Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short as Oklahoma Eliminates Virginia, 5-4
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Cavaliers (39-19-1) ninth inning rally fell short and their season came to a close as the Oklahoma Sooners (40-23) escaped with a 5-4 victory on Sunday evening, in front of 2,896 fans at Davenport Field in the Consolation Game.
Virginia scored three runs in the top of the ninth and left the tying run on base as Derek Fisher grounded out on a bang-bang play to end the game and the season for the Cavaliers. The rally started with one out when Nate Irving doubled down the left field line. Keith Werman drove Irving in with his single into left-center field. Oklahoma then brought in Kindle Ladd to replace the starter, Dillon Overton, who almost went the distance. Chris Taylor singled through the right side to welcome Overton into the game and Werman moved to second. Colin Harrington almost beat out a muffed grounder by Oklahoma third baseman Garrett Carey, but was just late to the bag for the second out of the inning, but Werman and Taylor advanced a station. Stephen Bruno skied a ball toward shallow right field that fell in between the fielders for a double and scoring Werman and Taylor, bringing up Fisher.
The game started out well in UVa’s favor as starter Shane Halley pitched a perfect first. It was Halley’s third offering of the second inning that was launched by OU’s cleanup hitter, Matt Oberste, a solo shot to left field. The blast was the first home run by any of the teams thus far in the Charlottesville Regional, giving the Sooners an early 1-0 advantage. Cody Reine followed with a double, but Halley worked out of the jam without any more damage.
Oklahoma opened things up in the home half of the fourth inning, scoring three runs on a triple by Jack Mayfield. The inning started when Evan Mistich reached first base on a fielding error by Chris Taylor. Oberste walked and then Halley hit Reine to load the bases for Mayfield, who chased the UVa starter from the game with his hit. Nick Howard entered the contest and stranded Mayfield on third by recording three straight outs.
Virginia pushed one run across in the fifth inning, cutting its deficit to three runs, 4-1. With two outs, Keith Werman reached on a fielding error by Caleb Bushyhead at short. Taylor promptly smoked a double into the gap in right-center field, scoring Werman. Colin Harrington had an infield single, advancing Taylor to third, but Stephen Bruno grounded out to end UVa’s threat.
Oklahoma added an insurance run in the seventh inning, extending its lead to 5-1. Erik Ross reached on an error after Jared King dropped Werman’s throw. Ross proceeded to steal second and third base, Tanner Toal struck out in the between the thefts. After Max White struck out swinging, Bushyhead singled up the middle past a diving Werman to drive in the unearned run.
Virginia left nine runners on base and 20 total runners in the two losses on Sunday. Taylor led the way for UVa with four of the team’s nine hits. Halley takes the loss and finishes the season 9-2.
Overton picks up the win to improve to 6-3, while Ladd earns his second save of the season. Overton registered 11 strikeouts, while walking two in the winning effort.
Oklahoma returns to action on Monday in the Championship Round of the Charlottesville Regional. The Sooners will face undefeated Appalachian State at 4 p.m. If the Sooners win, a second game will follow at Davenport Field.