May 31, 2009

click here for Regional Capsules

click here for Sunday Regional Scores


Carraway Pitches Virginia to First Regional Title

By Abbey Mastracco

Special to


IRVINE, Calif. - As the Cavaliers dogpiled in the infield of Anteater Ballpark late Sunday night, the ‘Eater Nation looked on in shock. Virginia had just upended No. 1-ranked UC Irvine 4-1 for the second night in a row, advancing to the first ever Super Regional in school history.

The ACC champs went 3-0 in the Irvine Regional, but not without some theatrics, which included playing the top team in the country twice and facing the top pitcher in the country.

Keeping with the theme, the dramatics were in full force late in the game. In the top of the eighth, facing Eric Pettis, arguably the best closer in the nation, with one out and one on, Tyler Cannon and Phil Gosselin ripped two straight triples off the All-America candidate to drive in two more runs and take a three-run lead over the Anteaters.

The two triples doubled Pettis’ total on the season.

Stellar defensive plays in the top of the ninth and a strikeout by Francis Larson secured the win for the Cavaliers (46-12-1).

“This is a huge step for our program,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We came out here in what people were saying was the toughest regional in the field and we played spectacular baseball all weekend. I felt like this weekend we played the best baseball we could play.”

“Hats off to Virginia who is a really, really, really good team who played very, very well and we were very impressed with them,” UC Irvine (44-15) head coach Mike Gillespie said. 

Andrew Carraway (7-1) was the star of the night for UVa. The veteran senior went hitless through more than three innings, and limited the Anteaters, who had just come off a 19-hit, 14-run game against San Diego State, to just one run on only four hits over seven innings of work.

“Andrew Carraway stepped up and gave us a tremendous outing,” O’Connor said. “There’s nobody else that I wanted to give the ball to other than him that would have a chance to win the title for us.”

For the fourth year right-hander, this victory carried more meaning than others.

“I was talking to these first and second-year players, who are just awesome players, but they don’t really understand it the same way,” Carraway said. “To do this in my fourth year and have an opportunity to be on the mound is just all you can ask for as a senior.”

Carraway pitched himself out of trouble in the sixth even after a bold move had UC Irvine on track to answer the run UVa had put up in the top of the inning. With one out and Ben Orloff on second and Casey Stevenson on first, Gillespie gave them the green light for the double steal. But Carraway struck out Ronnie Shaeffer and got Jeff Cusick to ground out to end the inning.

“I just had a feeling about Andrew all night that he was just not going to be denied,” O’Connor said.

While Carraway’s senior season has been temporarily extended, some of the top seniors in the country saw theirs come to an end.

“I can’t say enough about what my time here has meant to me over the last four years,” Orloff, the senior shortstop, said. “It’s disappointing to see it end like that, we fought a battle all day. We laid it all on the line.”

Five Cavaliers were named to the All-Regional team, with catcher Franco Valdes receiving Most-Outstanding-Player accolades. The others named were Steven Proscia (third base), Jarrett Parker (outfield), Phil Gosselin (designated hitter) and Danny Hultzen (pitcher).

UC Irvine’s Orloff (shortstop), Eric Deragisch and Jordan Fox (outfield) and Danny Bibona (pitcher) were all named to the All-Regional team.