College World Series 2014: Predicting Which Teams Will Advance to Finals

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College World Series 2014: Predicting Which Teams Will Advance to Finals
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One game separates three teams from the 2014 College World Series final.

The fourth team still alive is Mississippi, which needs to beat Virginia twice to advance.

Here are predictions for each win-or-go-home showdown in Omaha, Nebraska.

 

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Virginia vs. Mississippi

This matchup could've already been decided if it wasn't for a rain delay. Virginia and Ole Miss will resume play on Saturday in the second inning tied at 0-0. And it's sure to go down to the wire.

These two teams faced off in their Omaha opener, and it was a nail-biter. The score remained knotted at 1-1 into the bottom of the ninth inning. But then Cavaliers outfielder Mike Papi put them ahead with a walk-off hit that sent pinch runner Thomas Woodruff home.

Virginia went on to win its next game and Ole Miss its next two, and now they're head-to-head again. The Rebels plan on forcing a third game, but a second consecutive Cavaliers victory is more likely.

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Virginia's pitching has only allowed three runs in Omaha. Ole Miss allowed four to TCU alone. Assuming they let finish who started on Friday, the Cavaliers will have a significant edge on the mound.

They started Josh Sborz, who started 13 games this season and struck out 67 batters in 71.0 innings. He only needed seven pitches to get out of the first inning on Friday. 

Rebels' pitcher Jeremy Massie isn't nearly as experienced. He only started seven games this season and pitched 42.2 innings. Prior to the rain delay, he had already faced seven batters and allowed three to get on base via two hits and a base on balls.

Both of these teams are extremely talented. They had a combined 17 players hear their names called in the 2014 MLB Draft. But right now, Virginia is playing better baseball.

Prediction: Virginia by one

 

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Vanderbilt vs. Texas

Vanderbilt could've clinched a College World Series Finals berth on Friday. It got delayed, though, not by rain, but by Texas' dominant pitching. The Commodores' once explosive offense didn't score a run in their 4-0 defeat.

The Longhorns' Nathan Thornhill allowed just six hits in 8.0 innings and struck out five batters. According to ESPN, Texas is only batting .198 in the College World Series, but all that matters is that it's still scoring more than its opponents.

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Texas will have another strong arm on the mound on Saturday. It'll start Parker French, who has a 2.37 ERA in 16 starts this season. He allows an opposing batting average of just .233. 

This is a horrible matchup for Vanderbilt. Its hitting has carried the team in Omaha, scoring 11 runs in two games—no ballclub had nearly as many runs per game.

But at the same time, the Commodores' pitching was surrendering 3.5 runs per game. Texas' four runs on Friday were just par for the course. And against a Longhorns pitching staff that has allowed only one run in its last three games, that's a problem.

Prediction: Texas by two

 

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.

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