June 17, 2014


Irving's Double Sparks Virginia past TCU in 15 innings


By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

phil@collegebaseballinsider.com @RoadToOmaha


OMAHA, Neb. - It was going to take a big play to end this marathon.


Ninth-place hitter Nate Irving had a ground-rule double to ignite the game-winning rally in the bottom of the 15th as Virginia outlasted TCU 3-2 Tuesday evening in a 4:51 affair in front of 24,285 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.


The Horned Frogs (48-17) will face Ole Miss on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. CT in an elimination contest. The winner will meet the Cavaliers (51-14) on Friday evening at 7 p.m. CT in Virginia's first attempt to reach the championship series.


Irving, who was 1 for 5 entering his final at-bat, fell behind 0-2 before taking three balls to make it a full count. He crushed a ball to left that hit on the warning track and bounced into the Virginia bullpen for a ground-rule double. Thomas Woodruff, who scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth in Sunday's 2-1 win over Ole Miss, came in to pinch-run for Irving.


Branden Cogswell (3 for 5, 2 R) sacrificed Woodruff to third, bringing Daniel Pinero to the plate. Pinero, who had committed two errors earlier in the game and struck out looking in his previous two plate appearances, twice attempted to lay down a safety squeeze, but both were fouled off. He sent a 2-2 pitch to center-field that was caught and was deep enough to bring in Woodruff with the winning run in a game that tied for the longest by innings in College World Series history.


"Coach Mac (Kevin McMullan) put the bunt sign down," Pinero said, "and I missed twice, two curveballs. Then I went into a two-strike approach. He threw me another curveball and I stayed back and put it in the air and got the job done."


The pitching was exceptional on both sides.


UVa starter Brandon Waddell allowed six hits and two runs (one earned) in seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Closer Nick Howard gave up one hit and one walk in a season-high four innings with six strikeouts. Whit Mayberry worked around two hits and one walk in two frames with a pair of punchouts. Artie Lewicki (8-1) earned his second win in this College World Series, retiring all six hitters he faced with two strikeouts.


"Waddell gives up the two runs in the second inning," O'Connor said, "and then continues to fight and make some good adjustments and gives us seven strong innings. Everybody we brought out of the pen did a nice job."


TCU starter Brandon Finnegan worked eight innings with nine hits and two runs (one earned) with two walks and five strikeouts. Closer Riley Ferrell also logged four innings with one hit, one walk and four punchouts. Trey Teakell (2.2 IP, H, R, 2 K) suffered the loss.


"Premium arms," TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "It's hard to get upset at your offense when you're facing that kind of pitching. The pitching was smothering. Then you add in the park and the conditions, and it's not a good recipe for scoring."


After TCU squandered a leadoff double in the top of the first, Virginia plated a run in the bottom of the frame. Cogswell had a leadoff double to right, moved to third on a flyout to right and scored on the errant throw to third.


The Horned Frogs answered in the second. Garrett Crain (2 for 6) had a leadoff single and moved to third on a base hit by Jerrick Suiter. Dylan Fitzgerald had a single to left to drive in Crain to knot the score at 1. Virginia left fielder Derek Fisher slipped and was able to barehand the ball and keep it from going to the wall. Suiter later scored on an error with two away to give TCU a 2-1 advantage.


Virginia tied the game in the fifth. Cogswell had another leadoff two-bagger, this time to the gap in left-center. Pinero sacrificed him to third and Mike Papi grounded out to second to bring home Cogswell with the tying run.


The Cavaliers had a chance to reclaim the lead in the eighth. Kenny Towns had a one-out double to right. With two away, Fisher grounded to short and reached first on a throwing error. Towns was caught in a rundown between third and home, eventually tagged out in the face by TCU first baseman Kevin Cron.


"We threw everything we had at them," O'Connor said. "I felt this game, the 1-0 game to go 2-0, is really important and it gives you an extra day's rest. You don't have to play again until Friday and obviously you have the upper hand."