After nearly a month of highly competitive baseball, just two teams remain. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are set to face off with the UCLA Bruins for the NCAA Men's Baseball Championship. The best-out-of-three series to determine the 2013 champion will get rolling on Monday.
Here's information regarding when and where to catch the games in a series that promises to be interesting:
Where: TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
When: Monday-Tuesday, June 24-25, Wednesday, June 26 if needed. All Games at 8 p.m. ET
The Bulldogs have hit their way into the CWS Finals. On Friday, as MSU beat Oregon State, the Bulldogs had four players with multiple hits. With five players hitting at least .300 and a team batting average of .297, the Bulldogs know how to manufacture runs. They've scored at least four runs in every game they've played since June 1.
The Bulldog offense relies heavily on the bat of Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe, who was picked No. 13 overall by San Diego, has the ball jumping off his bat. On the season, he hit 16 home runs, brought 65 runners home and hit a solid .355 at the plate. He also blasted the three-run homer against Oregon State that punched MSU's ticket to the finals. He will be carrying a 10-game hitting streak into the first game of the championship series.
Mississippi State will also have the advantage of a shorter commute to Omaha for their fanbase.
The hits will keep coming for the Bulldogs as long as Adam Frazier gets his at-bats. Frazier has reached base safely in 21 consecutive games, and leads the nation in hits with 106. The Bulldogs offense is a formidable foe for any pitching staff, which brings us to the UCLA Bruins.
As impressive as the Bulldogs are offensively, the Bruins are that impressive on defense, especially in the pitching department. As a team, the Bruins have an ERA of 2.61. However, the main man to watch on the Bruins' decorated pitching staff is David Berg. Berg took home Pac-12 Player of the Year honors and has been on a tear all season. He racked up 23 saves and boasts an insane 0.96 ERA.
If the Bruins have a lead late in the game, you can be sure that Berg will come in and face the intimidating Bulldog batters. Add in the fact that the Bruins have yet to lose this postseason, and you've got a scary matchup for Mississippi State.
The Bruins don't have the offense that the Bulldogs bring to the table, but they get hits when they need them. They run the bases well and, due to the insane pitching staff behind them, they don't need to score that many runs. If they can get a two- or three-run lead going into the late innings, it's pretty much a sure thing.
The Bulldogs and the Bruins will get things going on Monday in a series that has the potential to be great. In a classic matchup pitting a great offense against a great defense, this one could go either way.
The idea of a late game matchup of Renfroe going up against Berg with the game on the line is enough to excite any baseball fan.