Five years ago the UVa baseball program was staring down it's sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance. They had hosted regionals in three of those five years, but had never gotten over the hump and made it to a Super Regional. Oh, how times have changed.
With the win tonight, the Hoos clinched their fourth regional championship in the last five years and will host their third Super Regional in the last four years. It certainly is great to be on top.
Coming into the game tonight everyone was worried about the Cavaliers' offensive production. They had only registered four runs over the first two games and would have lost had it not been for dominant performances from the entire UVa pitching staff. That message must have gotten to the position players because the responded loudly against Elon. All but one starter in the lineup recorded a hit. That player was Joe McCarthy who scored two runs because of his two walks. Only two starters failed to score a run and only three failed to record an RBI.
Derek Fisher broke out of his funk and went two for five with three RBI and a run scored. For the Hoos to be successful next weekend and beyond Fisher is going to have to be a force in the middle of the lineup.
If it wasn't for Kyle Crockett, Nick Howard would have likely been named Regional MOP. Nick went four for five tonight and had two RBI and two runs scored. He did go 0/4 on Friday, but he was two for four with a run scored in last night's game against Elon. Quite a weekend from the young man. Hopefully next weekend he can return to his more familiar position of SS with Cogswell's return.
Today's pitching wasn't nearly as dominant, but it did the job. Whit Mayberry surrendered a two run home run in the first and a two out RBI double in the 3rd to give Elon the 3-0 lead. Fortunately, First Year David Rosenberger came on and was absolutely dominant holding Elon scoreless over the next five innings. Austin Young made a brief appearance in the ninth before giving way for Josh Sborz who struck out two and got the final three outs.
The win moved the Cavalier record to 50-10 overall. This is just the third time in program history and third time in four years that the team has reached the 50 win plateau. This year, UVa is one of only five teams to have reached the 50 win mark, and the second in the ACC (UNC has 54 wins).
The Championship obviously means that the Cavaliers will play host to a Super Regional next weekend. They will play the winner of the Starkville Regional. Mississippi St has to only win one more game, or Central Arkansas will have to defeat the Bulldogs twice to advance. It is unclear whether the series will be Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon, as that will be announced by ESPN sometime this week.
UPDATE: Central Arkansas was able to beat Mississippi St last night to force a decisive "winner take all" game this afternoon. The winner of this game advances to Charlottesville to take on the Cavaliers.
Until next weekend, enjoy this Regional victory, and remind all your VPISU "friends" that they didn't