2014 College World Series: The Ole Miss Rebels face the Virginia Cavaliers in the Opening Round

Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

The Rebs and the Hoos face off again in the NCAA Postseason.

In 2009, the Ole Miss Rebels fell to the UVA Cavaliers in the Oxford Super Regional. In 2011, the Rebels came up short in the Charlotte regional. Now, in 2014, Ole Miss and Virginia face off again in the NCAA baseball postseason, this time in Omaha at the 2014 College World Series.

As with prior run ins with Virginia, as well as the Rebs' postseason journey thus far, tonight's game presents quite the challenge. Virginia is only one of two remaining National Seeds in the CWS (the other, TCU, is also in this side of the bracket). The Cavs have been one of the top teams in the country this season, spending their fair share of time ranked No. 1 overall in many polls. They were the No. 3 NCAA National Seed going into postseason play and after coming from 0-1 down to Maryland in their own Super Regional, they find themselves squaring off against our beloved Rebels.


Offensively, Virginia is no slouch, however, it is not the strength of the team. This Cavalier squad is built on pitching and defense. Virginia has also been one of the nations best this year is SOS and RPI, finishing 22-8 in the powerful ACC.

Vegas also likes the Cavs as a favorite along with Vandy to win the CWS at 3/1.

On offense, here's how the Rebels and Cavaliers stack up:

Ole Miss Individual Hitting Statistics

Name

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

Austin Bousfield

349

6

50

495

395

17/18

25/16

Will Allen

345

7

61

513

382

0/1

40/15

Austin Anderson

331

5

41

469

421

10/16/

23/32

JB Woodman

308

2

20

442

351

10/15/

29/11

Brantley Bell

307

0

11

366

369

2/2/

14/6

Errol Robinson

299

0

19

328

379

5/8/

28/24

SIkes Orvis

295

14

51

555

402

1/1/

44/36

Braxton Lee

290

0

24

333

383

30/35

29/32

Preston Overbey

269

4

34

384

318

2/5/

52/10

Will Jamison

254

2

13

373

309

6/7/

27/10

Colby Bortles

262

2

14

415

385

0/1/

20/9

Team

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

303

42

357

421

372

90/120

369/211

Virginia Individual Hitting Statistics

Name

Avg

HR

RBI

SLG%

OBP%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

Mike Papi

311

11

54

525

453

7/10/

43/55

Joe McCarthy

305

6

46

459

419

11/12/

32/32

Brandon Cogswell

292

0

21

339

389

8/12/

18/37

Kenny Towns

273

2

33

398

377

6/6/

28/17

Daniel Pinero

266

0

19

294

384

9/12/

22/35

Brandon Downes

233

7

37

381

336

9/11/

42/24

Team

Average

HR

RBI

OBP%

SLG%

SB/ATT

SO/BB

281

33

315

382

379

63/83

302/274

As you can see, Ole Miss is arguably a more complete offense than UVA, but UVA's star power can outshine almost anybody's. Mike Papi is an absolutely tremendous offensive weapon, who has batted an eyepopping .480 in the NCAA postseason thus far. We suspect he'll get on base early and often tonight.

Tonight's pitching matchup features a pair of aces with varying styles. Ole Miss' Chris Ellis, who thankfully will get another go at it in a Rebel uniform after a poor performance against UL-Lafayette in the Super Regional, is a guy who can hit the low-90's with his fastball when he's in command. So far in the postseason, he has a 4.76 ERA over 11.1 innings pitched, striking out 10 and walkling 6 with a .220 opposing batting average. He will go up against hard throwing lefty Nathan Kirby, who many would project as a first round pick in next year's MLB Draft. Like Ellis, Kirby throws a powerful fastball and has tremendous command over his pitches. During this postseason Kirby's ERA is 3.55 over 12.2 innings pitched, with 11 strikeouts, three walks, and a .190 opposing batting average.

The Cavaliers bullpen can be summed up in two words: Nick Howard. This guy is a monster, and you don't want UVA to get the opportunity to use him. He can hit the upper 90's with his fastball and hasn't earned a single run over two appearances in this postseason. Hell, he hasn't even walked a guy in relief.

Other arms the Hoos might look to in relief are big freshman righty Connor Jones and experienced senior righty Whit Mayberry - who has seen action in 27 games as a reliever this season and an opposing batting average below .200 on the year.

Just as with Louisiana-Lafayette and (to a lesser extent) Washington, the UVA Cavaliers are a complete team, capable of winning with offense, defense, and pitching. Also just as with prior postseason matchups, the Rebels best chance tonight can come if they can chase Kirby off of the bump early and dig into the UVA bullpen. In addition, Chris Ellis needs to be the Chris Ellis we saw against Jacksonville State, not Lousiana-Lafayette. As he has for most of the season, he'll need to have good command over his pitches, get ahead of counts, and duke it out for most of the game.

Juco All-American, Smeargle, and a handful of the Cup's readers and commenters will be at the game taking it all in. Be sure to follow them @JucoRCR and @SmeargleRCR to get up to the second updates from the goings on in Omaha. In addition, they'll both also be tweeting from the @RedCupRebellion account, as will I from a DC sports bar (so forgive us if we come off as a bit schizophrenic). Be sure to tweet at us with your photos and reactions so that we can offer retweets and perhaps feature your ruminations and experiences in future stories.

Offer your predictions in the comments thread below, and join us later for the open thread.

Hotty Toddy!

[ED: Thanks again to @Fit4LifeLLC for mining the stats for these previews. Like Will Allen and Austin Bousfield, he's been an all-star this season.]

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