OMAHA, Neb. | Previewing Game 1 of the College World Series finals between UCLA and MSU.
• First pitch: 7 p.m.
• TV: ESPN (Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser, Kyle Peterson in booth; Kaylee Hartung, Jessica Mendoza on field)
• Records: UCLA 47-17, MSU 51-18
• Pitching matchup: UCLA RHP Adam Plutko (9-3, 2.29) vs. MSU RHP Trevor Fitts (0-0, 2.86)
• UCLA lineup: CF Brian Carroll, 3B Kevin Kramer, RF Eric Filia, SS Pat Valaika, 1B Pat Gallagher, DH Kevin Williams, C Shane Zeile, 2B Cody Regis, LF Brenton Allen
• MSU lineup: SS Adam Frazier, 3B Alex Detz, RF Hunter Renfroe, 2B Brett Pirtle, 1B Wes Rea, CF C.T. Bradford, DH Trey Porter, C Nick Ammirati, LF Demarcus Henderson
• What to watch for: This matchup would have you expecting some low-scoring games, and that’s likely what we’ll see tonight. UCLA’s pitching staff has an ERA of 1.00 in the CWS, while MSU’s ERA is 2.33. Plutko is the ace, and the Bruins will want him to go deep into the game, while MSU doesn’t really need more than three innings out of Fitts – although John Cohen would happily take two times through the order. The big question is whether MSU’s offense, which has been red-hot this postseason, can keep it up against this pitching staff. The Bulldogs are batting .297 here and .304 for the entire NCAA postseason. MSU is the home team, and TD Ameritrade Park is going to feel like Dudy Noble Midwest with all the Bulldog fans who have flocked to Omaha. They are eager to see State capture its first national championship in any sport.
• Pregame playlist: A few songs from my iPod to set the tone…
–”Window Sill,” Pickwick
–”My Floor,” Slang Chickens
–”The Day I Tried to Live,” Soundgarden
–”California Love,” 2Pac
–”Likely Story,” Great White Buffalo