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Rutledge checks College World Series off her bucket list

Laura Rutledge loves the stories she gets to cover at the 2017 College World Series.
(Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

ESPN and SEC Network reporter Laura Rutledge has had quite a memorable year so far.

Just last month, she was named host of SEC Nation, and now she gets to check one more thing off of her bucket list: working the College World Series.

Rutledge, who joined ESPN in 2014, has worked on an array of college sports, including football, basketball, softball, baseball and gymnastics but the College World Series is something she always dreamed of covering.

“I’ve always loved college baseball,” Rutledge said. “This game is so special and when you’re playing it — wearing your school colors — it means that much more. The pride that’s on the line, as well as gutsy performances, makes this a bucket list event to see and experience.

This year’s College World Series has seen action-packed games and star power. Rutledge has been right on the field to report all of it.

“The really intriguing part of this event is that we will see so many of these stars at the pro level,” she said. “When you’re seeing matchups in Omaha that will undoubtedly be repeated in the big leagues, you know you’re witnessing something unique. The stories here are incredible. From crazy hair to honoring fallen police officers, there is so much to share.”

What’s the most exciting part about working on the CWS?

Rutledge: “The most exciting part has been all the home runs. This park is known as more of a pitcher’s park, but we’ve seen the ball fly out this year, and it really shows how much the lower seams on the new baseball have helped after being introduced a couple years ago. Witnessing the first ever grand slam in TD Ameritrade by Oregon State’s KJ Harrison was pretty neat.”

Rutledge, who attended the University of Florida, has had a front row seat to the Gators’ success in the CWS, and could potentially cover them in the CWS Finals. Four teams remain in Omaha: Oregon State faces LSU today, June 23, at 3 p.m. ET, and TCU takes on Florida tonight at 8 p.m., with both games on ESPN. Rutledge will work alongside Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and Kyle Peterson during the best-of-three CWS Finals, which begins Monday.

“The best thing about this year’s CWS is all the star power,” Rutledge shared. “That said, I’m excited for the championship series to see who solidifies himself in college baseball lore forever. It can sometimes be an unlikely hero.”

If the name Rutledge looks familiar to baseball fans, that’s because her husband Josh, is an Major League Baseball infielder for the Boston Red Sox and a former Alabama baseball player. While she covered baseball long before she became a Rutledge, Laura said Josh has had an impact on how she approaches covering the sport.

“Being married to someone who plays this game for a living has definitely affected the way I ask questions at this point in my career,” she said. “I think I’m fairer to the player or coach and what they may be going through than what it would be otherwise.”

Follow Laura on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all the CWS action.