In a day that no Cavalier fan ever wants to think about again the Cavalier baseball team was able to pull out a minor miracle and give the UVa faithful something to smile about.
In the end it took 11 innings, seven Clemson pitchers, and 12 UVa hits but the Cavaliers outlasted the Tigers in extra innings after a ninth inning comeback. Heading into the ninth the Hoos trailed 5-2 and were facing Clemson's dominant closer, Matt Campbell. Brandon Downes lead off the inning and doubled off the wall in left field to start the rally. First year Joe McCarthy followed it up with a single of his own to move Downes to third. McCarthy later moved to second as Kenny Towns struck out for the Hoos first out of the inning. Nick Howard followed Towns with a fielders choice to score Downes, but took UVa's second out. Reed "The Hit Doctor" Gragnani came up next with a double off the RF wall to score McCarthy and cut the Tiger lead to one. That's when UVa's MVP, Mike Papi, pinch hit for Nate Irving and bounced a single up the middle scoring Gragnani and tying the game.
After Josh Sborz and (mainly) Kyle Crockett held Clemson scoreless in the 9th and 10th innings, Papi came up Millhouse again with a solo-go-ahead Home Run in the 11th. That was all the Hoos were going to need as Crockett came on again in the bottom half, and although he gave up a one out single (his lone hit surrendered in 2.2 IP), the infield rolled a double play ball off the next batter and ended the game.
Papi was the big time MVP on the night, but it truly was a team effort to win this game. Six of the ten Cavaliers that had an AB scored a run and all but one position player registered a hit. Five pitchers combined for the win including three first years.
I was most impressed with first years Nathan Kirby and Brandon Waddell. Waddell gutted out 6.1 innings and got hit around a bit but showed great resiliency by limiting Clemson to only four earned runs. Kirby impressed me as well during his lone inning in the 8th. The first year lefthander registered 96 on the gun and could be a big factor out of the bullpen for the team the rest of the year.
The Hoos look to take the series tonight at 6:30. 5th year lefty Scott Silverstein is on the mound and like last night, I'll be livetweting from Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The game is also on ESPN3, so if you're not out drowning your college basketball sorrows, fire up the computer and watch the Hoos!