Home Walkoff! Bobby Whalen grounder puts UVA past Mississippi State, 5-4

Walkoff! Bobby Whalen grounder puts UVA past Mississippi State, 5-4

chris graham uva baseball Virginia (42-15, RPI: 11) faces Mississippi State (39-21, RPI: 20) tonight at 6 p.m. for a spot in the final of the Charlottesville Regional.

AFP editor Chris Graham’s seat on press row is on the concourse behind home plate, pretty much the best seat in the house.

Follow along for live updates, commentary and analysis.

Mississippi State’s starting pitcher tonight is a guy that you might have heard of, 5’11” sophomore Jurrangelo Cijntje (8-2, 3.55 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 108Ks/29BBs in 83.2 IP), who throws from both sides, and can hit 95 mph on the gun from the right side and 93 mph on the gun from the left.

Virginia is going with its #1 starter, Evan Blanco, (7-3, 3.50 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 79Ks/24BBs in 79.2 IP).

Guys to watch in the MSU lineup: sophomore outfielder Dakota Jordan (.339 BA/1.095 OPS, 17 HRs, 63 RBIs), senior outfielder Connor Hujsak (.350 BA/1.042 OPS, 9 HRs, 48 RBIs), sophomore shortstop David Mershon (.335 BA, .928 OPS, 5 HRs, 39 RBIs, 25 SBs) and junior DH Hunter Hines (.245 BA/.805 OPS, 15 HRs, 51 RBIs).

The bullpen has some nice arms – including 6’2” senior lefty Tyler Davis (5-1, 5 saves, 1.35 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 40Ks/12BBs in 33.1 IP), 6’2” junior righty Tyson Hardin (3-2, 2 saves, 3.09 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 34Ks/21BBs in 35.0 IP), and 6’5” senior righty Brooks Auger (1-2, 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 47Ks/16BBs in 41.1 IP).

Nothing doing for either side in the first. Blanco pitched around a one-out single, and got through the inning in 14 pitches, so, nice and economical.

Cijntje worked a 1-2-3 first in 13 pitches.

Blanco pitched around another one-out single, notching strikeouts of Logan Kohler and Aaron Downs to get out of the top of the second.

He’s at 30 pitches through two.

Eric Becker gets UVA on the board with a two-out, two-run triple off the top of the wall in right-center, scoring Jacob Ference and Henry Godbout.

Godbout kept the inning alive with a single through the right side on a 2-2 pitch.

The score after two: UVA 2, Mississippi State 0.

A pair of two-out singles kept the inning going for Mississippi State, and Hunter Hines, first-pitch-swinging, took Blanco out through the flagpoles in right-center.

The four MSU singles were all on sharply hit balls. The homer was the first one with elevation.

Mid-3: Mississippi State 3, UVA 2.

Nothing doing for UVA in its half of the third. Ethan Anderson worked a one-out walk.

Pitch counts: Cijntje 49, Blanco 46.

End 3: Mississippi State 3, UVA 2.

Blanco had Bryce Chance absolutely dead-to-rights picked off at second, but overthrew Becker, the ball went into short center, and Chance came all the way around to score.


Mid-4: Mississippi State 4, UVA 2.

UVA goes down in order in its half of the fourth.

Pitch counts: Cijntje 59, Blanco 61.

End 4: Mississippi State 4, UVA 2.

Blanco settles down, and gets the side in order.

Notably, he finally got David Mershon out. Mershon had singled in each of his first two ABs.

Mid-5: Mississippi State 4, UVA 2.

Another 1-2-3 inning for Virginia in its half of the fifth. Cijntje has now retired eight in a row.

Pitch counts: Cijntje 70, Blanco 75.

End 5: Mississippi State 4, UVA 2.

Blanco pitches around a leadoff single, and a call on a double-play ball that was overturned, to get out of the top of the sixth with no damage.

Mid-6: Mississippi State 4, UVA 2.

Ethan Anderson led off with a single, but was erased on a double-play grounder off the bat of Casey Saucke, and the replay thing went against Virginia again on a Henry Ford nubber down the third-base line.

Pitch counts: Cijntje 84, Blanco 87.

Mid-6: Mississippi State 4, UVA 2.

Blanco’s day is done after he gave up a leadoff single to Aaron Downs.

Matt Augustin (2-0, 4.88 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 20Ks/10BBs in 24.0 IP) in for Virginia.

Augustin gets out of a two-on, one-out jam, battling back from a 3-0 count to get Mershon to fly out, then striking out Jordan on three pitches – 94, 95 and 95.

Stretch time: Mississippi State 4, UVA 2.

Eric Becker is at it again: a two-run single ties the game at 4-4.

Nothing doing for the ‘Hoos after the game-tying single.

End 7: Mississippi State 4, UVA 4.

Augustin Ks Downs looking with a 3-2 curve to get out of first-and-third, two-out trouble.

Collective deep breath.

Mid-8: Mississippi State 4, UVA 4.

New pitcher for MSU: Tyson Hardin (3-2, 2 saves, 3.09 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 34Ks/21BBs in 35.0 IP).

Hardin pitched around a leadoff walk to Anderson, striking out Ford and Ference after a Saucke ground ball advanced Anderson to second with one down.

End 8: Mississippi State 4, UVA 4.

A two-out walk to Mershon put the go-ahead run on base for Jordan, who singled through the five hole on a fat 0-2 pitch from Augustin.

Angelo Tonas (2-0, 3.97 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 29Ks/10BBs in 34 IP) in for Augustin.

Tonas, on the first pitch, induces a weak grounder to second from Hines to end the threat.

Collective deep breath #2.

Heading to the bottom of the ninth: all tied up at 4-4.

Wild bottom of the ninth: Harrison Didawick led off with a double to left-center, Henry Godbout walked, Eric Becker hit into a fielder’s choice that advanced Didawick to third.

Becker took off for second on the first pitch, which Eric Becker grounded toward the second-base bag.

Second baseman Amani Larry, sliding over to cover the bag, bobbled the grounder, allowing Didawick to score the winning run.

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].