In what has become the story of Virginia's regional so far, the Hoos received another terrific outing on the mound and pulled away from a pitchers duel late to claim the victory 3-1 over the San Diego State Aztecs. This time it was Brandon Waddell who, like Connor Jones, has saved his best for the late season push. Tonight he went 7.1 innings giving up only one run on four hits, two walks, and he struck out five. He was in command the entire game retiring the side in order in four of his seven innings pitched. On top of that Josh Sborz proved to be a shut down closer coming out of the pen retiring five of the six batters he faced, the only who reached did so on a throwing error by catcher Matt Thaiss after a strike out. Sborz was called into action in as pressure-packed a situation as there is for a closer. With the score knotted at one, Sborz entered the game with a runner at second and nobody out. That is about all the drama that ensued as Sborz calmly induced ground outs to shortstop by the next two batters to end the threat.
The game was scoreless until the fifth when San Diego State right fielder Spencer Thornton grounded a ball between first and second base. Robbie Coman made a nice back hand stop but the throw to Waddell got away and Thornton reached. Two batters later, Thornton scored when a rocket hit by Alan Trejo hit off Kenny Townes glove and into left field.
The Hoos would respond in the bottom half of the inning when Pavin Smith led off with a walk, however he was caught stealing on an apparent missed hit and run by batter Joe McCarthy. McCarthy would redeem himself though with a monster home run over the right field wall to tie the score at one. It was McCarthy's first home run of the season and only his third extra base hit on the year.
After Sborz got out the eighth inning jam, Virginia struck again with what would prove to be the game winner. McCarthy walked to lead off and was advanced to second on Justin Novak's sacrifice bunt. He then scored on Ernie Clement's RBI single to left-center. Clement however was gunned down trying to advance to third when the throw home sailed over the catcher's head. Fortunately for Virginia, the inning wouldn't stop there as the next batter Adam Hasely drilled a triple into right-center field and then scored when Daniel Pinero reached on an error by Trejo at third base.
At the plate, the Hoos were paced by McCarthy's two runs, capped off by his home run in the fifth. Thaiss continued to hit the ball well as he added two hits. For the game, Virginia scored its three runs on six hits.
Virginia awaits the winner of tomorrow's game between San Diego State and USC, who eliminated host UC Santa Barbara by the score of 12-3 victory earlier in the day. Thanks to another great starting pitching performance, Virginia is in ideal pitching position as they head into the Lake Elsinore Regional Finals. First pitch is at 10 p.m. Sunday night.