#1 UVa. opens College World Series with 4-1 win over Cal
The Virginia baseball team started the 2011 College World Series strong with a 4-1 victory over California on Sunday afternoon in front of 21,275 spectators at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Virginia (55-10) advances into the winners’ bracket to play the winner of the Sunday evening South Carolina-Texas A&M game at 7 p.m. Tuesday (ET) on ESPN.
“I thought that we played a very good fundamental baseball game from a pitching and defense standpoint,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Danny Hultzen grinded another start out. I thought he looked really good, but obviously after the middle part of the game he started to tire a little bit. But we were fortunate to still be able to coax him out.”
The teams played six scoreless innings before Virginia broke loose for a pair of runs in the seventh inning. It marked the first CWS game to remain scoreless through six innings since May 31, 1987, between Florida State and Arizona State.
UVa’s pitching staff came in with an NCAA-low 2.26 ERA and again was strong, holding California (37-22) scoreless until two outs in the ninth inning. UVa starter Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) worked around three early walks to hold the Golden Bears scoreless over 6.1 innings. Hultzen gave up three hits and three walks while striking out six to increase his UVa season record to 157 and his UVa career record to 387.
Tyler Wilson (Sr, Midlothian, Va.) earned the win and improved to 9-0 after pitching 2.1 innings of relief. Branden Kline (So., Frederick, Md.) notched the save by recording the final out. He tied the school and ACC single-season records with his 18th save.
Logan Scott (1-2) took the loss for Cal after giving up a pair of runs in three-plus innings.
The Cavaliers finished with nine hits, with Keith Werman (Jr., Vienna, Va.) and John Barr (Sr., Ivyland, Pa.) each recording a pair of knocks. Mitch Delfino picked up two of Cal’s six hits.
Virginia had offensive opportunities in innings two, three and four, putting the first two batters on base and advancing a runner to third base in each instance, but the Cavaliers were unable to score him each time. Through the first four innings, UVa left five runners in scoring position and was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Virginia finally pushed through in the bottom of the seventh inning with two runs, taking a 2-0 lead. Werman, who was two for his last 20, led off with a sharp single up the middle. Taylor looked to bunt Werman over, but ended up walking on four pitches. Cal went to the bullpen, bringing in Scott to face Barr. UVa’s left fielder laid down a perfect bunt, advancing the runners to second and third. John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) then roped a base hit up the middle, plating Werman for the game’s first run. Steven Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) capped the seventh-inning scoring with a sacrifice fly to deep right field, bringing Taylor in from third base.
Virginia added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth. Kenny Swab (Sr., Kernersville, N.C.) led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Mitchell Shifflett (Fr., Midlothian, Va.). David Coleman (Sr., Richmond, Va.) bunted Shifflett over, and Jared King (Jr., Radford, Va.) followed with a run-scoring triple to right-center. Werman then slapped a single to left to plate King and give the Cavaliers a 4-0 edge.
Cal broke up the shutout with two outs in the ninth on a Chad Bunting single which plated Marcus Semien.