sent the legendary Skip Bertman out in style. And how: The Tigers went 13-0 in the postseason and captured their 5th national title (all in a 10-year span). The roster featured future major leaguers Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot, not to mention reliever Trey Hodges, the CWS Most Outstanding Player.
9. 1993 LSU (53-17-1)
The conclusion of the ’93 campaign was deja vu all over again. The Tigers beat Wichita State in the title game for the 2nd time in 3 years. Todd Walker was the Tigers’ star, earning CWS Most Outstanding Player honors before embarking on a successful major league career.
8. 2009 LSU (56-17)
It didn’t take Tigers coach Paul Mainieri long to pick up where his predecessor, Bertman, had left off. LSU had to fight back against UC Irvine in Super Regional play, then lost its first game in Omaha before battling through the losers’ bracket behind Most Outstanding Player Jared Mitchell.
7. 2017 Florida (52-19)
There were times it was darn near impossible to make good contact against the Gators during their first and only championship season. Alex Faedo and Brady Singer comprised one of the best 1-2 starting pitcher punches in the history of the sport.
6. 1991 LSU (55-18)
The first LSU team to win a national championship bounced back from a frustrating defeat to Florida in the SEC Tournament to run roughshod through the NCAA bracket with a perfect 8-0 record (there were no Super Regionals back then). Six players, including pitchers Chad Ogea and Paul Byrd, were selected in that year’s Major League Draft.
5. 1990 Georgia (52-19)
Younger fans might be surprised to learn Georgia was the first SEC team to win a national championship in baseball. Led by pitcher Dave Fleming, the Bulldogs gave coach Steve Webber a ring in his 10th year with the program. The Dawgs’ staff led the way, posting a 1.40 ERA in Omaha that was the lowest in CWS history. Fittingly, they closed out Oklahoma State 2-1 in the final, holding the Cowboys to 5 hits.
4. 2011 South Carolina (55-14)
The 6th team to repeat as a national champion was also the first to go 10-0 through the NCAA Tournament. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Scott Wingo, anybody?
3. 1996 LSU (52-15)
The first of LSU’s back-to-back championships came courtesy of the best moment in college baseball history: Warren Morris’ walk-off home run to beat Miami in the title game.
2. 1997 LSU (57-13)
It can be tricky to parse through LSU’s 6 championship teams, but the 1997 version might have been the best. Bertman’s “Gorilla Ball” style saw the Tigers hit an NCAA-record 188 home runs, including at least one dinger in each of their 70 games that season. LSU pounded Alabama 13-6 in the championship game.
1. 2019 Vanderbilt (59-12)
The freshman version of Kumar Rocker seems like eons ago, especially after he was roughed up on short rest in this year’s championship game. But his pitching and Vanderbilt’s veteran presence carried Tim Corbin’s group to its 2nd national championship. SEC regular-season and tournament titles to go with it sweetened the deal.