IRVINE, Calif. Danny Hultzen (Fr., Bethesda, Md.) pitched a masterful 7.1 shutout innings and the Virginia offense broke through for five runs in the fifth and sixth innings as the Cavaliers shut out top-ranked UC Irvine, 5-0, Saturday night at the 2009 NCAA Irvine Regional at Anteater Ballpark in Irvine, Calif. UCI is the top seed in the regional and the No. 6 national seed, while UVa is the No. 2 seed in the regional.
Virginia (45-12-1) advances to the regional championship game at 11 p.m. ET Sunday. The Cavaliers will face the winner of the UC Irvine-San Diego State game which precedes the championship game at 7 p.m. ESPNU and Comcast SportsNet each will have live coverage of both games. The winner of the UCI-SDSU game will have to beat the Cavaliers twice in order to move on the Super Regionals.
Hultzen (9-1) went a career-high 7.1 innings and pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his career. He allowed six hits and just one walk while striking out three. Tyler Wilson (So., Midlothian, Va.) pitched an inning before Matt Packer (Jr., Germantown, Tenn.) tossed the final two-thirds of an inning as the Cavaliers became the first team to shut out the Anteaters this season.
UC Irvine starter Christian Bergman (9-3) pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) and eight hits while striking out seven. He did not walk a batter. The Anteaters (44-14) came in with a sparkling .976 team fielding percentage but committed four errors, while UVa played flawless defense for the second straight day. The Cavaliers also turned three key double plays.
Franco Valdes (Jr., Miami, Fla.) had two hits, including a key two-run single in the fifth inning, while Dan Grovatt (So., Tabernacle, N.J.) added a pair of hits to run his hitting streak to seven games. Jarrett Parker (So., Stafford, Va.) had an RBI single to push his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games.
The game was a pitchers’ duel at the outset, with both pitchers posting zeroes through the first four-and-a-half innings. After not recording a hit in the first 3.2 innings while Bergman dominated, the Cavaliers broke through on a single by Grovatt.
In the fifth inning, UVa broke the stalemate with a pair of runs while taking advantage of two UCI miscues. With one out, John Hicks (Fr., Sandy Hook, Va.) doubled to left field. Valdes followed with a bloop single to center to move Hicks to third. Keith Werman (Fr., Vienna, Va.) then hit a grounder to shortstop Ben Orloff, who got the force at second, but Casey Stevenson’s throw to first was errant on the fielder’s choice, allowing Werman to move to second while the run scored. Parker then ripped a single to right to plate Werman with the game’s second run.
Virginia’s bats continued to awaken in the sixth inning. Hultzen led off with a single to shortstop, and he advanced on an errant throw by Orloff. Grovatt moved the runner over with a groundout to second base. Steven Proscia (Fr., Suffern, N.Y.) then hit a single to left over the drawn-in infield to push the Cavaliers’ lead to 3-0. Tyler Cannon (Jr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) doubled to left to move Proscia to third base. After Hicks hit a rocket back to the mound for an out to keep the runners at bay, Valdes drilled the first pitch he saw to center field for a two-run single to give UVa a 5-0 lead.
UC Irvine posted its first major threat in the eighth inning. Hultzen gave up a one-out single to Orloff and then was relieved in favor of Wilson. Eric Deragisch and Ronnie Shaeffer hit back-to-back singles to right field to load the bases, but Wilson forced Jeff Cusick to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.