College World Series Blog
Wednesday, June 16
What an unbelieveable game, although a heartbreaker for all the Virginia players, coaches, support staff, family, friends and fans. It was an epic season of accomplishments, capped by Virginia making it all the way to the College World Series. It was a record-breaking year that ended in Omaha.
The contest lasted four hours, 47 minutes – the fourth-longest game by time in CWS history. The two pitching staffs combined for 28 strikeouts (Arkansas 17, Virginia 11), which ranks third in CWS history and was the most since Texas and USC combined for 29 strikeouts in a 14-inning game on June 16, 1970.
Sophomore Jarrett Parker set a single season record tonight for hits in a season. He entered the CWS tied for first in the record books, and with two hits against the Razorbacks, he set the new record with 94 hits during the 2009 campaign.
As we all know, it was a tough way to go … but we will be back!
The records fell in 2009 as the Cavaliers set marks in at bats, hits, runs, doubles, triples, runs batted in, total bases, innings pitched, strikeouts, and most importantly – wins.
Tomorrow, Virginia will trek the 1,186 miles back home to Charlottesville.
Tuesday, June 15
Welcome to Wahoo, Nebraska. Now, some may think this is the part of town where all the Virginia fans have set up shop throughout UVa’s College World Series run in Omaha. You’d be wrong. There is actually a town of Wahoo, Nebraska, and it lies about 30 minutes (40 from our hotel) from Omaha to the west.
A population of 4,062 residents, David Letterman fans will know what I’m talking about. Wahoo has been the home office of the “Late Show with David Letterman” since March 1996. It has a good sports tradition too. Wahoo boasts a 114-game winning streak for high school basketball, which is in fact the third longest in the nation.
Wahoo, from an Indian word meaning “burning bush”, was founded in 1870 by a group of settlers who believed this area would become one of the richest farming regions in the state. Through hard work, determination, and ingenuity, these predominately Czech, German, and Scandinavian settlers turned their dreams into reality.
You can read more about Wahoo by visiting the city’s official website.
The Cavaliers practiced today for a third time at Creighton for just over an hour, took care of some media interviews and headed back to the hotel.
On a side note, have all the UVa fans been following the team on Facebook (search Virginia Cavaliers) and Twitter? We’ve been microblogging and putting up some “behind the scenes” pictures from the team’s time in Omaha. Be sure to check it out!
The Omaha World-Herald also has a pretty sweet photo gallery, and you can check that out here.
Monday, June 15
Sticking with Andrew Carraway’s theme of playing with our backs against the wall, Virginia rebounded to defeat Cal State Fullerton 7-5 this afternoon, marking the first College World Series win in UVa baseball history. It was none other than Carraway who recorded that win on the mound, coming on in relief for starter Robert Morey. It also was Carraway’s 20th win of his career.
The Cavaliers, who are 3-0 in elimination games this NCAA tournament, will play Arkansas at 6 p.m. (7 eastern) Wednesday.
Following the Arkansas-LSU game Monday night, Virginia won the coin toss (assistant coach Eddie Smith is 4-0 in postseason coin flips) and will be the home team against the Razorbacks. Stayed tuned. More to come from Omaha!
Sunday, June 14
Today, a few of us were lucky enough to witness Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor in his field of dreams – literally. And it just so happen to be in a cornfield in Council Bluffs, Iowa, his hometown.
While en route to the team function put on for the Cavaliers by our host organization, the Concord Club, we got lost. We took the wrong road several times. We ended up in a cornfield. It felt like the perfect opportunity for a photo op. Special thanks to baseball SID Andy Fledderjohann for getting us lost and senior associate director of athletics Jane Miller trying her best but ultimately having no luck with poor directions. Though props to her for her enthusiasm about being in the middle of nowhere.
The picnic was a lot of fun. The players and staff took advantage of hitting golf balls over the river near the state line. Athletics director Craig Littlepage played catch with a few of the Little League players on hand, who were also coincidently named the Virginia Cavaliers! They were excited to hang out with the real-life players. The players also battled it out on the basketball court and played horseshoes. Everyone enjoyed a meal of BBQ pork sandwiches, fried chicken, baked beans and coleslaw.
Earlier in the day, Virginia practiced for the second time this week at Creighton. It was a light practice in shorts and t-shirts and the players took some batting practice along with some light fielding drills. Following practice the team went over to Rosenblatt and watched a few innings of the Arizona State-North Carolina game before heading to the picnic.
Saturday, June 13
This morning, Coach O’Connor was honored as the national coach of the year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association this morning at the Omaha Press Club. The ceremony also included the unveiling of the finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy as well as the recipients of the National Pitcher of the Year and Stopper of the Year awards. Following the NCBWA brunch, O’Connor joined three of his players – Danny Hultzen, Tyler Cannon and Jarrett Parker – at the Hilton Hotel for meetings with ESPN, including commentators Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser and Erin Andrews.
Off the to field … it’s finally game time! This will be the largest crowd to ever watch a UVa baseball game.
With Virginia making its first appearance in the College World Series, here are some fun firsts that are now in the record books:
• Virginia’s first hit in the College World Series was a single through the left side by sophomore Dan Grovatt to lead off the second inning.
• Freshman Keith Werman scored Virginia’s first run in the CWS, an RBI by fellow rookie Danny Hultzen in the third inning.
• Third baseman Steven Proscia hit UVa’s first CWS home run, a solo shot to left center in the fifth to tie the game at three. Proscia’s homer was the 10th of the season, the most by a UVa rookie since Sean Doolittle hit 12 in 2005.
Just announced: The attendance for the game is 24,904, which ties the all-time session two record from back in 2005 when Nebraska defeated Arizona State 5-3. The largest crowd the Cavaliers had played in front of before today was 17,860 vs. Clemson on May 28, 2005 at the ACC Tournament, which was held in Jacksonville, Fla.
Virginia will play Cal State Fullerton at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern) Tuesday on ESPN2.
Friday, June 12
The opening ceremonies of the 2009 Men’s College World Series capped day three in Omaha for the Virginia Cavaliers. After breakfast, the team headed to Rosenblatt, took a team picture in front of the famed statue outside of the opening gates, and headed inside for practice.
Just as LSU was taking its last swings of batting practice, rain started to lightly fall, and tournament officials had the tarp brought in over the infield. The Cavaliers were unable to practice on the field because of the inclement weather, so they took to the batting cages. By then it was pouring – and it didn’t stop for a few hours.
Then it was time for the Fan Fest autograph session. For nearly an hour the players signed autographs for the hundreds of people who had been standing in line. When the session was completed, the team headed back to the hotel, and Coach O’Connor headed to the media room for the CWS press conference, which included all eight head coaches. O’Connor sat next to his good friend and mentor, Paul Mainieri, and both answered a few questions about playing together. USA Today has a story on the two of them and the Omaha World-Herald wrote something on O’Connor and his affection for Rosenblatt Stadium.
After some down time, the team hopped on the bus for a barbeque dinner and the opening ceremonies. Since the teams were introduced in alphabetical order, Virginia was the last team to be introduced to the crowd. The rain had disappeared and it was a perfect night to kick everything off in Omaha.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Robert Morey received an award for the team’s highest grade-point average. Then it was time for the fireworks. The stadium was full of fans that love this event and everyone roared as the grand finale played to Celine Dion’s “God Bless America.”
Tomorrow is gameday! For the Wahoo fans who made the trek to Omaha, check out these tips for CWS fans.
Thursday, June 11
The highlight of today was the team’s first practice in Omaha – at Coach O’Connor’s alma mater, Creighton University. The team was greeted by young fans who sought autographs from the players, as well as lots of TV cameras, since practice was open to the media. The Cavaliers took batting practice and got into some situational drills. Shortly thereafter, Coach O’Connor announced that Danny Hultzen – the ACC Freshman of the Year – would get the start Saturday night against LSU.
Speaking of the skipper, the Omaha World-Herald had a nice article on O’Connor and his ties to the statue outside Rosenblatt Stadium.
Also, more good news … two more Cavaliers – Matt Packer and Tyler Cannon – were drafted!
After practice, the team enjoyed a nice Omaha steak dinner, and quickly retreated to their hotel. Friday brings a plethora of activities, including meetings, practice at Rosenblatt, a press conference with all eight head coaches and the opening ceremonies to the 2009 Men’s College World Series. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, June 10
After a solid practice in Charlottesville, the team boarded its charter flight bound for Omaha. Already there were good vibes sent our way, as the flight crew informed everyone they had recently serviced the NCAA Women’s College Word Series champions, the Washington Huskies, back to Seattle. It was a smooth flight out to Omaha.
After touching down, the team headed over to Rosenblatt Stadium. Coach O’Connor was greeted by local media. Being from the area and leading the program to Virginia’s first College World Series appearance have generated some nice buzz. Like this article from the Omaha World-Herald and another one from the Blue Jay Cafe, which covers Creighton. The players stepped on to the field and walked the warning track to get a feel for the place – minus the atmosphere that Saturday will bring.
Wednesday also brought two other pieces of good news. Three Cavaliers – including veteran leaders Andrew Carraway and Robert Poutier – were chosen on the second day of the MLB Draft. Carraway was a 12th-round pick (353rd overall) of the Seattle Mariners and Poutier was a 29th-round selection (864th overall) of the San Diego Padres. To read more on the draft, click here.
Additionally, sophomore Jarrett Parker and freshman Danny Hultzen were both named second team All-Americans by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). For more on that story, click here.