To say the Virginia Cavaliers’ road to another National Championship at the College World Series in Omaha will be a tough one would be an understatement. Having been on the “road” the last two weekends for the Regionals and Super Regionals though, UVA is no stranger to being the underdogs.
As a three seed entering the NCAA Tournament, they knew that would be the case.
This week in Omaha is going to be no different with the other three teams in their half of the bracket being the No. 2, No. 3, and No. 7 overall teams in this year’s tournament.
No. 2 Texas Longhorns (47-15, 17-7 in Big 12)
Texas will travel to Omaha as the highest remaining seed after NC State knocked off Arkansas on Sunday. The Longhorns earned their seeding after winning the Big 12 regular season title. Since then, though they lost in the in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, they have demolished the competition in the Regionals and Super Regionals by a combined score of 49-12. Only one of their NCAA games has been decided by less than 7 runs (4-3 win over USF in Game 1 of the Super Regionals.
No. 7 Mississippi State Bulldogs (45-16, 20-10 in SEC)
Among the other three teams in UVA’s bracket, Mississippi State is the only team to have suffered a loss in the NCAA Tournament, falling 9-1 to Notre Dame in Game 2 of the Super Regionals. But unlike Texas, the Bulldogs have had a number of close games including two one run victories (6-5 over Campbell and 9-8 over Notre Dame) and two four run victories. They finished in 2nd in the SEC behind Arkansas in the regular season, but beat Texas 8-3 in the first game of the season.
No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers (50-16, 20-10 in SEC)
The Volunteers are seeing a resurgence in their baseball program and are making their 5th appearance in Omaha, but first since 2005. Volunteers’ head coach Tony Vitello is in his 4th season as the head coach and has lead Tennessee to back to back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 2004-2005 and has amassed a 134-66 record in that timeframe. The Volunteers won the SEC East regular season, but fell to Arkansas 7-2 in the SEC Tournament Championship game. Though they’ve gone undefeated in the NCAA Tournament thus far, like Miss. St., they’ve faced some tight games including a 9-8 victory over 4 seed Wright State in their Regional opening game, a 3-1 win over Liberty to win the Regional, and a 4-2 victory over LSU in the Super Regional opener.
UVA’s half of the bracket starts play on Sunday with UVA taking on Tennessee at 2 pm on ESPN2 followed by Texas and Mississippi State scheduled for 7 on ESPN2 as well.