Third-seeded Virginia baseball defeated No. 2 seed USC 14-10 in a thrilling 11-inning marathon to capture the Lake Elsinore Regional championship. The Cavaliers (37-22, 15-15 ACC) overcame a 9-5 deficit to force extra innings.
Virginia struck early to the tune of four first-inning runs, but the Trojans (39-21, 18-12 Pac-12) got it all back and more with a five-run bottom of the first. Sophomore Alec Bettinger surrendered all five runs without recording an out.
Junior Kevin Doherty entered in relief of Bettinger and got Virginia out of the first without further damage. Doherty worked 3.1 innings of two-hit ball, but the Cavalier defense let him down as Doherty allowed four runs, one earned, in the fourth inning.
Virginia entered the bottom of the fourth tied 5-5 but committed errors on three consecutive plays to give USC a 9-5 advantage.
The Cavaliers got one run back in the top of the sixth and struck for three runs in the eighth inning to tie the contest. Freshman Pavin Smith, an All-NCAA Lake Elsinore Regional Team member, drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single. Sophomore Matt Thaiss also scored due to an error on the play.
Virginia blew open the game with a five-run 11th inning in which the Cavaliers sent 10 batters to the plate. Doherty doubled home junior Joe McCarthy to break the 9-9 deadlock. Thaiss then drove home Doherty with a right-field single with sophomore Daniel Pinero scoring on an error. Another Trojan fielding blunder allowed Thaiss to score Virginia’s 14th run of the game.
The Cavalier’s bullpen was exceptional throughout the entire game. Following Doherty, freshman Tommy Doyle threw 2.2 scoreless innings. Junior David Rosenberger then followed with four perfect innings. Junior Josh Sborz yielded one unearned run in the 14th, but held the Trojans in check for his 14th save.
With the victory, Virginia advances to a Super Regional for the sixth time in seven years. The Cavaliers will face the winner of Monday’s 11 p.m. game between UCLA—the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed—and Maryland.
Senior Kenny Towns, junior Brandon Waddell and freshman Adam Haseley were also selected to the All-NCAA Lake Elsinore Regional Team.