Everyone saw this coming right? UVa goes seven innings without scoring a run, starting pitcher Joel Effertz doesn't make it out of the third inning, and the defense is booting the ball around the diamond. Sounds like a recipe for a victory to me.
I predicted in the preview that UVa would win and they would score six runs. I also predicted they would handle W&M's starting pitcher Matt Davenport and win fairly easily. Hey, nobody is perfect! Most important thing is the Cavaliers got the victory and new faces have begun to assert themselves.
The story in the first half of the game would have to be William and Mary. The Tribe scored four runs in the first six innings on clutch hits and insane amount of doubles (I swear, they had a double an inning for a while). Couple their hits with some stellar pitching from Davenport (It really is a shame a guy named Davenport can't even win at UVa) and the Tribe jumped out to a 4-0 lead and looked like they were going to win going away.
Things began to change once the eigth inning rolled around. The Cavaliers took advantage of the walks the Tribe issued all game and loaded the bases for
Albert Pujols Jared King. King laced a bases clearing double to cut the lead to a single run. After two more outs were recorded, first year Catcher Nate Irving got his first taste of clutch by delivering a game tying single to score King.
After two innings of nobody scoring and Cavalier closer Justin Thompson pitching himself in and out of jams, the Tribe struck in the 11th. Thompson found himself in another jam in the 11th but got the groundball he needed with the bases loaded. Unfortunately, after getting the lead runner at the plate, Nate Irving's wild throw allowed the go ahead run to score to give W&M the lead.
As most of you know, there is no quit in the UVa baseball program. We have all seen our fair share of comebacks whether they be in the 9th, 10th, or 11th innings. Whether they be in a Sunday game in Atlanta against Georgia Tech or in a deciding game against UC Irvine. Yesterday was no different. Chris Taylor began the bottom half of the 11th with a single and Mitchell Shifflett followed it up with a walk. After a Reed Gragnani sacrifice bunt, first year Mike Papi put himself in UVa lore with a single to right field easily scoring Taylor and allowing the blazing fast Shifflett to score from second to win the game.
With the game recap out of the way, I would like to call to the attention of the W&M coaching staff the use of the intentional walk. Yes, I understand that Jared King is hitting better than Roy Hobbs right now but setting up the double play in such a key situation is much more important. If they walk Papi to load the bases and throw King enough junk to where he either rolls over something, or at worst, walk him to only tie the game. W&M could have been looking at a victory yesterday and should probably ask their coach why they didn't play smart baseball.
The Hoos are off til Friday when they host Monmouth for the weekend. As always, I will be providing funny anecdotes and tracking the boys via twitter (@STLUVaBaseball).