How the College World Series works: Format, history, how to win

The 2018 College World Series is underway from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The reigning champion Florida Gators are back, looking to become the first repeat champions since the 2010-11 South Carolina baseball teams.

Last season, Florida emerged victorious with a championship sweep over LSU in an all-SEC final series. This season, Florida, along with Oregon State are back, joined by six new teams as The Omaha 8. Texas added to its long history in Omaha with its 36th appearance, while Washington makes its first-ever trip to the CWS. North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas Tech and the walk-off wonders Mississippi State round out the final field of the NCAA tournament.

So, with the opening round in the books, what do you need to know about the road to the national championship?

The eight teams were split into two brackets. Oregon State, North Carolina, Washington and Mississippi State made up Bracket 1, while Texas, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Florida composed Bracket 2. The four teams played in doublelimination format. This creates a Winners’ Bracket — consisting of both winners of the bracket’s first games and an elimination bracket. Once a team loses its first game, every game becomes an elimination game for them, as a second loss sends them home from Omaha.

The two teams that advance from Bracket 1 and Bracket 2 face off in the CWS finals. The slates are wiped clean, previous wins and losses no longer matter. It’s a new best-of-three series, and the first team to two wins is national champion.


The format has changed quite a bit since the inaugural College World Series in 1947. The current format was implemented in 2003 and has remained intact since. Sixty-four teams are selected for the field, where they are divided into 16 four-team Regional brackets. Those four teams play in a double-eliminaton tournament.

Sixteen winners eventually advance through those Regional tournaments, creating the Super Regionals. The Super Regionals are eight, best-of-three series, pitting two regions against each other. Once the first team gets to two wins in each Super Regional, eight teams remain.

Every game matters in Omaha. If it rains or in the event there is any weather considered unplayable before a game is played, it could be delayed or postponed to the next day. Tickets are still good for the game, whenever it is deemed suitable to play. In the case of weather causing unplayable conditions during a game in progress, it could be delayed for hours or even posptponed to the next day. There are no weather-shortened games in the CWS. Save that ticket, though. It’s still good for re-entry for the specific game, whenever play is resumed.

The NCAA makes it easy to follow along, providing weather updates on the CWS News page.

Is re-entry allowed at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha?

If you have reserved or general admission, you are permitted to reenter the park for the specific game you are attending. Reserved admission can re-enter through any gate, but general admission works differently. General admission ticket holders can only enter between Gates 3 and 4, and must go to the end of the line. Re-entry is not guaranteed for general admission. Note: Ticketing is separate for each game of a doubleheader.

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