CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) — The quest for a berth in the NCAA College World Series resumes for ninth-ranked Mississippi State Saturday as the Bulldogs (46-18) take on No. 6 national seed Virginia (50-10) in a 12:05 p.m. (CDT) game to open the three-game NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional.
It’s the second advancement to the NCAA Super Regionals in three years and the fifth overall for Mississippi State, one of four SEC teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs posted a 3-1 mark in winning the 2013 NCAA Starkville Regional last weekend at Dudy Noble Field.
The radio broadcast of all MSU postseason baseball games are carried on the statewide Bulldog Sports Network, with Jim Ellis and Bart Gregory on the call.
Mississippi State and Virginia have not previously met on the diamond and State’s visit to Charlottesville marks MSU’s first baseball competition in Virginia.
Senior right-hander and team co-captain Kendall Graveman (6-5, 2.94) will make his team-leading and career-best 17th start of the 2013 campaign in Saturday afternoon’s game, nationally televised by ESPN2. He’ll work opposite Cavalier freshman lefty Brandon Waddell (6-2, 3.80), the UVa staff leader with 81 strikeouts in 15 starts.
UVa is the designated home team for Saturday’s opener, while MSU will be the home team for Sunday’s 6:05 p.m. CDT game (on ESPNU). MSU won a pre-tournament coin toss Friday, meaning State would also be the designated home team Monday at 3:05 p.m. CDT for the “if necessary” game.
“It’s exciting to be here,” MSU head coach John Cohen told the media at Friday’s pre-tournament coaches press conference. “We are excited to play in this tremendous facility and against an incredible ball club. We have great preparation this week and we know what is on the line here. When you get to the last 16, there are a lot of similarities between all the clubs. They are all well coached. And being on the road, you have to get used to your surroundings in a hurry. We’re excited and look forward to a good weekend.”
Due to heavy rainfall in the region associated with Tropical Storm Andrea, both teams conducted their pre-tournament practice sessions with indoor workouts. Thanks to a new drainage system at UVa’s Davenport Field and diminishing chances for rainfall, tournament officials do not anticipate weather-related delays for Saturday’s game.
The winner of the Charlottesville Super Regional advances to play in the eight-team field of the NCAA College World Series June 15-25/26 in Omaha, Neb. The Bulldogs are playing for their ninth trip to Omaha while the Cavaliers take aim on their third. The Charlottesville Super Regional winner is paired with the Kansas State-Oregon State Super Regional winner in opening round competition at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Stadium.