Catcher Nate Irving will try to slow down Vanderbilt
OMAHA, NE (WVIR) -
The championship round of the College World Series gets underway Monday night, UVa and Vandy square off in Omaha.
It's the ACC versus the SEC in the CWS finals.
The Wahoos are considered a slight favorite, partly because their pitching rotation is in order, with fresh arms ready to go.
Virginia will starting with ace Nathan Kirby in Game One.
He's coming off a dominating performance against Mississippi in UVa's CWS opener last Sunday.
Kirby allowed just one hit in seven innings, and Monday night against Vandy is his chance again to shine.
Junior outfielder Derek Fisher says, "He's been clutch, he's been the big-time all year and his expectations for himself are higher than any of us could have for him. Just as long as he goes out there and throws strikes and does what he does every start this year, we're going to be pretty good."
Virginia has allowed just two earned runs in three CWS games, playing what the 'Hoos call the 'Virginia way.'
Junior outfielder Mike Papi says, "For us it's about pitching and defense. It's what we've prided ourselves on all season. I feel like it's been a huge, huge thing for us which has gotten us to this point. If we could play solid defense behind our pitchers, and have our pitchers be confident, and able to attack hitters, and put the opposing offense on their heels, and them in return trusting the defense behind them, I think that has been a huge thing for us this year, in being successful."
Vanderbilt is averaging almost four runs per game in the CWS, which is more than any other team in Omaha.
The Commodores have been aggressive on the base paths, stealing 12 bases in four CWS games.
UVa catcher Nate Irving says, "We've dealt with it before, we've prepared for it before. We just have to stay with our gameplan, and stay within ourselves."
Sophomore outfielder Joe McCarthy says, "Vandy has great hitting, great pitching, and it's going to be a battle between us and them. We understand we're going to have to go out and play perfect baseball to beat them. At the end of the day, we're going to stick to what we've been doing all year, and try to get this win."
Vanderbilt's ace pitcher Carson Fulmer pitched Saturday against Texas.
Monday the Commodores will likely go with Tyler Beede, who was a first round draft pick earlier this month to the San Francisco Giants, but
he's been inconsistent in his last three starts.
No ACC team has won the CWS since 1955, when Wake Forest did it.
Virginia has a record of 4-0 against SEC teams in the NCAA tournament this year, having beaten Mississippi and Arkansas twice.