It certainly wasn't pretty from the Bucknell point of view. Four errors lead directly to nine unearned Virginia runs. Luckily for UVa fans, that was all that was needed as Artie Lewicki dominated the #4 seed.
Lewicki settled down after a rough first inning that saw Bucknell threaten, but come up empty. In the end, he held the Bison scoreless over 7 innings, and held them to only 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. If UVa advances past this weekend, Lewicki will be a key factor in both the Super Regionals and possibly Omaha where a deep pitching staff is crucial.
Perhaps the best factor for UVa was the 7 run 6th inning they were able to put together. That inning put the game away and allowed Coach O'Connor to save his bullpen horses for the rest of the weekend. Connor Jones came in and worked the 8th to try and build the confidence he lost last weekend against Florida State. He didn't have the worst inning, but it certainly wasn't the best either allowing the lone Bucknell run on one hit and two walks. I am not sure if the college schedule is finally getting to the first year, but he needs to stop walking the world if he wants to continue pitching the rest of the season. Fellow first year Alec Bettinger took the ball in the 9th and promptly struck out the side to end the game.
That bullpen, ya'll. It is going to be the most important piece of a possible Championship run.
If UVa goes on to win it all and is able to do so convincingly with a powerful offense, most will likely look back at this Bucknell game as the break out. The boys put together 11 hits and scored 10 runs. Papi and La Prise paced the offense with 3 hits a piece, and Downes added two of his own.
Even though 9 of the runs came unearned, you still have to manufacture said runs. Some non-UVa fans will point to the errors and discount the offensive production, but that is severely misguided. Yes, two or three of those runs might not have scored if not for the 4 errors, however the lineup would have likely still put 6 or 7 across even without them.
The boys take on Arkansas tonight at 8 PM at the Dav for the right to play Sunday night. Arkansas relied heavily on it's pitching against Liberty and will most assuredly do so again tonight against the Cavaliers. We previewed the Razorbacks earlier this week and had a Q&A with our sister Arkansas site Arkansas Fight if you'd like to read up on the boys' opponent.