Two of the best college baseball programs of the last decade will meet for the sport's ultimate prize starting Monday evening in the College World Series final.
Omaha will be the setting as Virginia and Vanderbilt battle it out in a three-game series. Both programs have been at the top of the college game during the regular season multiple times, but neither has ever won the national championship in the sport.
Players like Ryan Zimmerman and Brandon Guyer have suited up for the Cavaliers in the last several years. For the Commodores, notable players like Pedro Alvarez and David Price have passed through the doors, with none of the above capturing the title.
Andrew Ramspacher of The Daily Progress provides a look at the elusive trophy for both teams:
Both teams yet again feature high-profile prospects, including Tyler Beede, Adam Ravenelle, Derek Fisher, Nick Howard and Mike Papi. In a year where each of the names above has a chance to make history for their school, this series is clearly of the utmost importance for both sides.
Before the series gets started on Monday night, here's a look at the full TV information, schedule and an in-depth breakdown of the matchup.
CWS Final Information
Where: TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Nebraska
When: Series begins Monday, June 23 at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|2014 CWS Final Schedule|
|Game||Date||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|CWS Finals: Game 1||June 23||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|CWS Finals: Game 2||June 24||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|CWS Finals: Game 3*||June 25||8 p.m.||ESPN|
While it seems this year's College World Series has been deprived of offense, both teams feature multiple big bats.
For the Commodores, Bryan Reynolds leads the team in batting average with a .341 clip and is also tied for second on the team with four home runs. The freshman is also one of seven players with 10 or more stolen bases, with Dansby Swanson leading the pack at 20-of-25 on the basepaths.
Both Papi and Fisher lead the Cavaliers into Monday's action after early heroics in the NCAA tournament. Another great bat in the lineup is Joe McCarthy, who spoke about his goal in Omaha, per Ramspacher:
Even winning the Super Regional, we were excited we were going to get a chance to come to Omaha. But everyone understands that we didn’t play just to get here or just win a couple games here.
We came here to win it all. That’s what the main goal is right now.
As for the opener, it looks likely that two of the best pitchers in the college game will face off. Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game and Ramspacher provide a look at the probables on the mound:
Beede has been great for the Commodores throughout his career, which led to him being the No. 14 pick in the 2014 MLB draft. The future San Francisco Giants pitcher has struggled slightly this season, but still holds an 8-7 record, 3.80 ERA and 112 strikeouts heading into the final.
Facing off with Beede should be Nathan Kirby, who has been sensational this season for the Hoos. Kirby features a 9-2 record, 1.70 ERA and 108 strikeouts, leading the team in every category.
Jim Callis of MLB.com notes what the future might hold for the Cavs' sophomore ace:
Despite the cavernous field at TD Ameritrade Park, expect offense to still shine through at times. But with two aces facing off in the first game of the 2014 College World Series, a pitcher's duel will likely ensue on the big stage.
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