Ole Miss is headed to Omaha, Nebraska this weekend to play for College Baseball’s national championship. This is a special treat for Ole Miss fans as this goal has so successfully eluded Coach Mike Bianco and the Rebels.
This year only two national seeds made it out of regional play, which is the lowest total under the current format of play that started in 1999. Out of 11 SEC teams that were selected for post season only two SEC teams, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt made it to the top 8 to play this weekend. Luckily they are not in the same side of the bracket so hopefully one SEC school could make it to the championship series, maybe both!
The format of play in Omaha is similar to the regional weekend. Four teams will battle it out over the course of the week with the winner in each bracket facing off in a three game series for the overall national championship.
Ole Miss’ side of the tournament leads off with the Big 12 matchup of Texas Tech and TCU on Sunday at 3pm. The primetime game on Sunday puts Ole Miss against familiar foe Virginia. The opposite bracket features Texas and UC Irvine on Saturday at 3pm and Louisville versus Vanderbilt at Saturday at 8pm.
Let’s take a look at the teams Ole Miss may face this week:
Virginia (49-14): This is UVA’s 3rd trip to Omaha since that fateful Oxford super regional in 2009. They are the highest national seed left in the CWS and the consensus #1 ranked team, taking over the top spot after Ole Miss knocked off Lafayette last week.
1B Mike Papi .297 BA 11 HR 51 RBI
RF Joe McCarthy .303 BA 6 HR 45 RBI
Nathan Kirby 9-2, 1.73 ERA Co-ACC pitcher of the year
Artie Lewicki 6-1, 1.59 ERA
Nick Howard 19 Saves
TCU (47-16): 2014 has been a tale of two seasons for the Horned Frogs. They ended the month of March with a 15-12 record and searching for answers. They enter Omaha standing at 47-16 and holding on to a top 8 national seed. That is quite a run but this is a team that is making their second trip to the CWS in the last 5 years. Much has been written about this teams grit as they won two extra inning games in regional play, including a 22 inning game against Sam Houston State. This TCU pitching staff has the best ERA as a unit at 2.19
2B Garrett Crain .335 BA 1 HR 19 RBI
1B Kevin Cron .279 BA 5 HR 40 RBI
LF Boomer White .318 BA 2 HR 46 RBI
RF Dylan Fitzgerald .318 BA 2 HR 33 RBI
Preston Morrison 9-4, 1.32 Big 12 pitcher of the year
Brandon Finnegan 9-3, 2.12
Riley Ferrell 15 Saves
1B Eric Gutierrez .312 BA 12 HR 58 RBI
SS Tim Proudfoot .317 BA 19 RBI
LF Tyler Neslony .388 BA 4 HR 32 RBI
Chris Sadberry 5-3, 3.17 ERA
Dylan Dusek 8-0, 1.34 ERA
Cameron Smith 8-2, 2.81 ERA
Jonny Drozd 5 Saves