June 4, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Travis Watkins hit a three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a five-run inning and lift East Carolina to an 8-6 win over the Virginia baseball team Saturday in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field. With the defeat, Virginia (38-21) has to win three straight games to advance out of the regional. UVA plays William & Mary (30-30) at 11 a.m. Sunday in an elimination game. The winner plays East Carolina (36-21-1) at 3 p.m. in the regional championship game and needs to defeat the Pirates twice in order to advance.
If necessary, a second championship game will be played at 6 p.m. Monday.
Please note the game times have changed for both games Sunday from the original schedule because of the threat of inclement weather.
Virginia reliever Tommy Doyle (So., Vienna, Va.) took the loss and dropped to 2-6 after allowing five runs in the ninth inning. ECU reliever Joe Ingle (6-3) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win.
UVA starter Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) worked 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned), nine hits and a walk with three strikeouts. ECU starter Jimmy Boyd pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs, six hits and a walk with a pair of strikeouts.
Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) homered twice and drove in three runs for UVA, while Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) recorded three of UVA’s eight hits. Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) hit a third-inning double to extend his hit streak to a career-high 18 games. Charlie Yorgen had four hits to lead ECU’s 15-hit afternoon.
East Carolina loaded the bases with none out in the first inning, but Jones bounced back to limit the damage to one run. After Parker Lamm reached on a leadoff error, Yorgen bounced a double down the right-field line. Dwanya Williams-Sutton walked to load the bases, but Jones got Turner Brown to ground in to a run-scoring double play and Watkins to ground out to second.
UVA cracked the scoring column with two key two-out hits in the third inning. With runners on first and second, Thaiss lined an opposite-field double into the left-field corner. Smith followed two pitches later with a home run into the right-field bleachers, a two-run blast, for a 4-1 lead.
East Carolina responded with a run in its half of the third when Brown grounded out to score Lamm.
UVA scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. Smith hit a one-out solo home run to right — his eighth of the season and second of the game. It was his first career multiple-home run game and the first-ever two-homer game by a UVA player in the NCAA tournament. UVA added a run later in the inning on a Charlie Cody (So., Chesapeake, Va.) sacrifice fly.
ECU staged a five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off with the victory. Four straight Pirates recorded hits to start the inning, including an RBI double from Lamm followed by a run-scoring single from Yorgen. Brown sacrificed the runners over before Watkins launched a three-run blast over the left-center field wall to give the Pirates the come-from-behind win.
NCAA Charlottesville Regional Schedule
Game 1 — Virginia 17, William & Mary 4
Game 2 — East Carolina 9, Bryant 1
Game 3 — William & Mary 4, Bryant 3
Game 4 — East Carolina 8, Virginia 6
Game 5 — William & Mary (home team) vs. Virginia, 11 a.m.
Game 6 — Game 5 winner vs. East Carolina, 3 p.m.
Game 7 — Game 6 teams (if necessary), 6 p.m.
ESPN3 will stream the broadcasts online. The radio broadcasts for all postseason games will air on WINA 1070-AM and 98.9-FM and also will stream on VirginiaSports.com. A link to live statistics also can be found on VirginiaSports.com.