Virginia victorious in Charlottesville Regional
No. 3 Cavaliers duel Maryland this coming weekend in super regional at Davenport Field
Just after 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, Virginia redshirt senior right-hander Whit Mayberry snuck a fastball by Arkansas junior designated hitter Krisjon Wilkerson to punctuate a 9-2 victory against the dangerous Razorbacks in the deciding game of the NCAA Baseball Championship’s Charlottesville Regional.
The Cavaliers (47-13, 22-8 ACC) defeated Bucknell once and Arkansas (40-25, 16-14 SEC) twice to advance to the super regionals for the fifth time in program history—and the fifth time in coach Brian O’Connor’s 11 years at the helm. Virginia was stingy on the mound, nearly mistake-free in the field and powerful in the batter’s box, yielding just three runs all weekend while committing one error and pushing 22 base runners across home plate.
The all-around excellence earned the Cavaliers a date with Columbia Regional champion Maryland (39-21, 15-14 ACC) this coming weekend at Davenport Field.
Senior right-hander Artie Lewicki pitched seven scoreless innings Friday afternoon as Virginia blasted Bucknell (31-21-1, 15-5 Patriot League) by a 10-1 count. The Cavalier bats spotted their starter a 3-0 lead through three innings and broke the game open with a seven-run sixth. Junior first baseman Mike Papi and sophomore designated hitter John La Prise swatted three hits apiece for Virginia.
The victory placed the Cavaliers in the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination regional, where they faced off against pitching-rich Arkansas Saturday night. Virginia took control early again, scoring three runs off sophomore right-hander Trey Killian before the Razorbacks’ starter departed with a blister. Sophomore left-hander Nathan Kirby blanked Arkansas for eight innings, allowing just one hit, before junior closer Nick Howard notched his ACC-record-tying 19th save.
Sophomore left-hander Brandon Waddell pitched to contact as usual in Sunday night’s title game, striking out four and entirely eschewing the base-on-balls in nearly seven innings of work. Virginia jumped on the Razorbacks for six runs in the third inning and three more in the ninth after Arkansas cut the lead to 6-2 in the seventh. Junior left fielder Derek Fisher racked up four RBI on the evening.