The 2013 NCAA Tournament is officially down to four teams, all of whom will be in action on Friday. No. 3 Oregon State will get another chance against Mississippi State in the early game, then UCLA will try to play themselves into the finals against resilient No. 1 North Carolina later in the evening.
Mississippi State downed Oregon State in the teams' Omaha opener last weekend, catching OSU's potential walk-off home run on the warning track for the final out of their 5-4 win. Since Mississippi State is undefeated in College World Series play, the one-loss Beavers will need to beat them on consecutive days to get by. Historically, teams that lose their first game in Omaha rarely bounce back to reach the finals, but OSU does have a piece of history working in its favor: they lost their opener in 2006 but came back to win the national championship.
After an opening game loss to N.C. State, No. 1 North Carolina fought its way back up through the losers' bracket, vindicating themselves Thursday night with a 7-0 dismantling of the Wolfpack to earn a shot against UCLA in the group finals. Needing to bounce back from losses has been a familiar theme for the top seed, who dropped a game in the regionals to Florida Atlantic and then needed three games to get past South Carolina in the supers. They're playing it close to the vest, but they're still here, and that's what counts. They'll now face their biggest challenge yet, needing to knock off 2-0 UCLA twice in a row if they hope to play in the championship series.
Here are the game times and TV listings for Friday:
Game No. 11: (3) Oregon State vs. Mississippi State
Time: 3 p.m.
Game No. 12: UCLA vs. (1) North Carolina
Time: 8 p.m.