The 2013 College World Series gets underway Saturday, as four of the eight teams begin their final push for a national championship. Mississippi State, Oregon State, Indiana and Louisville take the field in Omaha looking to get off on the right foot.
For Oregon State, it's an opportunity to build on its back-to-back national championships in '06 and '07. They'll match up with Mississippi State, a somewhat under-the-radar team out of the SEC that's gotten hot at the right time. A key storyline here will be how long Bulldog starter Kendall Graveman can last -- on average in the tournament, Mississippi State starters are going fewer than four innings. With a stacked bullpen at his disposal, head coach John Cohen has no problem turning to his relievers, but a long start from Graveman could help keep the pen from being overtaxed early and set State up for a deep run.
Later in the evening, Indiana squares off against Louisville. This is Indiana's first-ever trip to the CWS. The strength-on-strength matchup here will come when Indiana is at the plate. The Hoosiers are arguably the best offensive team left in the field, batting .309 and leading the Omaha teams with an average of over nine runs per game. Louisville, on the other hand, is dominant on the mound, having just finished an upset of Vanderbilt during which they held the No. 2 overall seed to 12 hits in two games.
Keep in mind that this is a double-elimination format, so the losers Saturday will still get a shot to work their way back into the finals. The losers and winners of each game will play each other next Monday.
Here are the times and TV coverages for Saturday's opening action. All times ET.
Mississippi State vs. (3) Oregon State
Time: 3 p.m.
Indiana vs. Louisville
Time: 8 p.m.