UVa Baseball Ready to Begin CWS Championship Series with Vanderbilt
Head coach Brian O'Connor had some fun at the Cavaliers last practice of the season
OMAHA, NE (WVIR) -
There will be a first-time national champion in the College World Series this season, as both the Cavaliers and Commodores are playing in the final round for the first time.
The three-game championship series will begin Monday night.
The 'Hoos took their final practice of the season Sunday afternoon in Omaha in preparation for the College World Series finals.
Both Virginia and Vanderbilt are looking for their first national championship.
Junior outfielder Mike Papi says, "When I look at Vanderbilt, I kind of see a little bit of us. They're pitching staff, and they're bullpen, they have a lot of great arms. They're offense has been very consistent this year, and they're very good at executing on offense, and I think that's what we try to do."
Virginia's pitching has been tremendous.
The 'Hoos have allowed just two earned runs in three College World Series games, which were all wins.
Ace, Nathan Kirby, will start for Virginia on Monday.
Kirby says, "To be out here with this team this year, with how well we've played, it's great. I've already got butterflies sitting up here, just thinking about being out there. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
Virginia was ranked #1 in the preseason poll this year, remained #1 for much of the season, and now is considered the favorite to win the national title.
Sophomore outfielder Joe McCarthy says, "It was great that people thought highly of our program, but at the end of the day, it's just a number next to your name. We still have to go out and prove ourselves. It's great that we've been able to do that so far."
Head coach Brian O'Connor adds, "I'm really proud of our club. In the three games that we've played, we played really good, consistent baseball, and that's the kind of baseball it's going to take to win the next series."
Virginia and Vanderbilt have similar baseball programs that have been on the rise under their current head coach.
Cavs Journal humorously tweeted, 'This year's CWS finals might feature the highest combined SAT scores of all time.'
"I love coaching at a great academic institution," says O'Connor. "The young men that we are responsible for, I believe, are at both of our universities for more than just great baseball, and more than just winning championships. They're there to get an unbelievable education at both schools. I think it speaks to the fact that you can have a top-notch baseball program, and not have to sacrifice anything."
Fisher says, "First off, it's the SEC and the ACC. Vanderbilt is obviously being a tough, hard-nosed club, and they've been playing well. Very well. For us to be able to play them for a national championship is definitely going to be pretty memorable."
First pitch in Game One of the three-game College World Series championship series is scheduled for Monday at 8pm in Omaha.
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