Home Florida State tops Virginia, 7-3, to eliminate the ‘Hoos from the 2024 College World Series

Florida State tops Virginia, 7-3, to eliminate the ‘Hoos from the 2024 College World Series

Chris Graham
uva baseball college world series
Photo: UVA Athletics

The wheels fell off for Virginia early in Sunday’s College World Series elimination game, and a late-game comeback came up short for the ‘Hoos in a 7-3 loss to Florida State.

The loss ends the season with back-to-back losses in Omaha for the ‘Hoos (46-17) for the second straight year.

The question that I’d raised to coach Brian O’Connor in Thursday’s CWS presser about the status of his Game 2 starter, Jay Woolfolk, proved prescient.

Woolfolk, who had tweaked his hamstring in the regular-season finale with Virginia Tech, then had to be looked at for an injury to his right knee in the Super Regional clincher with Kansas State last weekend, was clearly favoring the leg in his abbreviated outing on Sunday.

O’Connor and trainer Brian McGuire visited Woolfolk on the mound after he surrendered a leadoff homer to Jaime Ferrer that made it 2-0 FSU in the fourth, and then, after Woolfolk convinced the coach and trainer to keep him in, they had to visit again after a one-out walk to Alex Lodise, at which point O’Connor went to his presumptive Game 3 starter, Joe Savino.

Savino, who had not pitched since the NCAA Tournament opener with Penn back on May 31, was not sharp, getting tagged for four runs in the fifth, the big blow coming on a three-run homer from Ferrer, his second of the game, and then giving up a solo shot to lead off the sixth to Lodise.

That one made it 7-0 FSU, and had the folks in the UVA media contingent looking up the cost of flights back home.

Virginia was able to make it somewhat interesting late, getting two runs in the seventh on a pair of two-out RBI hits, from Henry Godbout and Casey Saucke, then getting within slam range in the eighth with a two-out, two-strike RBI double from Anthony Stephan.

Relievers Angelo Tonas (2.0 IP, one K) and Matt Augustin (1.0 IP) retired FSU in order in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to give the bats one more chance.

With the focus on getting on base, Godbout worked a one-out walk ahead of Saucke, who hit a soft liner to short for out #2, and Godbout, getting a bad read on the liner, got caught too far off first, and was doubled up, for out #3, and the season.

Analysis: What did Virginia in

Winning pitcher Carson Dorsey gave up three runs, all earned, on nine hits in seven-plus innings of work, striking out seven, walking two and hitting one batter.

The big issue for Virginia, given those numbers – the Cavaliers had 10 hits and 14 total baserunners on the day – was lack of situational hitting, bad baserunning and a defensive miscue by Saucke in the fifth inning that opened up the floodgates.

With two outs and nobody on, Saucke misplayed a sinking line drive off the bat of Cam Smith into a double.

O’Connor decided to intentionally walk James Tibbs III to pitch to Marco Dinges, who went the other way off Savino on a 2-2 fastball to score Smith from second, ahead of Ferrer’s homer, which came on a 2-0 pitch from Savino.

The bad baserunning was two situations, both involving Godbout, who was doubled off first in the ninth, and was picked off first in the first inning after reaching on a one-out single.

The pickoff came on a 3-1 pitch to Saucke, who, after the pickoff, singled to left-center, which would put runners on the corners with one down in the early moments of the game.

The situational hitting issue – the RBI hits from Godbout, Saucke and Stephan were the three in the 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position for UVA on the afternoon.

Virginia left nine runners on base, after leaving 10 on base (and going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position) in the 3-2 walk-off loss to North Carolina on Friday.

It comes down to the little things in Omaha.

The frustrating thing: it was the little things that did Virginia in this year in both of the losses.

‘Tis what it is.

Worse things can happen

Obviously a tough way to go out, but if you have to go out, Omaha isn’t a bad place to do it.

This is the third time in the past four years that Virginia has finished up its season with back-to-back losses in the CWS.

I don’t know that anybody expected this team, which lost its starting rotation and two best hitters from a year ago, then lost two projected starting pitchers to injury before the end of the third weekend of March, to get back to the College World Series this year.

Anymore, getting this far is becoming the floor for UVA Baseball, which says a lot.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].