In a win-or-go-home matchup on Wednesday night in Omaha, Nebraska, the Indiana Hoosiers will look to continue their dream season against the Oregon State Beavers in the 2013 College World Series.
After winning seven straight games, including their opener in Omaha against Louisville, the Hoosiers dropped a 5-4 affair to Mississippi State on Monday. The Bulldogs win was never a guarantee until the final out, though, as the Hoosiers kept it close and nearly mounted a big-time comeback.
The Beavers, on the other hand, dropped their opening contest to the Bulldogs before coming back to eliminate Louisville, 11-4.
Both squads have beaten the same team and lost to the same team so far in Omaha, so it'll come down to who can win the one-on-one affair.
The winner will move on to play Mississippi State in the semifinals, who they must beat in two straight games to earn a spot in the championship game.
When: Wednesday, June 19, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
Key Matchup: Hoosiers' Power Pitching vs. Beavers' Hot Bats
Save for the UCLA Bruins, Indiana might have proven to boast the most formidable pitching corps at the College World Series.
The Hoosiers blanked Louisville 2-0 in the CWS opener for both teams. Led by a four-hit, complete-game shutout from ace Joey DeNato, there was nothing going on for the Cardinals offensively.
The OSU pitching staff ranks second in the nation with a 2.34 ERA, but they haven't been quite as dominant so far in the postseason.
However, their bats are making up for it by heating up in a big way. Their four runs against Mississippi State don't jump off the page, but an 11-run outburst against the sound Louisville squad leaves one salivating at the possibilities for Wednesday's game.
Having had three or four days rest, the Hoosiers may as well go with DeNato again on Wednesday night. It's unclear as of now, since it can be quite hard to come back so quickly after a complete game. But don't sleep on the idea of him coming into the game at some point, starting or not.
Player to Watch: Oregon State P Matt Boyd
Enough talk about Indiana's hot pitching. Oregon State senior Matt Boyd might be the most talented ace between the two teams and in the tournament.
Boyd boasts a 2.18 ERA and a 10-4 record on the season, but perhaps his most shining statistic is that he returned to Oregon State for his senior season just for this moment. He was taken in the 13th round by Cincinnati in last year's MLB draft and opted to return with the hopes of winning a national championship.
He's been the team's Friday night starter all season long as the No. 1 guy, but he came on in relief for the Beavers' CWS opener. He was surely looking for a much different performance, having been responsible for giving up the game-losing hit to Mississippi State's Wes Rea.
His Beavers delivered an 11-4 rout of Louisville in an elimination game to give Boyd one last chance to will his team to victory. That moment will come on Wednesday night against an Indiana team desperate to make its own mark.
Indiana has been the Cinderella story of not only this tournament but the entire college baseball season. Meanwhile, the Beavers boast just as much talent, if not more.
But a game like this comes down to momentum and clutch performances, and the Hoosiers have been dialing up much more of that as of late.
Indiana 3, Oregon State 2