June 12, 2011
CBI Live -
UC Irvine 6, #1 Virginia 4
Super Regional Results, Schedules & Capsules
NCAA Interactive Bracket
Thurman Lifts Anteaters
Irvine’s Super Fan Makes Noise
By Sean Ryan
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
After the four-hour, 18-minute rain delay, UC
Irvine put its season’s fate in the hands of a freshman.
Andrew Thurman was up to the challenge.
Thurman tossed the final four innings, getting
ahead of Virginia hitters with a nice change and then pounding
the zone with an upper-80s fastball. He pitched around a double
in the seventh and may have escaped the eighth without a run had
right fielder Sean Madigan not slipped on the wet grass on a
base hit down the line. And he coasted in the ninth, capping a
6-4 win that ensured a rubber game Monday for the right to play
“Obviously in a best-case scenario, if we were to
be here for three games, we would like to have had Thurman start
the third game,” Anteaters coach Mike Gillespie said.
“Nonetheless, we were down 3-0, and there isn’t going to be a
tomorrow if we didn’t manage to come back today, so it was not a
Gillespie said that even though Thurman is a
freshman, he has been in tough situations before this season and
in what his coach called the “single-best high school league in
California.” But Gillespie also admitted the Super Regional
stage against the top-seed in the tournament was much bigger.
“It wouldn’t have been a shock to see a guy in
that situation crack,” Gillespie said. “He has for the most part
demonstrated uncommon poise and experience that belies his
years. I’m not dumbstruck that he did so well.”
* * *
Forgotten play of the night: Virginia had just
scored on Kenny Swab’s double down the right-field line that
Madigan slip-saved from going to the wall. Davenport Field was
rocking, and Cavaliers fans were beginning to count outs to
Omaha. David Coleman came up and lined a shot to short that D.J.
Crumlich leaped and speared, saving a hit and another run that
would have put the Cavaliers up 5-3.
* * *
UC Irvine drew the ire – and later the respect and praise – of
some Virginia fans.
Keith Franklin (right) is known as Super Fan, and
watching him throughout the game is almost like watching the
game itself. Seldom stationary for more than a few seconds,
Franklin cheers loudly, often leading other fans in support of
Right before the game, he tugged at the net above
the Cavaliers dugout to get fired up. He was head-banging as he
stomped his feet into the grandstand. He clapped. And clapped.
“He’s great,” Irvine left fielder Drew Hillman
said. “A little outrageous at times…he loves the Anteaters, so
it’s great to see him out here.”
Before the rain delay, it seemed as most Virginia
fans wanted him to pipe down. Right after, two young Cavaliers
fans approached a shirtless Franklin (assuming the shirt he was
wearing was drenched in the downpour) and asked him to sign a
ball. A female Virginia fan then asked for a picture. And others
stopped by for an autograph or to get a picture before the game
It also appeared a Virginia usher told Franklin
to put a shirt on. He put on a crisp, white Irvine jersey and
presumably enjoyed a big Anteaters comeback.
Thanks to @BigWestBaseball for passing along this
great story about Franklin from Barry Faulkner at the Daily
* * *
Will Roberts will start for Virginia Monday, and
Gillespie said Crosby Slaught likely will be the starter for
Irvine. Cavaliers Game 2 starter Tyler Wilson said, “I don’t
know about that,” when asked if he could give an inning or two
on Monday. And Gillespie said UCI Game 1 starter Matt Summers,
“is going to want to have a fistfight if he doesn’t get put on
the list to be out there, say late in the game.”
* * *
Speaking of Wilson, it was pretty special what he
was able to do. Over the span of about six hours – four hours
and 18 minutes of a rain delay – the senior right-hander limited
UC Irvine to one run in six innings.
“I felt great when I got back out there,” Wilson
said. “I was just trying to get some momentum on our side and
kind of treat it like another start.”
His fastball was 88-89 before the break, and his
first fastball was 89 after the break. Jordan Leyland worked an
eight-pitch walk right after the rain delay, and Tommy Reyes
then flew out on the 10th pitch he saw – in the three
previous innings, Wilson had thrown 23 pitches.
“He still had his velocity,” Leyland said. “But I
felt having that little break gave him a little stiffness. He
wasn’t able to locate his pitches as well.”
* * *
Virginia took its lead by taking advantage of
every little thing UC Irvine did wrong.
Chris Taylor singled to open the game and took
off for second on a great dirt-ball lead. Irvine catcher Ronnie
Shaeffer blocked and fired low to second, where neither second
baseman Tommy Reyes nor shortstop D.J. Crumlich stopped the
ball, allowing Taylor to move to third. He scored on John Hicks’
In the third, starter Matt Whitehouse hit
nine-hole hitter Keith Werman on the first pitch. Taylor bunted
Werman to second, John Barr grounded out to move him to third
and he scored on Hicks’ infield single. The Cavaliers scored
without getting the ball out of the infield.
And in the fifth, Collin Harrington singled and
was bunted to second by Werman. Taylor walked to put men on
first and second. Barr grounded to third baseman Brian
Hernandez, who tried but failed to tag Harrington and had to
settle for a force out at second – had he gone to second in the
first place, it likely would have been an inning-ending double
play. With two outs, Hicks hit a grounder to Hernandez, whose
throw to first was wild and allowed Harrington to score.
UCI head coach Mike Gillespie said the home run
by Drew Hillman electrified the team. It's no wonder. The
Anteaters entered the tournament with the lowest home run total
among tourney teams. UC Irvine now has 14 dingers, about one
every four games.
Wondering what the teams did during the long rain
Irvine's Drew Hillman said the team went to the hotel and
watched TV. Virginia's Tyler Wilson said he threw a little bit
to stay loose until everyone realized it was going to be a long
delay. He "got some food in me" and tried to stay mentally
Virginia became the final team in the nation to
reach double digits in losses.