Ole Miss and TCU have relied on different styles of play to carry them into the 2014 College World Series -- the Rebels have leaned on their powerful offense, the Horned Frogs on arguably the deepest pitching staff in the country -- but they do have something in common: both have suffered walkoff defeats at the hands of Virginia in Omaha.
Those shared losses have landed them in an elimination game against each other on Thursday night, the winner of which earns the dubious opportunity to go back up and play the Cavaliers.
The Horned Frogs battled Virginia for 15 innings on Tuesday -- while Ole Miss sat back and grinned, no doubt -- but the effect on their bullpen isn't as burdensome as you would expect. They managed to use just two relief arms (though one of those was key closer Riley Ferrell, who threw four innings), and given their deep pitching staff and the extra rest day the CWS format provides, they shouldn't be feeling too much in the way of ill effects on Thursday.
That's not good news for an Ole Miss offense that has managed just six hits and three runs during its two games in Omaha (they averaged over six runs per game during the season). Sikes Orvis and Will Allen, the club leaders in RBIs, home runs and slugging percentage, have combined to go 0-12. While brilliant work from their pitching staff has kept them alive, they'll probably need to generate runs with Sam Smith starting on the mound against the Horned Frogs. After a great start to 2014, Smith has struggled down the stretch and hasn't made it out of the fifth inning in more than two months.
Here are the tune-in details for the game:
TCU vs. Ole Miss
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com