COLUMBIA, S.C. – Virginia (34-25) scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and senior Griff McGarry (Portola Valley, Calif.) delivered seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 win over Dallas Baptist (41-17) on Sunday (June 13) at Founders Park. The two teams will play a winner-take-all game on Monday (June 14) for a berth into the College World Series.

McGarry and Dallas Baptist’s Rhett Kouba each pitched shutout baseball into the eighth inning but it was the Cavaliers who broke through to even the best-of-three super regional series.  Junior Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.), the first batter of the bottom of the eighth inning, lined an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall to break the stalemate. The Cavaliers tacked on three more runs on the second home run in as many days by senior Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.).

The story of the game was McGarry who did not allow a hit until the first batter of the seventh inning. DBU’s Andrew Benefield doubled to center field on a ball that was in the glove of centerfielder Chris Newell (Newtown Square, Pa.) but was jarred loose when he crashed into the wall. Benefield was erased when catcher Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.) picked him off at second after an unsuccessful bunt attempt by Ryan Wrobleski. The play proved crucial as Wrobleski eventually singled to left field.

The two seventh inning hits, were the only two surrendered by McGarry who struck out a season-high ten batters. The quality start was the first by a Virginia pitcher in this year’s tournament and the shutout was the first by the Cavaliers in the postseason since game two of the 2015 College World Series Final.

McGarry worked himself out of jams in the second and third innings, stranding a combined three runners in scoring position. Beginning with the final two outs of the third, the righthander retired the next 11 batters in a row. In two NCAA tournament starts, McGarry has fanned 18 batters in 10.1 innings pitched.

In the top of the eighth, McGarry was forced to leave with a cut on his pitching hand and Brandon Neeck (Chappaqua, N.Y.) recorded the final two outs of the frame. Neeck started the ninth and gave way to Kyle Whitten (Manassas, Va.) who struck out two and induced the game-ending fly out with the bases loaded to seal the victory.

Kouba lasted one more out than McGarry and was charged with two of the four runs in the eighth. The righty struck out five batters and scattered six Virginia hits on the day.

Game time on Monday (June 13) is set for 1 p.m. at Founders Park in Columbia, S.C. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and can be heard in Charlottesville on WINA (1070 AM/98.9 FM) and anywhere on WINA.com.

Additional Notes

  • As part of McGarry’s 10-strikeout day, he fanned four batters in the second inning. Wrobleski struck out on a wild pitch and advanced to second on a throwing error.
  • The win for McGarry was his first of the season and first since Feb. 28, 2020.
  • Virginia improves to 5-0 in elimination games in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
  • The Cavaliers will be the home team in Monday’s super regional finale.
  • Tappen has hit safely in 15-straight games, the longest streak of any Cavalier this season. His home run in the eighth was his sixth of the year. All six long balls have come in his last 11 games played, three in the NCAA Tournament.