A couple of Cavaliers were watching Monday night as Mississippi State finished off Central Arkansas in the NCAA's Starkville Regional, which set up a meeting between Virginia and the Bulldogs in this weekend's super regional in Charlottesville.
"Yeah, we were flipping back and forth through the channels," said senior pitcher Scott Silverstein. "And I think it'll be a great (series). I mean, I don't think it really matters who came here. But I think we're ready to go."
"I think Mississippi State is a great team," said sophomore infielder Nick Howard. "We're obviously going to have to play great baseball. I mean, it's postseason baseball, so we're going to have to play in close games, and make clutch plays."
Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor was also watching on Monday night. And by Tuesday afternoon, he already had a rough scouting report on the Bulldogs -- strong bullpen, athletic position players that can run and hit for power.
"They're your traditional SEC, top part of the SEC kind of team," O'Connor said. "And certainly that's what you're going to get this time of the year. You're going to get a great opponent. And it should be a great weekend of baseball."
This weekend's three-game series -- Game 1 is set for 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon -- will mark Virginia's fourth super regional appearance in the past five years. The program is 2-1 in those previous appearances, including the 2011 team that advanced to Omaha with a dramatic three-game win over UC-Irvine.
The Virginia roster includes seven player who were on that 2011 College World Series team -- including Jared King, who started 46 games that season.
"I mean, this is really just another series," King said of the upcoming weekend. "Obviously, what's on the line is a lot more important, I think. But we're going to handle it like it's just another series. If we take care of the things we can control then I think we'll be successful."
Junior Kyle Crockett didn't pitch in the Cavaliers' 2011 super regional, but he did make two appearances in the College World Series that season.
"Oh, it's awesome," Crockett said of pitching in the postseason. "Especially with the atmosphere we've got here in Davenport Stadium. It's just incredible to go out and pitch in front of all these awesome fans."
Silverstein, who sat out the 2010 season because of shoulder surgery, retired the only hitter he faced in Omaha in 2011. He's been a much bigger factor for the Cavaliers this season, going 10-1 with a 2.86 ERA in 15 starts. That includes pitching into the ninth inning of a win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament two weeks ago, followed by six shutout innings against Elon in last weekend's regional.
On Tuesday, O'Connor said Silverstein and freshman lefty Brandon Waddell, the Cavaliers' top starter all season, would pitch the first two games against Mississippi State. O'Connor said the order they'd start had not yet been determined.
"It's a dream come true. This is why I came to Virginia," Silverstein said of pitching in these big games. "This is why I wanted to be a Cavalier, to play in situations like this with these guys. And in this place. It's pretty awesome."