After taking Game 1 of the College World Series Finals on Monday night, UCLA will look to close out the series at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. ESPN will handle the broadcast, and the game will be available online at WatchESPN.
Things couldn't have gone much better for UCLA in Game 1. It forced Mississippi State to play small ball by holding its dangerous lineup in check and pressuring its defense into mistakes. If they can do it one more time, the Bruins will be national champions.
After a lights-out performance from starter Adam Plutko in Game 1, the Bruins will look for a similar outing from junior righty Nick Vander Tuig in Game 2. Unfortunately for Mississippi State, UCLA experiences almost no drop off between Plutko and Vander Tuig, as the pair forms one of the strongest one-two combos in the country. Vander Tuig is 13-4 on the season and holds an ERA of 2.31.
Mississippi State is largely reliant on its bullpen to do its heavy lifting, but it does have one reliable starter in Kendall Graveman, who it has saved for Game 2. At 8-5 with a 3.09 ERA, the senior doesn't blow you away with his numbers, but he's as solid as it gets out of the Bulldog rotation. He's been the only Mississippi State starting pitcher to make it past the fifth inning of a tournament start.
Overcoming their opening game defeat will be no easy task, however. Historically, the loser of Game 1 faces long odds to win the national championship:
Since going to the best of 3 format in 2003, the team that wins the first game has gone on to win the series 8 times.— MaroonandWhiteNation (@mandwnation) June 24, 2013