The 2014 College World Series is set to kick off on Saturday, as the eight surviving teams prepare to do battle in Omaha, Nebraska.
It's been a long and arduous road to this point. After a grueling regular season, each of these teams had to surpass the double-elimination regionals, followed by the best-of-three super regionals, to get here.
That will surely only add to the intensity.
As we await another round of double-elimination action, let's prepare ourselves by taking a look at the full schedule, viewing information and odds, as well as predict which teams will get off to a hot start.
2014 College World Series Schedule
|2014 College World Series Schedule|
|June 14||3 p.m.||ESPN2||UC Irvine (40-23) vs. Texas (43-19)|
|June 14||8 p.m.||ESPN2||Louisville (50-15) vs. Vanderbilt (46-19)|
|June 15||3 p.m.||ESPN2||Texas Tech (45-19) vs. TCU (47-16)|
|June 15||8 p.m.||ESPN2||Virginia (49-14) vs. Ole Miss (46-19)|
|June 16||3 p.m.||ESPN2||Game 5|
|June 16||8 p.m.||ESPN2||Game 6|
|June 17||3 p.m.||ESPN2||Game 7|
|June 17||8 p.m.||ESPN||Game 8|
|June 18||8 p.m.||ESPN||Game 9|
|June 19||8 p.m.||ESPN||Game 10|
|June 20||3 p.m.||ESPNU||Game 11|
|June 20||8 p.m.||ESPN||Game 12|
|June 21||3 p.m.||ESPN2||Game 13 (if necessary)|
|June 21||8 p.m.||ESPN||Game 14 (if necessary)|
|June 23||8 p.m.||ESPN||CWS Finals: Game 1|
|June 24||8 p.m.||ESPN||CWS Finals: Game 2|
|June 25||8 p.m.||ESPN||CWS Finals: Game 3 (if necessary)|
Full updated bracket can be found at NCAA.com.
2014 College World Series Odds
|2014 College World Series Odds|
Odds courtesy of SportingNews.com.
UC Irvine vs. Texas
Andrew Morales has been simply fantastic for the Anteaters lately. He's coming off a five-hit shutout against Oklahoma State, which propelled UC Irvine through the super regionals.
Morales spoke of his performance to John Tranchina of the Associated Press, via NCAA.com, after the game: "Just execute pitches, keep the ball down and they can't hurt you. I trusted my curveball [Saturday] and my slider. Those have been my two best pitches all year. It was a great game to be a part of."
UC Irvine's been winning all over the place recently. Here's a look at its road trip, courtesy of the team's Twitter account:
Now, Morales faces a Texas team that's been on a roll lately after a lackluster finish to the regular season.
The Longhorns are no slouch on the mound either, as the team possesses a 2.32 ERA.
Expect a pitching duel in this one. The deciding factor will be if the Longhorns' bats can get going once Morales departs from the game.
Texas 3, UC Irvine 2
Louisville vs. Vanderbilt
The Cardinals haven't exactly found much success in the College World Series of late. This year marks the team's third trip since 2007, but it accumulated just a 1-4 record in its first two appearances.
NCAA Baseball tweeted congratulations to the Cardinals following the team's sweep of Kennesaw State:
This year, Louisville's pitching staff could change the team's fortunes drastically.
Right-handed pitcher Kyle Funkhouser is set to take the mound for the Cardinals in Game 1. He boasts a 13-2 record this season with an impressive 1.73 ERA.
The Commodores have some quality pitching of their own. San Francisco Giants draft pick Tyler Beede figures to get the start for Vanderbilt. He's struggled with his command a bit this season, as his ERA has jumped to 3.58.
If that continues to be the case, expect the Cardinals' top sluggers to take full advantage.
Louisville 5, Vanderbilt 3
Texas Tech vs. TCU
The Red Raiders may have their hands full in this one.
TCU boasts an incredible team ERA of 2.19, leading the nation in that category. The pitching rotation is very deep, and that's resulted in a big winning streak.
The Horned Frogs have won 11 of their last 12 games, including going 4-0 in the Big 12 tournament and starting the NCAA tournament with a 5-1 record.
Here's a look back at TCU's recent success, courtesy of a tweet from ESPNU:
While TCU continues to allow an average of roughly two runs per game, Texas Tech may not be able to muster enough firepower to get runs on the board early.
The Red Raiders have a couple of nice sluggers in Eric Gutierrez and Adam Kirsch, but the team's batting average is .287—not a consistent enough number to emerge victorious against a pitching juggernaut.
TCU 3, Texas Tech 0
Virginia vs. Ole Miss
Virginia enters the College World Series as the overall favorite. That should come with little surprise, as the team boasts the nation's fifth-best ERA of 2.31 and has enough offensive firepower to plate a reasonable amount of run support.
Although, the Cavaliers must be cautious against a very dangerous Ole Miss team.
With a 2.72 team ERA and .303 team batting average, the Rebels are an extremely well-rounded squad.
The Cavaliers may be the favorite, but the Rebels are surging. After Ole Miss routed Louisiana-Lafayette 10-4 on Monday, it ended a 42-year drought between College World Series appearances, according to a tweet from NCAA Baseball:
Given the Rebels' current hot streak, they'll come out firing and steal one early from the Cavaliers.
Ole Miss 4, Virginia 3