Eight teams still remain in the 2014 College World Series; although, that number is set to decrease in short order.
On Saturday, the first two games took place, as UC Irvine handled Texas and Vanderbilt defeated Louisville.
That brings us to Monday.
UC Irvine and Vanderbilt are set to face off in the winners bracket, and each will look to secure a win that will result in a very favorable path to the finals.
Conversely, it's do or die for Texas and Louisville, as the teams square off in the losers bracket. While the winner of this game gets new life and moves forward, the loser will be the first team to be sent packing.
As the tournament rolls along, the contests will only become more intense. To ensure not a single pitch is missed, let's take a look at the full schedule of Monday's games, followed by predicting how the day is likely to unfold.
|2014 College World Series: Monday's Schedule|
|Date||Time (ET)||Matchup||TV Info|
|Mon., June 16||3 p.m.||Texas vs. Louisville||ESPN2|
|Mon., June 16||8 p.m.||Vanderbilt vs. UC Irvine||ESPN2|
The full tournament bracket can be found on NCAA.com.
Texas vs. Louisville
At the end of this contest, one of these teams will be heading home.
Despite only scoring one run in its opener, Texas was in control against UC Irvine for seven innings. A devastating three-run eighth by the Anteaters cemented the Longhorns' loss.
Louisville dropped the game after allowing Vanderbilt to score in a variety of ways. The Commodores scored an early run on a wild pitch and a late run on a passed ball. These aren't the kind of mistakes you want to see this late in the tournament.
Louisville coach Dan McDonnell spoke with Howie Lindsey of Rivals.com about his thoughts on the loss and the upcoming contest against Texas:
I feel good about where we're at as a club and how well we've played in the postseason, but, you're facing seven of the hottest teams in the country. So we've just got to play a little better, that's all. I can tell you there's not going to be anyone hanging their heads on our side. You get to play Texas in the College World Series.
Both of these teams are looking to rebound after late mistakes doomed them on Saturday.
The Cardinals will start Anthony Kidston on the mound on Monday. Kidston holds a 9-0 record this season; however, he's hardly been invincible. With an ERA of 3.54, Kidston has struck out 64 batters while allowing 50 hits and 28 runs in 13 games.
Jeff Greer of The Courier-Journal confirmed Kidston would start:
Texas does have a few sluggers who could get to Kidston—namely Madison Carter and Mark Payton—although, the team will have to do much better than its combined .267 batting average to get past the Cardinals.
This game could feature a bit of scoring, but if Louisville's Cole Sturgeon and Jeff Gardner can spark the offense, it will be the Cardinals moving forward in the tournament.
Louisville 4, Texas 2
Vanderbilt vs. UC Irvine
The winner of this contest will be in great position to earn a trip to the finals—the loser will suddenly be facing elimination.
Both of these teams put on fantastic displays on Saturday.
UC Irvine was down by a run for a good portion of its contest; however, the team remained resilient. Taylor Sparks crushed his nation-leading ninth triple of the season to start the Anteaters' three-run eighth inning. Relief pitching was solid, and the team came away with a two-run victory.
Vanderbilt showed its prowess both offensively and defensively against Louisville. Dansby Swanson continued his great hitting, doubling in two runs for the Commodores, while reliever Adam Ravenelle pitched 2.1 shutout innings to seal the game.
NCAA Baseball captured Swanson's double on Twitter:
Coming into this game, these teams are very even on the mound. Both feature great rotations and solid relief. Vanderbilt is ranked 19th in the nation with a team ERA of 2.75, while UC Irvine is ranked 20th with a team ERA of 2.76.
The difference here will be at the plate.
UC Irvine's Sparks has been phenomenal this season, and he's continued his solid play well into the tournament. However, this ballpark suits small-ball offense nicely, and the nod must go to Vanderbilt in that department.
Bryan Reynolds and Swanson have 24 and 25 doubles this season, respectively, as the team accumulated 137 over the season against UC Irvine's 84. The Commodores offense is set up perfectly to produce runs at TD Ameritrade Park, and that will be the case on Monday.
Vanderbilt 5, UC Irvine 3