Third-seeded Virginia baseball scored two runs in the eighth inning to pull past No. 4 seed San Diego State for a 3-1 victory Saturday night. The victory puts the Cavaliers (36-22, 15-15 ACC) into the Lake Elsinore Regional championship game and one win away from a Super Regional berth.
Making his 49th career and seventh NCAA tournament start, junior Brandon Waddell limited the Aztecs (41-22, 20-10 Mountain West) to four hits and an unearned run across 7.1 innings. Saturday’s strong outing lowered Waddell’s NCAA tournament ERA to 1.76.
San Diego State drew first blood in the fifth inning. With no outs, junior Spencer Thornton reached on a throwing error by junior Robbie Coman. Two outs later and with Thornton standing on third, freshman Alan Trejo singled to put San Diego State on the board.
Virginia quickly tied the game again in its half of the fifth. Junior Joe McCarthy crushed an offering from junior Mark Seyler for a solo home run. The blast was McCarthy’s first of the season and his first career NCAA tournament homer.
The Aztecs threatened again in the eighth, but junior Josh Sborz stranded Trejo at third base to preserve the 1-1 tie.
The Cavaliers then went ahead in the bottom of the eighth. McCarthy led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman pinch hitter Justin Novak. McCarthy would score from second on a single by freshman Ernie Clement.
After Clement was thrown out trying to advance to third on his single, freshman Adam Haseley tripled and scored on an error.
Sborz pitched a perfect ninth inning to lock down the victory.
Virginia plays again Sunday night at 10 p.m. against the winner of the 6 p.m. game between San Diego State and USC. The Cavaliers have two chances to win one game and advance to a Super Regional with the winner of the UCLA regional.