REGION — A pair of North County baseball standouts will face off against each other in tonight’s College World Series opener in Omaha, Nebraska.
Murphy Stehly (Santa Fe Christian) and Zach Prajzner (San Marcos High), both of whom grew up in Carlsbad and played in the La Costa Youth Organization, will take to the diamond for Texas and Notre Dame, respectively, at 6 p.m. on Friday night on ESPN.
Stehly, who plays right field for No. 9-seeded Texas, which qualified for the CWS after taking out No. 8 seed East Carolina in the Greenville Super Regional last weekend. The Longhorns trailed the series 1-0 before winning the final two games to earn a trip to Omaha.
The Irish scored the biggest upset of the tournament by eliminating No. 1 seed Tennessee in three games in the Knoxville Super Regional last week. Notre Dame even trailed 3-1 in the seventh inning of Game 3 but rallied to a 4-3 victory, earning the school’s third-ever appearance (and first in 20 years) in the College World Series.
The winner of Notre Dame-Texas matchup advances to take on the winner of Texas A&M and Oklahoma on June 19 on ESPN2.
Stehly is having a standout season for the Longhorns, hitting .375 with 64 runs, 19 home runs, 61 RBI and a 1.114 OPS. For the Irish, Prajzner, who plays shortstop and second base, is hitting .289 on the season with six home runs and 34 RBI.
Another notable North County representative is Cardiff resident Cade Brown, who is redshirting for the Oklahoma Sooners, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Also suiting up in the CWS is Vincent Martinez, another San Marcos grad, and catcher for No. 2-seed Stanford. Martinez has played in 25 games including 19 starts, while hitting .206 with five home runs.
Stanford is the highest ranked team left in the double-elimination tournament at No. 2 in the country, and battles Arkansas at 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. The winner takes on the winner between Auburn and Ole Miss on June 20.