College World Series 2014: Final Preview for UVA vs. Vanderbilt Game 3

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIJune 25, 2014

Virginia pitcher Josh Sborz pitches in the first inning of an NCAA baseball College World Series game against Virginia in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 20, 2014. Even though the NCAA made it a banned substance 20 years ago, Sborz enjoys a pinch of chewing tobacco every now and then. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

We're just hours away from crowning the 2014 College World Series champion.

The final series between Virginia and Vanderbilt has been a wild one—and that may even be quite an understatement.

Virginia has been one of the nation's best pitching teams this year, yet Vanderbilt was able to torch the Cavaliers and starter Nathan Kirby for nine runs in the opening game.

The tables turned in Game 2, as Virginia lit up San Francisco Giants draft pick Tyler Beede for six runs on 10 hits before defeating the Commodores by a score of 7-2.

As if the drama or excitement couldn't intensify any further, we're now headed into a winner-take-all Game 3.

Let's take a look at the game's viewing information and overview, followed by a final prediction for how it will all unfold.


Viewing Information

Series: Tied 1-1

Date: Wednesday, June 25

Time: 8 p.m. ET

Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN



Overview and Prediction

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

It will all come down to pitching once again for these two clubs.

Rich Kaipust of the World-Herald noted the potential starters for this decisive Game 3:

Josh Sborz has pitched relatively well for Virginia this season, holding a 6-4 record and 2.84 ERA in 16 appearances, though he's been even better over the postseason. Sborz has a 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA in 12 innings while allowing eight hits against 13 strikeouts.

It's not only Sborz who has been stellar for Virginia, but the Cavaliers have quite an impressive rotation when he gets the start. Andrew Ramspacher of The Daily Progress tweeted a very telling statistic:

Carson Fulmer is likely to get the start for Vanderbilt on Wednesday. The right-hander has been a jack of all trades on the mound for the Commodores this season, working as a starter, reliever and closer.

Fulmer made 25 appearances this season, starting nine games and recording 10 saves while earning a record of 7-1 and accumulating an ERA of 2.00.

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 24:  Mike Papi #38 of the Virginia Cavaliers runs to third base against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the sixth inning during game two of the College World Series Championship Series on June 24, 2014 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebrask
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

During the postseason, however, Fulmer hasn't been quite as efficient. He does have a 2-0 record, but his ERA jumped to 3.75 due to allowing 20 hits, 10 walks and 10 earned runs over 24 innings while striking out 23 batters.

After Virginia's outburst of offense in Game 2, Fulmer will need to quickly get back into regular-season form.

After all, the Cavaliers have been offensive juggernauts during the tournament, accumulating a team batting average of .302 due to the strong efforts of Mike Papi, Branden Cogswell, Kenny Towns, Brandon Downes and John La Prise.

Cogswell showed his versatility in Game 2:

Cavaliers coach Brian O'Connor commented on his team's lineup during a press conference with the Associated Press, via, after Virginia's Game 2 win:

"There is a lot of real athletic skill in that lineup. Just the ability of guys to get down the line and the pressure that puts on infielders through most of our lineup."

Expect more of the same in Game 3, as Virginia rides its stout pitching and finds a way to manufacture runs once again.

Prediction: Virginia 5, Vanderbilt 2