Ole Miss vs. Virginia, Part II: An analysis

This worked for Ole Miss yesterday. Let’s see how it does today.

OK, Rebel fans, you want the good news or the bad news first?

The good?

OK, you defeated TCU 6-4 last night to send the Horned Frogs packing from the College World Series. Six runs in this CWS is tantamount to an offensive explosion.

The bad?

Now you have to play rested Virginia again. The Cavs defeated you 2-1 in your CWS opener.

The good?

You probably won’t have to face Virginia ace Nathan Kirby again tonight.

The bad? If you win, you’ll have to face him Saturday.

The good?

Josh Sborz, who likely will start for Virginia tonight, is a right-handed sophomore who was pulled from the rotation in the late season after some control issues.

The bad?

Sborz started Game Three of Virginia’s Super Regional and shut out Maryland over seven innings in a clutch performance.

The good?

Sborz walked 38 batters in 71 innings.

The bad?

Opponents hit only .204 off Sborz. He has dynamite stuff, a fast ball that reaches the mid-90s and a wicked slider.

The good?

Ole Miss, three games and two victories into its first CWS World Series in 42 years, is in relatively good shape pitching-wise. Mike Bianco could come back with Friday night starter Chris Ellis tonight on four days rest. Or he might go with Jeremy Massie. I would guess Massie.

The bad?

Virginia might be the best team in college baseball. The Cavs do have the No. 1 RPI in college baseball (Ole Miss is No. 2). Here’s what Maryland coach John Szefc said after Virginia beat the Terps in the Super Regional: “We ran into an absolute college baseball monster.”

To summarize: Beating Virginia twice to reach the CWS championship series is a daunting task. These might be the best two teams in college baseball on one side of the bracket. The RPIs say so. I would expect another one-run game. I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of scoring.

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One more note: Not to be overlooked in the Rebels’ Thursday night victory was the performance of back-up catcher Austin Knight, a junior from Sumrall. Knight , who would start for 90 percent of college baseball teams, happens to play behind All American Will Allen. But Allen was suffering a sore throwing shoulder and was relegated to DH duties against TCU. Knight caught a whale of a game, made several crucial stops on pitches in the dirt, provided a key sacrifice bunt and, in general, looked like he had been out there all year. He played like a coach’s son, and he is. To say the least, he belonged on that stage.

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