Baseball: Cavaliers win Charlottesville Regional
Key pitching highlights three impressive wins as Cavaliers advance in NCAA tournament
A No. 6 national seed in the NCAA tournament brought a lot of expectations for the Virginia baseball team as they hosted the Charlottesville Regional round. In three wins – one over Army, two over Elon – the Cavaliers lived up to that hype, riding solid pitching and timely hitting to advance to the Super Regional round.
Freshman Brandon Waddell took the mound for Virginia (50-10, 22-8 ACC) in Friday’s opener against Army (29-23, 11-9 Patriot League) and was stellar, giving up just one run and three hits in seven innings of work. Army took the lead in the fifth inning on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Grant Van Orden, but the lead would be short-lived. In the bottom of the inning, the Cavaliers picked up two runs on RBI singles from sophomore Mike Papi and freshman Joe McCarthy. The slim one-run lead would prove to be enough, as junior Kyle Crockett relieved Waddell and gave up just two hits in two innings of work to close out the game for a 2-1 win.
Virginia faced Elon (34-30, 18-11 SoCon), the winner of the other Friday game, on Saturday, with redshirt senior Scott Silverstein taking the start. It was another tight game, but once again the pitching staff was stellar, as Silverstein threw six shutout innings. The Cavaliers picked up two runs in the fourth on a double from sophomore outfielder Kenny Towns and a single from sophomore catcher Nate Irving, but that would be all Virginia could muster, despite getting eight hits on the day. Crockett picked up the save again, firing two more innings of relief to seal the 2-0 and send the Cavaliers to Sunday’s championship game.
Elon won Sunday’s first elimination game over UNC Wilmington and won the right to face Virginia in the championship later that day. Redshirt junior Whit Mayberry got the start and ran into trouble early, giving up two runs in the top of the first inning on a home run from Phoenix junior Ryan Kinsella. After giving up a third run in the top of the third inning, he was relieved by freshman David Rosenberger, who shut down Elon for five scoreless innings. Rosenberger was aided by an overdue explosion of the Virginia offense in the bottom of the third, as the Cavaliers scored six runs on five hits, highlighted by a pair of 2-run singles from sophomores Derek Fisher and Nick Howard. Virginia would tack on five more runs to go up 11-3, and junior Austin Young and freshman Josh Sborz combined to close out the final inning for the win.
Virginia now advances to host the Charlottesville Super Regional, where they will face the winner of the Mississippi State – Central Arkansas matchup in a three game series, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha.