Two days of the NCAA baseball super regionals has delivered fans of America's pastime some great baseball at the collegiate level.
A few series wrapped up after those two days of play, but there are four games on the schedule for Day 3 on Sunday. All four games represent Game 2 of the three-game sets, and the team's holding the advantage leading up to first pitch will look to get on the opposition early in hopes of advancing.
The road to Omaha is a long one, and the super regionals represent one of the biggest steps along the way. Given the brevity of the action, you'll want to keep an eye on the best matchups.
Here are the top three matchups for Day 3 of action.
Virginia vs. Maryland
Maryland shocked Virginia in Game 1 of the Charlottesville Super Regional, winning 5-4 after Maryland pitchers put two men on base in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
The Cavaliers also stranded 14 runners on base in the game, so it's clear that they had plenty of opportunities to score. Unfortunately, starter Nathan Kirby couldn't hold the Terrapins off the scoreboard early.
Virginia, the No. 3 team in the nation, entered the season as the No. 1 team. The Cavs stumbled late and fell to No. 3, though that's still an extraordinary finish to their season. Despite the slide at the end, head coach Brian O'Connor is proud of his guys, via Chris Graham of the Augusta Free Press:
I am proud. I am really proud of this club. Every club is different. Last year was a team of guys who were unproven and second years trying to push it forward. This team comes in with enormous expectations and managed those really well. To be the regional champions here and to go into another Super Regional is consistent and speaks to the quality of players that were consistently recruiting, it speaks to the consistency of the assistant coaches who remained loyal to the program.
Now down 1-0 in the three-game set, the Cavs will need to sweep the next two games. As one of the top teams on the road to Omaha, it's certainly possible. That said, an early hole is something you never want to be in when playing in a short series.
Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Ole Miss
Love offense? Then don't miss a single pitch of the Lafayette Super Regional. David Brandt of the Associated Press (via NCAA.com) highlighted the key offensive stats for each team:
The series will feature two of college baseball's best offenses.
Ole Miss has a .304 team batting average despite playing in the pitching-dominant Southeastern Conference. Louisiana-Lafayette has hit 66 homers in 65 games and has seven regulars hitting above .300.
One of the leaders for the Ragin Cajuns is second baseman Jace Conrad. The Associated Press (via NOLA.com) reported that Conrad was even named the Most Outstanding Player of the Lafayette Regional.
Conrad was just drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 13th round of the 2014 MLB draft, reports Garrett Galuszka of NOLA.com, and he'll use that motivation to show the Rays why they drafted him.
He is a solid athlete that plays a good second base, but he makes the most noise with the stick. Oh yeah, and his beard is quite remarkable.
TCU vs. Pepperdine
The TCU Horned Frogs are a fantastic team. Just how good are they? Well, they haven't gone cold in a long, long time, according to Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press (via the Sacramento Bee):
TCU was undefeated in its home regional, surviving an 11-inning opener against Siena, then outlasting Sam Houston State in 22 innings before beating the Bearkats again. The Horned Frogs have won 30 of their last 33 games since being 15-12 at the end of March.
Both teams have been successful this year because of balanced play, but the pitching has also been stellar, as Hawkins wrote, "The three Waves starters from last weekend are a combined 29-8 with a 2.33 ERA, while TCU's scheduled starting trio is a combined 27-9 with a 1.71 ERA."
Seeing which team prevails will be one of the many thrills a fan can experience in this tournament. Watching pitching-rich teams face off against other teams on hot streaks is a like watching two immovable forces colliding head-on.
Don't expect many mistakes. Don't expect many runs, either.
Day 3's game will be one of the top contests of the supers.
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