With three spots left in the College World Series, six teams will be looking for something vital in Monday night's elimination matchups: consistency.
In Game 1 of the Chapel Hill Super Regional, North Carolina bested South Carolina with a walk-off single in the 10th inning to secure a 6-5 win before being shut out 8-0 in Game 2 behind the four-hit masterpiece from Jordan Montgomery.
With the series notched at one apiece, the Tar Heels’ Colin Moran and the Gamecocks’ Joey Pankake are the players to watch.
Oregon State dropped Game 1 6-2 after Kansas State’s four-run rally in the 10th but blistered the Wildcats 12-4 behind 21 hits in Game 2 behind Dylan Davis’ three RBI. Davis is the player who needs to step up tonight.
Virginia and Mississippi State will resume their suspended Game 2 matchup in the eighth inning with Virginia down 5-3 and facing elimination.
Here's a closer look at the players who need to pick up their games.
Colin Moran, North Carolina Tar Heels
The sixth overall selection in last week’s MLB draft by the Miami Marlins, Moran is one of the elite hitters in all of college baseball. After a 2-for-4 performance in the Tar Heels’ 6-5 Game 1 win, Moran failed to show up in Game 2, going 0-for-4 while stranding three runners on base. The offense goes as he goes, so the nation’s leader in RBI this season will need to come through in Game 3.
Joey Pankake, South Carolina Gamecocks
Despite four hits in 10 at-bats in this Super Regional matchup, Pankake stranded five runners on base in the Gamecocks’ Game 1 loss. Pankake is second on the team with a .316 batting average and his run production will be needed in the three-hole to propel the South Carolina offense.
Dylan Davis, Oregon State Beavers
Davis was a pedestrian 0-for-4 in the Beavers’ loss in Game 1 before carrying the offense with 3 RBI and a home run in Game 2. He leads the Beavers’ with a .343 average in the cleanup spot and his power will be needed to jump-start his team in the deciding Game 3.
Mike Papi, Virginia Cavaliers
The heart of the Virginia offense in the leadoff spot with his .381 average. Despite 2 RBI in Game 1, he’s 0-for-4 in the Game 2 that will continue tonight after being suspended. Papi looked lost at the plate in Game 2, as Kendall Rogers of Perfectgame.org noted on Twitter:
Haven't been too impressed with Mike Papi in a couple of at bats so far tonight -- kind of a "swing and pray" approach on a couple of those.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersPG) June 10, 2013
From North Carolina’s phenom, to the Gamecocks’ speedster; from Oregon State’s power hitter to Virginia’s leadoff juggernaut, Monday night’s games will showcase a diversity of stars that need to step up.
Expect a few homers and lots of hits from this bunch in tonight’s elimination tilts.