The 2014 College World Series is off to a fast start through four days, as fans have been treated to extra-inning and one-run thrillers, shutdown pitching, timely hitting and the sweet sound of the ping of the metal bats in the summer air.
Day 5 brings all the pressures of a do-or-die elimination game between mighty Texas and California Irvine. Here is a look at the schedule with broadcast information for Wednesday’s action as well as the rest of the tournament.
|June 14||3 p.m.||ESPN2||UC Irvine 3 - Texas 1|
|June 14||8 p.m.||ESPN2||Vanderbilt 5 - Louisville 3|
|June 15||3 p.m.||ESPN2||TCU 3 - Texas Tech 2|
|June 15||8 p.m.||ESPN2||Virginia 2 - Mississippi 1|
|June 16||3 p.m.||ESPN2||Texas 4 - Louisville 1|
|June 16||8 p.m.||ESPN2||Vanderbilt 6 - UC Irvine 4|
|June 17||3 p.m.||ESPN2||Mississippi 2 - Texas Tech 1|
|June 17||8 p.m.||ESPN||Virginia 3 - TCU 2|
|June 18||8 p.m.||ESPN||Texas (1-1) vs. UC Irvine (1-1)|
|June 19||8 p.m.||ESPN||Mississippi (1-1) vs. TCU (1-1)|
|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)|
Wednesday Preview: Texas vs. UC Irvine
Texas and UC Irvine already played each other once in the College World Series opener, and the Anteaters won in thrilling fashion over the Longhorns to the tune of 3-1.
UC Irvine struggled at the plate for much of that game but managed to push three runs across the board in the eighth inning to win the contest. Taylor Sparks ignited the rally with a critical RBI triple, and Chris Rabago and Jonathan Munoz knocked in the second and third runs. Given how impressive UC Irvine’s entire pitching staff was, that was more than enough.
Superstar Andrew Morales got the start for the Anteaters and turned in a gem. He threw six innings, struck out five and only allowed a single run, although he didn’t get the win. The bullpen shut the door and helped UC Irvine stay in the game and ultimately win.
Credit Evan Manarino and especially Evan Brock, who pitched 2.1 innings of no-hit ball to finish off the Longhorns.
After that, Texas beat Louisville and UC Irvine lost to Vanderbilt, so both teams come into this game with a 1-1 record. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already in Omaha, the loser is going home.
UC Irvine is a small-ball team, and that proved to be the difference in the first meeting. The Anteaters had four successful sacrifice bunts and will likely go to that well again Wednesday. In fact, they are so prolific at that part of the game that Vanderbilt third baseman Xavier Turner commented on it before his team played UC Irvine, via Nick Cole of The Tennessean:
I know the West Coast teams like to bunt a lot. If they get a runner on first, they are going to try and bunt him over to second.
They are one of those teams with the bases loaded that could try to squeeze or a safety (squeeze).
That approach has helped UC Irvine beat some of the best teams in the nation this year, including No. 1 national seed Oregon State in the Corvallis Regional and Big 12 champion Oklahoma State in the Stillwater Super Regional. It will do so again Wednesday against the program that has more College World Series appearances than any other (35).
The Anteaters’ formidable bullpen figured out a potent Texas lineup in the first game, and it will do it Wednesday for a second time. Look for the entire pitching staff to once again turn in a strong performance as UC Irvine scraps together a few runs over the course of the game through its small-ball style. It may only take one small rally to eliminate the Longhorns.
UC Irvine would certainly be fine with that.
Prediction: UC Irvine 4, Texas 2
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