It was seemingly over before it even got started.
Everyone knew coming into the weekend UVa’s achilles heel was their pitching depth. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, the problem popped up immediately on Monday afternoon.
Coach O’Connor turned to Evan Sperling to begin the day. After struggling for much of the season, Evan did not fair much better against Dallas Baptist, lasting just four batters and leaving the bases loaded after walking two and hitting two batters.
It did not get better after that with Grant Donahue taking the mound. Donahue did record an out, but also allowed a single, a double, and two base on balls to give DBU the 5-1 lead.
Bennett Sousa took the mound in relief of Donahue and induced a double play to end the first. It went worse for Sousa in the 2nd. A leadoff single lead to a 2 run home run and a 7-1 DBU lead.
Chesdin Harrington would come on for Sousa after a walk and an E3. Harrington would get two straight ground balls, but an E5 would allow two more runs to score before UVa could get out of the inning, facing a 9-1 deficit.
Two more runs would be added via solo shot for the Patriots to solidify the victory.
To the Cavaliers’ credit, the fight never left. After a lightning delay, and facing an 11-3 deficit entering the 9th inning, the Hoos fought back valiantly. Seven straight Cavalier batters would reach base including an Andy Weber double, an Adam Haseley double, and a Pavin Smith 3 run home run to pull within 3, 11-8.
Though UVa would then get the tying run to the plate, DBU was able to get two straight outs to put the final nail in the coffin.
The loss obviously ends a disappointing 2017 season for the Cavaliers. Losses in a road regional are never where UVa expects a season to end.
However, this marks the first time since 2007-08 that UVa has failed to make the Super Regionals in two straight seasons. It is also the first time since 2005-06 that UVa failed to win at least two games in a regional in two straight seasons.
Losing Smith, Haseley, and Ernie Clement will likely set the offense back a bit in 2018. It will be interesting to see what the staff looks like. Undoubtedly, UVa will be an ACC contender.