OMAHA, Neb. — Brian O'Connor has done just about everything at the College World Series except win a national championship.

He's got his chance now.

O'Connor, 43, is the local boy who has done well, leading Virginia to the best-of-three finals against Vanderbilt starting Monday night.

2014 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES FINALS
GAME 3
Highlights
Breeze: Resillient Vanderbilt pitchers push team to title
Breeze: Lineup change pays off as Vanderbilt wins CWS
Kroll: Virginia's best leaves it just short of the title
Top Performers: CWS Finals Game 3
Vandy's Brian Miller pops the question (she said yes)
Photo Essay: Pregame at TD Ameritrade Park
GAME 2
Photo Gallery Highlights
Breeze: Vanderbilt falls flat in areas that led to Game 1 win
Kroll: Waddell carries Virginia to victory in Game 2
Top Performers: CWS Finals Game 2
Game day with the Vanderbilt Commodores
GAME 1
Photo Gallery Highlights
Breeze: Vanderbilt scores early, but not often
Kroll: Cavaliers live to fight another day
Top Performers: CWS Finals Game 1
Game day with the Virginia Cavaliers
CWS MEDIA DAY
Brian O'Connor's tie to Road to Omaha statue
All Access: Tim Corbin and Vanderbilt baseball
Kroll: CWS finalists look to past to ponder future
Breeze: CWS Finals Media Day in photos
CWS Highlights  |  Brackets: Interactive  Print
The Cavaliers' 11th-year coach was born in Omaha, grew up across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and as a kid attended CWS games with his dad at the old Rosenblatt Stadium.

When he was a college player at Creighton in Omaha, he pulled cable for ESPN during games every year except one.

That was 1991, when Creighton made its only appearance in the CWS, and O'Connor pitched in a game against Wichita State that people around here still talk about.

The featured player on the "Road to Omaha" statue in front of TD Ameritrade Park is, you guessed it, based on O'Connor's likeness.

Try as he may, as he did Sunday during a joint news conference with Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin, there's no downplaying his deep connection to the area and event.

"It doesn't mean any more to me than it does to coach Corbin or any of our players on either team," O'Connor said. "A lot is to be made that I'm from here. It's about these kids' experience.

"The only difference between me and those young men is my birth record. It says Omaha, Nebraska. That's it. It's about their experience and their team, and that's the way I'd like to keep it."

Virginia (52-14) and Vanderbilt (49-20) both are in the finals for the first time. The Cavaliers went 3-0 in bracket play. The Commodores went 3-1 in their bracket.

Even Corbin, Vandy's 12th-year coach, said Virginia's home-field advantage is palpable.

"It's neat to be a part of it, and it's neat the way this tournament set up that it's in Omaha," he said before cracking a wide smile.

"And we'll be in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, (Tuesday) because we're home team, so we'll utilize the 400 people who live in my small town and we'll play there. No statue, though."

Pitching Plans: Virginia will start Nathan Kirby (9-2, 1.70 ERA) in Game 1 against either Tyler Beede (8-7, 3.80) or Walker Buehler (12-2, 2.27).

Kirby allowed one hit in seven innings of the Cavs' CWS opener against Mississippi but didn't get the decision in the 2-1 win. Beede, the 14th overall draft pick by the Giants, has had control problems and allowed four runs in 3 2-3 innings of his start against UC Irvine last Monday. Buehler came on and pitched 5 1-3 innings of no-hit relief in Vandy's 6-4 win.

First Time Meeting: Virginia and Vanderbilt will be meeting in baseball for the first time. The Cavaliers are trying to win the ACC's first national title in the sport since Wake Forest in 1955. Vanderbilt is the seventh straight SEC team to make it to the finals.

Reynolds Rapping Ball: Vandy's Bryan Reynolds is hitting .431 in the postseason and .428 in the CWS. The freshman has hit safely in 17 of his past 18 games.

Offensive Leaders: Vanderbilt is averaging 3.75 runs in its four CWS games, well above the combined average of 2.5 runs for the other seven teams that came to Omaha.

Campbell Answers Call: Tyler Campbell is 3 for 8 since entering the lineup in place of third baseman Xavier Turner, who was declared ineligible by the NCAA on Friday for a rules violation. Campbell beat out an infield grounder with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday for the 4-3 win over Texas that sent Vandy to the finals.