Virginia rally falls short: Cavs season ends with 11-8 loss to Dallas Baptist
The question as to why Virginia wasn’t selected as a host site for the 2017 NCAA Baseball Tournament was answered Monday.
Down two frontline starting pitchers, the Cavs didn’t get an out from Monday starter Evan Sperling in a five-run Dallas Baptist first, and the Patriots survived a five-run UVA ninth to post an 11-8 win in the elimination game at the Fort Worth Regional.
DBU (42-20) sent 10 men to the plate in the first, only two of whom got base hits. But Sperling (3-3, 7.51 ERA) walked two and hit two before being lifted without retiring a batter.
Grant Donahue couldn’t stop the bleeding, giving up two hits and walking two before Bennett Sousa came in to induce an inning-ending double play.
But Sousa then got touched up for four runs in the second as the Patriots sent eight more to the plate in opening up a commanding 9-1 lead at the end of two.
Virginia (43-16) got a nice effort out of the bullpen from sophomore Chesdin Harrington, who allowed only one baserunner, on a walk, in four and two-thirds of scoreless relief, giving the bats a chance to get back into the game.
But Dallas Baptist starter Ray Gaither (6-4, 5.11 ERA) had the answer most of the afternoon, despite giving up a bevy of baserunners – giving up four hits and walking five in seven innings of work, but in the end only getting touched up for three runs, two earned.
The Cavs were able to rally for five runs in the ninth, highlighted by a three-run homer by Pavin Smith, who had five RBI on the day, and actually brought the tying run to the plate twice before DBU closer Dalton Higgins put out the fire, striking out Cam Simmons and getting Nate Eikhoff to ground out to short to end it.
The loss ends a UVA season in regional play for the second straight season, after a seven-year run from 2009-2015 that saw the Cavs advance to Super Regional play six times, make four College World Series appearances and win the 2015 national championship.
- Andy Weber went 3-for-4 in the game and finished 8-for-11 in the regional.
- Pavin Smith finished the season with 77 RBI, a single-season program record. His homer in the ninth was his 13th of the year and the 28th of his career – sixth most in program history.
- Adam Haseley finished the season by reaching base in each of the final 40 games and in 57 of his 58 contests this year.
Story by Chris Graham