June 1, 2014
Regional Scores & Schedules
NCAA Interactive Bracket
Virginia Super Again
By Sean Ryan
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
didn’t know any better, watching and listening to Virginia coach
Brian O’Connor after Sunday’s 9-2 win over Arkansas that
clinched the Charlottesville Regional, you might get the
impression this was the Cavaliers’ first trip to the Super
sports, when you accomplish great things, you need to enjoy it,”
O’Connor said, beaming throughout his portion of the postgame
Virginia – again – has accomplished great things. That pure joy
from O’Connor, however, seemed more a coach reveling in the fact
that his team is headed to the Super Regionals for the fifth
time in six years. It seemed more like a coach whose team
continues to meet exceedingly lofty expectations, including a
preseason No. 1 ranking from Baseball America and
Perfect Game, even as other national heavyweights bow out of
the NCAA Tournament.
proud,” O’Connor said. “Number one, I’m just really proud of
this club. This team comes in and has enormous expectations, and
they have managed it really well all year long.”
praising the consistency of the players who have come through
the program and longtime assistants Kevin McMullan and Karl
Kuhn, who have been with O’Connor every step of his 11-year
joyride in Charlottesville, O’Connor said again, “I’m really,
Brandon Waddell (8-3) kept Arkansas (45-20) off balance for most
of his 6.2 innings, and Derek Fisher drove in two of his four
runs in a six-run third inning that all but cemented another
Regional title for the Cavaliers (47-13).
Arkansas starter freshman Zach Jackson (2-3) was making his
second start of the season and cruised through the first two
innings before running into big-time trouble in the third.
La Prise (3 for 5) singled, and Brandon Downes was hit by a
pitch to open the frame. After an infield grounder from Nate
Irving advanced both runners, Brandon Cogswell walked to load
the bases. Jackson got a foul out but the third out proved
Papi took a borderline 3-2 pitch for a ball to force in the
game’s first run.
one pitch from getting out of that jam,” Razorbacks coach Dave
Van Horn said. “It was probably a ball or two off [the plate].”
McCarthy then hit a hard grounder to third baseman Clark Eagan,
who couldn’t handle it, and the Cavaliers led 2-0. Fisher
followed with a two-run single to left. A third chance at the
third out came and went when Michael Bernal booted a routine
grounder to re-load the bases for La Prise, who contributed his
second hit of the inning, a two-run single up the middle to make
big inning, said O’Connor, “allows someone like Brandon to go
out and attack the strike zone.”
Waddell didn’t face more than four batters in an inning until
the seventh, when he allowed Brian Anderson’s third hit and a
two-run homer to Krisjon Wilkerson, a towering shot that barely
cleared the 370-marker in left-center. He ended the night
allowing seven hits – three came in the seventh inning – and two
earned runs with four strikeouts.
Virginia added three runs in the top of the ninth. Fisher had a
two-run single up the middle, and a third run scored on Bernal’s
Mayberry closed with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, capping an
impressive weekend that saw Virginia allow all of three runs in
sweeping three games in the Regional.
“They’re going to be awfully tough to beat next weekend,” Van
Cavaliers will welcome ACC rival Maryland, which captured the
Columbia Regional Sunday night, in the Super Regionals beginning
this weekend. The Terrapins are making their first appearance in
the Super Regional round in their last year in the ACC before
moving to the Big Ten next year.
O’Connor admitted a lot will be made of the fact two ACC teams
will be playing for the right to go to Omaha and Maryland’s
impending departure to the Big Ten, he said they would address
Maryland in the coming days.
can’t turn the switch that quickly,” O’Connor said.
things first, however. Another Regional celebration was in order
for the Cavaliers.
O’Connor on Mike Papi and the 3-2 walk that got the Cavaliers
on the board in the third: “Mike Papi has a very advanced
approach at the plate. He doesn’t often swing at pitches off
Horn on the quality of Virginia’s pitching staff: “What you
have is a staff that’s competing to get on the mound with each
other. That’s the best competition.”
Horn on Regional Most Outstanding Player Nathan Kirby of
Virginia: “He’s kind of special. He’s a guy every coach would
like to have him pitch on Friday night.”
O’Connor on Arkansas freshman starter Zach Jackson, whose
fastball was reaching the low-to-mid 90s: “That guy is going
to be really, really good. You watch the Major League Draft in
two years. That guy is a lock to be a first-round pick.”
Arkansas shortstop Michael Bernal made two costly errors, but
he also made a splendid play in the fourth. On a hit-and-run,
Bernal broke left to the bag to cover but stopped and took a
couple steps before diving to spear Daniel Pinero’s sharp
grounder. Bernal composed himself and fired to first in time.
Razorbacks right fielder Tyler Spoon robbed Brandon Downes of
a hit when he raced in on a short fly and made a slick diving
catch at the grass blades.
Virginia first baseman Mike Papi made several difficult plays
look easy, including a tricky hop on Eric Fisher’s hard-hit
grounder in the ninth inning.
Virginia’s ERA dropped from 2.36 to 2.29 during the Regional,
good for fifth in the country. The Cavaliers made one error in
the three games and are now fielding .982, third in the