Arkansas

Arkansas players celebrate their 14-1 win over Mississippi, clinching its spot in the College World Series.

The last two College World Series spots went to a couple of SEC teams that cruised through their winner-take-all games in blowout fashion Monday afternoon.

Auburn scored 13 runs in the first inning against North Carolina — the second-highest single-inning total in an NCAA tournament game — and secured a 14-7 win. That clinched the Tigers’ first Omaha berth since 1997.

Arkansas went about things a little more gradually Monday, but it still earned a dominant 14-1 win over Mississippi. The Razorbacks will make their second straight CWS appearance.

Those two Monday wins were the ones that solidified this year’s full eight-team College World Series field.

No. 7 overall seed Louisville clinched Saturday. No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 6 Mississippi State, No. 8 Texas Tech, Florida State and Michigan advanced Sunday.

Then came Auburn and No. 5 Arkansas, who each showcased the strength of their conference with those Monday routs.

Their berths reserved four CWS bids for the SEC, matching a series record. The SEC has sent four teams to Omaha three other times, most recently 2015. It had three teams here each of the last two years.

“It’s a great league,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said in his postgame press conference Monday. “It was really deep. It was an older league, for the most part. A physical league. And the starting pitching in the league was incredible.”

That’ll be one of many storylines once the games begin Saturday.

There will be two iconic coaches going for their first titles — Florida State’s Mike Martin is making his 17th CWS appearance and Van Horn is coming here for the eighth time.

Auburn

Arkansas players celebrate clinching a spot in the College World Series.

There will be underdogs. Michigan snapped a 35-year Omaha-less drought and Auburn ended a 22-year gap between berths.

The regulars are back — and hungry. Texas Tech’s making its fourth CWS appearance in six years. Louisville’s in Omaha for the fifth time (all in the last 12 seasons). But the Cardinals and Red Raiders are a combined 4-14 in those trips.

Mississippi State is bringing its wild fan base and a determined team that’s yet to lose in this year’s NCAA tournament. Vanderbilt, the No. 2 overall seed, is so overloaded with talent that it tied an SEC record with 13 MLB draft picks last week — and that doesn’t include freshman pitcher Kumar Rocker, who threw a no-hitter on Saturday.

But all eight teams have an equal shot at the crown. And that’ll be the objective.

Guys like Auburn’s Edouard Julien made sure to celebrate some first, though. The sophomore said Monday that the Tigers were motivated after they lost a super regional final to Florida last year. Overcoming that hurdle was meaningful.

“It’s crazy — Omaha was the big goal for everyone in the locker room, and just to be able to accomplish that,” he said on the SEC Network. “After last year, when we were one game away, to come out here and win the third game, it’s like a dream come true for me.”