Two teams left to fight for the title


OMAHA, Neb. -- The College World Series championship series is set. Virginia will play Vanderbilt, starting Monday night at 8 ET on ESPN, with both programs in search of their first championship.

When the skies parted on Saturday after storms suspended the Bracket 1 championship Friday, Virginia beat Ole Miss 4-1 to prevent baseball on Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park.

The Cavaliers got a solid outing from Josh Sborz, who came back from a start Friday to pitch through the fifth inning, and dominant relief by Artie Lewicki and Nick Howard. Catcher Robbie Coman delivered a two-run single in the fourth to fuel the offense.

Vanderbilt beat Texas 4-3 on Saturday night in dramatic fashion, forging a two-out rally to load the bases against John Curtiss in the bottom of the 10th.

Sophomore Tyler Campbell, a replacement for suspended third baseman Xavier Turner making his third start of the year, beat out a single on the infield as Rhett Wiseman scored the winning run from third.

Here's a look at the best-of-three championship series.


How they got here: The pre-tournament-favorite Cavaliers beat Ole Miss in the marquee game of the opening round on Mike Papi's two-out, walk-off double. Virginia then outlasted TCU in 15 innings, winning on Daniel Pinero's sacrifice fly. The third victory on Saturday followed the same formula, only without the late drama. Hitting .239 in Omaha, the Cavs are unbeaten largely because of their work on the mound. They're holding opponents to a .147 average and have allowed two earned runs in three games.

Key player: Second baseman Branden Cogswell is 4-for-10 at the CWS with a pair of runs scored and two doubles. The junior from Ballston Lake, New York, is hitting .306 (11-for-36) in the postseason. He sets the table for Virginia's big sticks. Cogswell kept the Cavs' offense afloat against TCU in perhaps the biggest momentum-altering game of the tournament.

Wild card: Senior right-hander Lewicki started on the mound in eight of 10 appearances before the NCAA postseason. Since, he's made four relief appearances in five outings and hasn't allowed an earned run in 17 1/3 innings. In the CWS, he's surrendered just one hit in seven innings and earned wins in the Cavs' first two games. He then threw three innings on Saturday, again providing the bridge to overpowering closer Howard.

Three reasons Virginia will win:
• Nathan Kirby is ready. The availability of the sophomore lefty gives Virginia a sizable edge on Monday over Vanderbilt, which used ace Carson Fulmer on Saturday. Kirby (9-2, 1.70 ERA) fired seven innings of one-hit ball against Ole Miss in the tournament opener. Their ace is dominant when he's on, and Kirby is usually on, averaging nearly a strikeout per inning over the season. Since the introduction of championship-series format, the team to win Game 1 has claimed the title in nine of 11 years.

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