Cavaliers Drop CWS Opener to LSU, 9-5
OMAHA, Neb. The Virginia baseball team dropped a 9-5 decision to No. 3 national seed LSU Saturday evening in the opening round of the College World Series in front of 24,904 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium the largest crowd to ever witness a UVa baseball game. The attendance figure tied a session two record at the CWS.
Virginia next will play Cal State Fullerton, the No. 2 national seed, at 2 p.m. Monday in an elimination game. Arkansas defeated the Titans, 10-6, in the first session. UVa met CSF last year in the NCAA Fullerton Regional, with the Titans notching a 4-1 win.
The Cavaliers racked up 14 hits in the game but left 14 players on base which tied a season high. UVa got 11 of its 14 hits from the 6-9 hitters in its batting order. Keith Werman (Fr., Vienna, Va.) went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI as he set a career high in hits. Tyler Cannon (Jr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) and Franco Valdes (Jr., Miami, Fla.) each added three hits.
UVa’s Matt Packer (Jr., Germantown, Tenn.) was credited with the loss after pitching three innings and giving up three earned runs, five hits and a walk. Packer falls to 3-5 this year. UVa starter Danny Hultzen (Fr., Bethesda, Md.) pitched three innings, allowing three earned runs, seven hits and one walk while striking out five.
Austin Ross (6-7), the third of six Tiger pitchers, earned the win with two innings of one-run relief.
LSU (52-16) strung together three straight two-out hits in the first inning to score the game’s first run. Blake Dean lined a double to right field and scored when the following hitter, Micah Gibbs hit a single to right to score the run. Mikie Mahtook then blooped a single down the right-field line to put runners at the corners, but Hultzen rebounded to strike out Sean Ochinko to end the threat.
The Cavaliers (48-14-1) got on the board in the third inning. Werman led off with a double his first career double and just his second career extra-base hit. Jarrett Parker (So., Stafford, Va.) then walked and Werman advanced when Phil Gosselin (So., West Chester, Pa.) flew out to right-center. Hultzen then grounded out to second baseman DJ LeMathieu, who made a diving stop on the play, with Werman scoring to tie the game.
In the bottom of the third, LSU scored twice. LeMathieu singled to lead off and moved to third on a Schimpf double. Dean hit a sacrifice fly to right to score LeMathieu and move Schimpf to third, and Gibbs singled through the drawn-in infield to plate Schimpf and give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. LSU loaded the bases with two out, but Hultzen got Derek Helenihi to fly to center to end the inning.
Virginia got a run in the fourth inning but squandered an opportunity to bring in more. Cannon led off with a triple to left-center. One out later, Valdes blooped a single into no-man’s land down the right-field line, scoring Cannon. UVa then got a bunt single from Werman and walk from Parker to load the bases, but reliever Paul Bertinucci came on to strike out Gosselin and get Hultzen to fly out to a diving Schimpf in a left field.
UVa took its first lead with a two-run fifth inning. With one out, Proscia homered to left-center to tie the game. It was his 10th home run this season. Cannon then singled and John Hicks (Fr., Sandy Hook, Va.) singled. Valdes then grounded into a fielder’s choice to put runners at the corners. Werman then came up with his third hit a single just over the outstretched LeMathieu at second to give UVa a 4-3 lead.
LSU responded in the fifth inning with a three-run home run from Ochinko to take the lead right back, 6-4.
The Cavaliers sliced the lead in half when Valdes one pitch after Hicks was thrown out attempting to steal second base went opposite field with a home run to left. It was Valdes’ sixth long ball this year.
The Tigers put some up three insurance runs in the eighth inning, getting an RBI single from LeMathieu and a two-run home run on the next pitch from Schimpf.