June 15, 2014
Papi's Pop Pushes
Cavaliers Past Rebels
By Phil Stanton
OMAHA, Neb. - Virginia saved the best for
Junior Mike Papi lined a double to deep
right-center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to plate
pinch-runner Thomas Woodruff with the game-winner as the No. 3
Cavaliers edged Ole Miss 2-1 Sunday evening in front of 23,393
fans at TD Ameritrade Park.
Virginia (50-14) will meet No. 7 TCU on Tuesday
evening at 7 p.m. CT. The Rebels (46-20) will face Texas Tech in
an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. CT.
Junior catcher Nate Irving, who did not start the
final two Super Regional games for Virginia against Maryland,
drew a walk to begin the ninth against Ole Miss reliever Aaron
Greenwood and was replaced at first by Woodruff. Leadoff hitter
Branden Cogswell sacrificed Woodruff to second to put the
potential winning run in scoring position. Following a
strikeout, Papi drove the ball over the outfielders' heads in
right center to drive in Woodruff with the game-winner.
"I had a couple of other opportunities earlier in
the game to drive some guys in," Papi said, "I wasn't able to. I
was looking for a pitch in the middle of the plate, something I
could cut in half and line to the outfield somewhere."
Was there any thought given to having Greenwood
"He's been our guy," Ole Miss head coach Mike
Bianco said. "We were going to pitch him tough. He's really
good, but you've got three left-handers in a row and [Joe]
McCarthy right under him. We did that the last time and McCarthy
was able to get a base hit."
The Cavaliers were 1 for 12 with runners in
scoring position prior to Papi's game-ending shot.
"We kept getting opportunities," Virginia head
coach Brian O'Connor said. "and just couldn't get that big hit
to tack on some more runs. But I guess we saved it for the
Sophomore Nathan Kirby and senior Artie Lewicki
combined on a one-hitter for the Cavaliers. Kirby worked seven
innings and allowed one hit and one run with three walks and
four strikeouts. Lewicki (7-1) retired all six batters he faced
with one punchout to pick up the win.
"I thought our pitching was outstanding,"
O'Connor said. "I thought Nathan Kirby was really tremendous
tonight. He did a great job of getting us to the eighth inning
and Artie Lewicki cam in and was really good and gave us a
chance to win."
The Cavaliers broke the scoreless tie in the
bottom of the fifth. Irving had a leadoff single to left and
moved to second on a base hit by Cogswell. Daniel Pinero lined
to second and Cogswell was doubled off first. Following an
intentional walk to Papi, Joe McCarthy delivered an RBI single
to center to plate Irving with the game's first run.
Virginia had a great chance to add to its lead in
the seventh. Cogswell drew a leadoff walk and was forced out at
second on a grounder by Pinero. Papi had an infield single to
advance Pinero to second. Pinero moved to third on a flyout to
center. Derek Fisher launched a ball to deep center. Auston
Bousfield raced back and made a twisting over-the-shoulder catch
to save at least two runs and end the rally.
The Rebels evened the score in the eighth. Kirby
walked Sikes Orvis and Colby Bortles to start the inning and end
his night. Lewicki took over and Errol Robinson sacrificed the
runners to second and third for the first out. Pinch-hitter Holt
Perdzock grounded out to short, driving in pinch-runner Cameron
Dishon with the tying run. Another groundout to short ended the
Lewicki retired the Rebels in order in the top of
the ninth to give Virginia a chance to win it in its final
"I thought they outplayed us tonight," Bianco said. "Not by much, but enough to make a
difference, especially in this tight of a ballgame."
Chris Ellis delivered a strong start for Ole
Miss. He scattered six hits in six innings with one run, four
walks and three strikeouts.