June 1, 2015
LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. – The Virginia baseball team won its sixth regional championship in the last seven years Sunday as the Cavaliers rallied from four runs down to earn a 14-10 win in 11 innings over Southern California at the NCAA Lake Elsinore Regional at Lake Elsinore Diamond in Lake Elsinore, Calif. The four-hour, 48-minute marathon began late on Sunday evening and extended well into Monday morning, concluding at 4:18 a.m. ET.
The third-seeded Cavaliers (37-22) advance to play the champion of the Los Angeles Regional – either UCLA or Maryland – in a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional series June 5-7 or 6-8. The Bruins and Terrapins play a decisive championship game Monday at 11 p.m. ET/8 PT.
“We’re obviously very excited that we found a way to win this regional,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “USC has a heck of a ballclub. I’m so proud of our ballclub. It’s been noted how much our team has gone through over the course of the season. We’ve endured more than any team that I’ve coached in 12 years at Virginia, and certainly this moment is very special because of what these guys have accomplished in light of that. This particular game, it certainly wasn’t how you would draw it up, but maybe that makes it all the more special. Just the fact that our guys hung in there and found a way to get it done in the end. I’m as proud of this ball club as I’ve ever been and we’re looking forward to playing next weekend.”
Kevin Doherty (Jr., Laytonsville, Md.) hit the tie-breaking RBI double with one out in the 11th inning for the Cavaliers, spurring a five-run inning for UVa, which trailed 9-5 entering the sixth inning before rallying for a run in the sixth and three in the eighth to send the game to extra innings.
Matt Thaiss (So., Jackson, N.J.) went 2-for-3, and reached base six times, scoring three times and knocking in three runs. Adam Haseley (Fr., Windermere, Fla.) and Daniel Pinero (So., Toronto, Ontario) each scored three runs, while Kenny Towns (Sr., Burke, Va.) and Pavin Smith (Fr., Jupiter, Fla.) each drove in three runs. Virginia recorded 10 hits but also drew 14 walks in the win.
After starting pitcher Alec Bettinger (So., Woodbridge, Va.) struggled in the first inning and did not record an out, the Cavaliers’ bullpen was sensational and allowed just one earned run and five hits in 11 innings of work, including just two hits over the final seven frames. Doherty worked 3 1/3 innings before freshman Tommy Doyle (Vienna, Va.) tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings. David Rosenberger (Jr., Bethlehem, Pa.) worked four perfect innings from the seventh through 10th innings to earn the win as he improved to 3-0 on the year. Josh Sborz (Jr., McLean, Va.) pitched the 11th to seal the victory.
Pitching for the second time Sunday, USC reliever Brent Wheatley (4-4) took the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) in the 11th inning to cap his three-inning outing. USC used six pitchers in the contest. Starter Bernardo Flores allowed five runs (three earned), three hits and four walks in two innings. USC eliminated San Diego State, 12-11, in the first game of the day after scoring three runs in the ninth inning to rally for the victory.
Virginia got off to a fast start in the nightcap, scoring four first-inning runs. Haseley and Pinero hit back-to-back singles before consecutive walks to Thaiss and Towns forced in a run. Pavin Smith hit a sacrifice fly to left to make it 2-0. Robbie Coman (Jr., Lake Worth, Fa.) grounded to shortstop Reggie Southall, but the throw to second for the force play was errant, allowing Thaiss to score. Joe McCarthy (Jr., Scranton, Pa.) followed with a sac fly to right to push the lead to 4-0.
The lead was short-lived as USC countered by scoring five runs in its half of the first. After leadoff hitter Bobby Stahel was hit by the 0-2 pitch, Garrett Stubbs doubled and Jeremy Martinez hit a two-run double. Dante Flores’ two-run triple tied the game and knocked Bettinger from the contest. On the first pitch from Doherty, Blake Lacey hit a sacrifice fly to right-center field.
UVa tied the game in the second inning, taking advantage of a pair of Flores walks, as Towns lashed a two-out RBI single to left field to score Haseley.
The Trojans took the lead back with a four-run fourth inning that was aided by three UVa errors on three consecutive plays. Martinez hit a two-run single to cap the scoring and give USC a 9-5 advantage.
Virginia got a run back in the sixth inning on a Thaiss RBI single to score Doherty. UVa knotted the score 9-9 in the eighth inning as Smith hit a two-run single with the bases loaded, and when the ball skirted under Stahel’s glove in left field, Thaiss came all the way around from first to score the tying run.
The Cavaliers sent 10 batters to the plate in a five-run 11th inning. With McCarthy on second base and one out, Doherty cranked a double to right-center field to break the 9-9 deadlock. The Cavaliers loaded the bases, and Thaiss lined a single into right field, scoring Doherty and Haseley and when the ball got past AJ Ramirez, Pinero came around to score and Thaiss to advanced to third base. Towns then hit a squibber in front of the mound, but Wheatley booted it for an error, with Thaiss coming home to score and make it 14-9.
USC got an unearned run in its half of the 11th when Reggie Southall scored from third on a passed ball.
All-NCAA Lake Elsinore Regional Team
C – Garrett Stubbs, USC (MOP)
1B – Steven Pallares, SDSU
2B – Alan Trejo, SDSU
SS – Reggie Southall, USC
3B – Kenny Towns, Virginia
OF – Andrew Calica, UCSB
OF – Pavin Smith, Virginia
OF – Adam Haseley, Virginia
P – Bubba Derby, SDSU
P – Brandon Waddell, Virginia
DH – Jeremy Martinez, USC
2015 NCAA Lake Elsinore Regional Schedule
Friday, May 29
Game 1 – No. 3 Virginia 6, No. 2 USC 1
Game 2 – No. 4 San Diego State 4, No. 1 UC Santa Barbara 3
Saturday, May 30
Game 3 – USC 12, UC Santa Barbara 3 (UCSB eliminated)
Game 4 – Virginia 3, San Diego State 1
Sunday, May 31
Game 5 – USC 12, San Diego State 11 (SDSU eliminated)
Game 6 – Virginia 14, USC 10 (11 innings – USC eliminated)