An exciting pair of games to open up the 2014 College World Series on Saturday only set the stage for Day 2, with two more enticing matchups on tap.
UC Irvine came up clutch late in their opener versus Texas to open up action in Omaha, pulling out a 3-1 victory after the Anteaters trailed for much of the game. They'll go on to face Vanderbilt, winners of a 5-3 affair against Louisville in the late game.
After Sunday's games between TCU and Texas Tech along with Ole Miss versus Virginia, each of the eight teams will have played and four will be on the brink of elimination with another loss.
Let's break down Day 2.
|3||TCU 3, Texas Tech 2|
|4||Virginia 2, Mississsippi 1|
Visit NCAA.com for an interactive bracket.
Day 2 Results
TCU 3, Texas Tech 2
TCU came out hot in its College World Series opener against Texas Tech. The Horned Frogs withstood a late two-run Red Raider surge by matching it with two runs of their own to pull out the 3-2 victory.
NCAA Baseball summed up the result:
Preston Morrison stole the show on the mound for TCU, pitching 7.1 innings and giving up five hits to go along with 10 strikeouts. Early on, he caught the eye of Baseball America's Aaron Fitt:
Great start for #TCU's Preston Morrison—he's retired TTU's first four hitters, three via strikeouts. A craftsman on the mound, fun to watch.— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) June 15, 2014
Early on, TCU wasted no time proving why it was one of the No. 1 seeds to make it to Omaha. After retiring the Texas Tech side one-two-three, the Horned Frogs got in front in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Cody Jones doubled down the line and two straight sacrifice plays brought him home.
Suddenly, as CollegeBaseballInsider.com's Phil Stanton noted, it was 1-0 Horned Frogs:
Cody Jones doubled, was bunted to third and scored on a sac fly to center by Boomer White to give @TCU_Baseball 1-0 lead in bottom 1.— Phil Stanton (@roadtoomaha) June 15, 2014
For much of the game, it seemed as if that one run was all Morrison needed. He was retiring the side over and over, routinely punching hitters out between only a handful of scattered hits.
But it was the fifth and final hit Morrison let up that doomed him and started an eighth-inning Red Raider attack. After two runners moved into scoring position for Tyler Neslony, he knocked them home with a triple to put Texas Tech up 2-1.
Like clockwork, though, TCU responded right back. Keaton Jones beat out the throw to first for an early single. One batter later, Cody Jones singled and a throwing error brought Keaton Jones home to tie things up at 2-2. Before the inning was over, White knocked in another runner to make it 3-2 TCU.
Texas Tech put a runner in scoring position in the ninth, but closer Riley Ferrell firmly shut the door to give the Horned Frogs the victory.
Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock spoke after the game about the two starting pitchers—Red Raider starter Chris Sadberry and Morrison—and gave rave reviews for both, per Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson:
Tim Tadlock on Sadberry: He did everything he could to win the game.— Stefan Stevenson (@StevensonFWST) June 15, 2014
After opening up with a victory, TCU will go on to face Virginia. Texas Tech will get Mississippi, and the Red Raiders' backs are now against the wall in their first ever College World Series appearance.
Virginia 2, Mississippi 1
Take a bow Virginia pitchers Nathan Kirby and Artie Lewicki, you stepped up on college baseball’s brightest stage and absolutely dominated the Mississippi lineup for nine innings.
It’s not very often that a walkoff hit is outshined by a pitching performance, but that is exactly what happened for the Cavaliers. Kirby and Lewicki combined to allow a single hit, and the Rebels only scored in the eighth inning by scrapping together two walks, a sacrifice bunt and a groundout.
Lewicki earned the victory in relief, but Kirby pitched a nearly flawless seven innings.
It was the first one hitter at the College World Series since 1983.
On the offensive side, Virginia struck first in the fifth inning when Joe McCarthy singled home the run, but it was Mike Papi who was the hero. He drilled a double into the right-center field gap with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cavaliers the critical first victory in the College World Series.
Interestingly, Papi is widely considered the most dangerous offensive threat in Virginia’s lineup, and Mississippi chose to pitch to him in that situation with first base open.
Still, the story was about the pitching. ACC Baseball captured Kirby’s perfect first inning in some impressive images, while Sean Ryan of College Baseball Insider credited the pitcher for bouncing back in solid fashion:
Fantastic outing for Nathan Kirby. Followed worst outing of the year with one of his best.— Sean Ryan (@collbaseball) June 16, 2014
With the win, Virginia moves on to play TCU Tuesday, while Mississippi will now have its back against the wall in an elimination game versus Texas Tech. That contest also takes place Tuesday.
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