The pressure is mounting at the 2014 College World Series following the first couple days of the tournament.
The losers bracket is in place after the weekend's slate of baseball action. Four teams have nowhere left to hide in this double-elimination tournament and will be playing for their lives.
Monday night will see two teams try to stay on the baseball gods' good side and avoid the losers bracket. UC Irvine—on a stunning run as an at-large bid—will take on the hard-hitting Vanderbilt Commodores in what should prove to be a thrilling affair.
Not to be outdone, Day 4 features a Texas two-step and another eminently successful college program. TCU and University of Virginia will try to see who can pull off the latest late-game heroics, while Texas Tech and Ole Miss battle for the right to remain in the competition. One of those teams will join either Texas or Louisville—playing in the Monday afternoon game—with one-way tickets out of Omaha.
Here is the complete schedule and television info for the 2014 College World Series, followed by predictions for Day 4's games.
|Game||Date||Time (ET)||Result||TV Info|
|UC Irvine vs. Texas||June 14||3 p.m.||UCI 3-1 Texas||ESPN 2|
|Louisville vs. Vanderbilt||June 14||8 p.m.||Vanderbilt 5-2 Louisville||ESPN 2|
|Texas Tech vs. TCU||June 15||3 p.m.||TCU 3-2 Texas Tech||ESPN 2|
|Virginia vs. Ole Miss||June 15||8 p.m.||Virginia 2-1 Ole Miss||ESPN 2|
|Texas vs. Louisville||June 16||3 p.m.||Texas 4-1 Louisville||ESPN 2|
|Vanderbilt vs. UC Irvine||June 16||8 p.m.||Vanderbilt 6-4 UC Irvine||ESPN 2|
|Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss||June 17||3 p.m.||Mississippi 2-1 Texas Tech||ESPN 2|
|TCU vs. Virginia||June 17||8 p.m.||Virginia 3-2 TCU||ESPN|
|Texas vs. UC Irvine||June 18||8 p.m.||TBD||ESPN|
|Mississippi vs. TCU||June 19||8 p.m.||TBD||ESPN|
|Game 11||June 20||3 p.m.||TBD||ESPNU|
|Game 12||June 20||8 p.m.||TBD||ESPN|
|Game 13*||June 21||3 p.m.||TBD||ESPN2|
|Game 14*||June 21||8 p.m.||TBD||ESPN|
|CWS Finals: Game 1||June 23||8 p.m.||TBD||ESPN|
|CWS Finals: Game 2||June 24||8 p.m.||TBD||ESPN|
|CWS Finals: Game 3*||June 25||8 p.m.||TBD||ESPN|
Day 4 Predictions
Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss
Ole Miss does not mesh well with the faraway fences of TD Ameritrade Park. First baseman Sikes Orvis, with 14 homers on the season, couldn't see himself swinging for the fences in Omaha.
"I try to hit home runs. But with the wind blowing in—it's already a huge park—I'll try to hit line drives, get some in the gap," Orvis told Michael Bonner of The Clarion-Ledger. "If I'm lucky enough, the only place it looks like you can get it is in the bullpen."
He didn't have any such luck against Virginia, going 0-for-2 and drawing a walk in their 2-1 loss on Sunday. Bonner has the advanced statistics on why Ole Miss are in trouble in Omaha:
Rebels have heard the numbers — and lack of. UCLA won the national title last year with just 28 hits in five games. Only 1.6 percent of the 668 hits in the history of the park have been homers. By comparison, home runs accounted for 6 percent of Ole Miss' hits this season. Orvis' 14 homers equated to 21 percent of his hits.
It may be too late in the game for Ole Miss to find a way to make small ball work against Texas Tech.
Texas Tech will hope their inaugural College World Series isn't short-lived. They likely won't lack for support on Tuesday, based on the legion of fans that showed up for Game 3, as per Texas Tech's Twitter account:
The Red Raiders have a solid pitching staff to stymie Ole Miss. They have a team ERA of 3.15 and have allowed just 18 home runs in 65 games this season.
Which team will be eliminated on Tuesday night?
Texas Tech will rely on diminutive first baseman Eric Gutierrez to power their offense. He's batting .307 and has 58 RBI to his name this season.
Ole Miss will be sapped of their considerable strength in TD Ameritrade Park, allowing Texas Tech to calmly focus on stringing together hits and staving off an early exit from the College World Series.
Texas Tech 4-2 Ole Miss
TCU vs. Virginia
Both teams in this contest have proven that they can thrive in pressure situations. Whichever team finds itself down in the late stages of the game will only look more dangerous as the game goes on.
Virginia beat Ole Miss 2-1 on Sunday courtesy of a walk-off, run-scoring double by Mike Papi in the ninth inning. The Cavaliers' weren't having any trouble getting on base—they put up eight hits and drew five walks—but they stranded runners left and right and kept Ole Miss in the game.
Which team in the winners bracket has the best chance of winning the 2014 College World Series?
On the mound, Virginia's Nathan Kirby and Artie Lewicki combined for a one-hitter—the first one-hitter at the College World Series in 31 years.
TCU learned how to play with their feet to the fire in their Super Regional matchup against Pepperdine. All three games were decided by a single run, with TCU winning two out of three to advance to the College World Series.
It took another nail-biting 3-2 win against Texas Tech on Sunday to see them into the winners bracket. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle knows his players are comfortable in tight games.
"That's the kind of baseball we've played all year," Schlossnagle told reporters after the game. "I'm not telling you I'm comfortable with it, but these guys are. They don't panic a bit. It's just, hey, let's put together some good at-bats and see what happens. I just try to stay out of the way."
The Washington Post's Virginia Cavaliers Twitter account confirms lefty Brandon Waddell will take the mound against the Horned Frogs:
As expected, #UVa baseball coach Brian O'Connor said lefty Brandon Waddell will start vs TCU tomorrow night.— Cavs Journal (@CavsJournal) June 16, 2014
Waddell is 9-3 on the season with a 2.66 ERA. He is the epitome of a crafty lefty and doesn't make too many mistake pitches; he's given up just five home runs and 16 walks in 98 innings this season.
Papi and Joe McCarthy—who have a combined 102 RBI on the season—will power Virginia to victory in this one behind a solid performance from Waddell.
Prediction: Virginia 2-1 TCU