Nobody expected the road the a national title to be easy, even though UVa had seemingly made it look like that so far.
On Monday, Brandon Waddell and Josh Sborz pitched masterfully and were able to hold the Florida offense scoreless and just 2 hits.
On Friday, the UVa staff wasn't able to repeat the performance, and we all saw the offense that Miami had seen in their games against the Gators.
It started off well with Adam Haseley starting off the game with a single up the middle. A Daniel Pinero sac bunt and a Matt Thaiss single gave the Hoos a 1-0 lead even before Florida had a chance to pick their bats up. Sadly, that would be all the Hoos would muster until the game was out of reach.
Much was made about Nathan Kirby starting on the mound for UVa given what he has had to go through over the past two months. The first two innings were what we had come to expect from Kirby. However, the Florida offense woke up in the 3rd scoring 4 runs on 5 hits, forcing Kirby from the game with 2 outs in the inning.
Alec Bettinger would relieve Kirby and do exactly what the team needed for two full innings. In the 6th though, the Gator offense would come back to life and score 5 runs on a hit by pitch, two walks, and four hits to blow the game open, 9-1.
The Hoos would fight back, but come up short, losing 10-5. Adam Haseley and Danny Pinero lead the offense with two hits while Kenny Towns and Matt Thaiss both added 2 RBI of their own. Both now have 63 RBI on the season, tying them for 6th most in a single season for a UVa player, both one behind Phil Gosselin's 64 in 2009.
Although the Cavaliers lost, hope should not be anywhere close to lost. Coach O'Connor was playing with his pitching, and hoping for a winner from Nathan Kirby. Unfortunately, it did not work perfectly, but he now has a fresh Connor Jones, Brandon Waddell, and Josh Sborz for a winner take all game tomorrow against Florida.
That game is scheduled for 3 PM EST, but if Vanderbilt wins tonight, I would guess UVa and Florida would be moved to primetime at 8 PM.