Virginia edges TCU in Omaha, 3-2 in 15 innings

Pinero scores pinch runner Woodruff on sacrifice fly after Irving's leadoff double


Junior catcher Nate Irving started Virginia’s 15th-inning breakthrough with a ground-rule double to left field.

Ryan O'Connor | The Cavalier Daily

It didn’t happen easily, but the Virginia baseball team is one win from the College World Series’ championship round. The No. 3 Cavaliers nipped No. 7 Texas Christian, 3-2, in a 15-inning affair that lasted until midnight Omaha time.

Freshman shortstop Daniel Pinero drove a fly ball to center field to score junior pinch runner Thomas Woodruff from third base for Virginia’s second walk-off win in two games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.

Pinero’s RBI off Horned Frogs redshirt junior right-hander Trey Teakell snapped an offensive drought begun after the Cavaliers (51-14, 22-8 ACC) tied the score at 2 on junior first baseman Mike Papi’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth.

Junior catcher Nate Irving set up the game-winning surge when he led off Virginia’s half of the 15th with a ground-rule double.

Virginia sophomore left-hander Brandon Waddell overcame three consecutive singles and a rare Pinero error to hold TCU (48-17, 17-7 Big 12) to two runs in the second inning. He was otherwise sharp, yielding six hits and no walks in seven innings on the evening.

TCU junior left-hander Brandon Finnegan threw eight strong innings himself, pitching around nine hits and two walks to hold the Virginia bats mostly at bay.

Firemen junior Nick Howard and sophomore Riley Ferrell worked well beyond their standard loads to keep the Cavaliers and Horned Frogs, respectively, from surrendering the go-ahead run.

Virginia’s junior closer entered in the eighth and exited after the 11th, while TCU’s sophomore door-slammer got started in the ninth and departed after the 12th. Howard and Ferrell each allowed just one hit and one walk in four scoreless innings.

Redshirt senior right-hander Whit Mayberry and senior right-hander Artie Lewicki notched two shutout innings apiece in relief of Howard as the game moved further into extras.

Irving and junior second baseman Branden Cogswell had multi-hit games for Virginia on a night when every offensive starter logged at least five at-bats.

The Cavaliers’ win places them on the cusp of advancing from double-elimination pool play to Omaha’s three-game championship series. Virginia plays next on Friday at 8 p.m. against the winner of the losers’ bracket — playing a rematch against either TCU or Ole Miss.

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