As the 2013 College World Series continues to wind down, the excitement surrounding Friday’s semifinal matchups has the baseball world in a frenzy over what should be two great games.
With four of the most exciting teams in the nation still playing, Friday’s action should be enough to satisfy even the biggest baseball fans.
2013 College World Series Bracket
Mississippi State vs. (3) Oregon State
When: Friday, June 21, 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Mississippi State's Biggest Key to Victory: Hunter Renfroe, 3B
While Mississippi State third baseman Hunter Renfroe may still be elated over the fact that he was selected No. 13 overall in the 2013 MLB draft, the team needs their big slugger to step up once again and lead them to a huge win over Oregon State.
Renfroe had a great regular season—amassing a .357 batting average, 62 RBI, 55 runs and 15 home runs in just 63 games—and he has carried the play over to the postseason by leading his team to the semifinals.
The third baseman went 1-for-4 with a run against Oregon State in the teams’ first meeting (a 5-4 win for Mississippi State on June 15), but the Bulldogs will need to be even better this time if the team wants to advance to the College World Series finals.
Oregon State‘s Biggest Key to Victory: Andrew Moore, RHP
According to Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune, the Oregon State Beavers will lean on starting pitcher Andrew Moore to stave off elimination on Friday.
While Moore was an absolute stud during the regular season—going 14-1 and racking up a 1.57 ERA in 126.1 innings—he struggled mightily against Mississippi State in the first outing, allowing four runs in 7.1 innings.
Moore will have to keep his calm on the mound and channel the player that dominated during the regular season. He must forget about his struggles last Saturday and prove his worth to the team with a big win Friday.
Final Prediction: Mississippi State 4, Oregon State 3
UCLA vs. (1) North Carolina
When: Friday, June 21, 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
UCLA‘s Biggest Key to Victory: David Berg, Relief Pitcher
While the UCLA Bruins aren’t known for their offensive weapons, the pitching staff—including relief pitcher David Berg—has utterly dominated the competition and has brought the team as far as they’ve gone.
North Carolina has a team that can put points on the board, and coupled with the solid starting pitching of UCLA, it will be the experience of Berg and his shut-down ability, as shown by his NCAA tying record of 23 saves in a season, that seals the victory:
Final: UCLA 2 NC State 1; WP Nick Vander Tuig LP Logan Jernigan SV David Berg. Berg ties the NCAA single-season record in saves with 23.— NCAA CWS (@NCAACWS) June 19, 2013
The Bruins want to give the star a chance to hold the record alone, and will look to give Berg his chance to shut down the Tar Heels on Friday.
North Carolina‘s Biggest Key to Victory: Colin Moran, 3B
There are a plethora of players on the North Carolina Tar Heels that must step up in Friday’s matchup, but none are more important than slugging third baseman Colin Moran.
With his team facing elimination against LSU on Tuesday, Moran went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. His team faced the same test Thursday, but Moran once again stepped up and went 3-for-4 and drove in another RBI.
If North Carolina can keep Moran playing hot and the rest of the team steps up like they did in the 7-0 victory over North Carolina State Thursday, UCLA will face its toughest test of the tournament.
Final Prediction: UCLA 4, North Carolina 3