After the debacle that was the Tuesday night game against South Carolina, nobody knew what the expect from the Cavaliers on Thursday in an elimination game with the Cal Bears. Were the 'Hoos going to rebound? Were they going to continue to play uncharacteristic defense? Was Cal's baseball team going to lose funding on Wed? ESPN mainly wanted to know the answer to the last question, but had a minor interest in the other two as well.
Fortunately for Cavalier fans, Tyler Wilson rose to the occassion like he has all year and pitched a gem. Wilson tied a career high pitching 7.2 innings while only giving up one run on five hits and striking out five. That type of mound presence was what the Cavaliers needed to give the offense and defense confidence in the other facets of the game.
The bullpen put on another excellent performance in the form of Cody Winiarski emerging to finish off the bears in the final 1.1 innings by only allowing a single hit and sewing up the second victory in the CWS for the 'Hoos.
At the plate things seemed to go better for the Cavaliers as well. Every player in the starting lineup had a hit including Kenny Swab and Keith Werman who both had multi hit performances. Swab's night included a low line drive that the CF misplayed and rolled all the way to the base of the wall. Swab raced around the bases to what many thought was an in the park home run. The scorer in Omaha felt differently giving Kenny a single with a three base error.
While Kenny's hit was huge and sparked a four run rally in the 6th, the offensive MVP goes to Keith Werman. Werman has been outstanding in Omaha thus far and continued it last night going 2-2 which also included an RBI and scored two runs.
With the victory, the 'Hoos assured themselves a rematch with South Carolina tonight at 7 EST on ESPN. I detailed that matchup a bit earlier in the week and included a Q&A with South Carolina's blog Garnett and Black Attack so there isn't a whole lot else to say.
Neither team has announced who will be on the mound tonight but most college baseball fans and USC fans believe it will be the Gamecock's ace Michael Roth. Roth was drafted in the 31st round this year by the Indians and has been impressive all year. He enters with a 13-3 record in 18 starts and a miniscule .97 ERA. 103 Ks to only 37 BBs is impressive as well. Same of you might have also seen the story where Roth's dad quit his job so that he could come to Omaha and see his son pitch. It's a touching story and I commend his dad but, I guess it will suck even harder when South Carolina is eliminated.
Like USC, the 'Hoos haven't announced their starting pitcher yet either. Kendall Rogers from Perfect Game tweeted that Oak told him it was going to be either Whit Mayberry or Hultzen. I can't see why Coach O'Connor would not pitch Danny at the start of the game unless something is wrong (I have not heard or seen anything to make me think there is). I think Oak might just be playing a big of a chess game. Either way, I expect Danny to be on the mound come tonight against the Gamecocks.
He has been tremendous all year long and the 'Hoos will need him to step up again for them to be successful. It wouldn't be a streakingthelawn article without some homerism so I expect Danny to be the shutdown starter that he can be and for UVa to force a decisive elimination game against USC for Saturday night.
Wear your orange. Wear your blue. PRAY it doesn't rain (seriously though, could there be anything worse than rain/tornadoes at this point). And of course, Go 'Hoos.