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Texas knocks Virginia out of College World Series with late surge

A fun postseason ride comes to an end.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Texas v Virginia Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia’s dream postseason came to an end early in the morning on Friday as the No. 2 Texas Longhorns got four runs over the final two innings to bust open a 2-2 game and knock the Cavaliers out of the College World Series. A three-and-a-half hour weather delay pushed the start time back to 9:46pm CT, causing the two squads to play late into the night.

The Hoos got an incredible start from Mike Vasil, but — much like the Mississippi State game — Virginia squandered opportunities to score and left outs on the table that came back to bite them.

For a team that was 4-11 to start ACC play, this trip to Omaha and the College World Series was a fun ride. Texas will now face Mississippi State for a spot in the final series.

First year Kyle Teel was electric at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a walk. Second year Chris Newell hit a two-run shot in the fifth that accounted for all of Virginia’s run production, and third year Nic Kent was absolutely fantastic defensively with three highlight-reel worthy plays.

Virginia almost took a 1-0 lead in the first with a deep ball by leadoff batter Zack Gelof, but the bullpen cutout gave Texas right fielder Douglas Hodo III just enough space to make a grab. Hodo III gave the Longhorns the lead in the next inning, lacing a single that scored Ivan Melendez (who led off the inning with a double). A groundout to Vasil and a called strike three ended the threat, stranding two Texas runners on base.

Virginia led off the bottom of the second with a single from Nic Kent, and he got to second thanks to a steal attempt mixed with a pitch in the dirt. Virginia couldn’t make anything of it, however, as Tappen, Gelof, and Michaels were retired in order.

Kent followed up his hit with a gorgeous snag on the run in the shallow outfield, denying Cam Williams a hit after a nine-pitch at bat. Vasil would face just three batters in the inning, keeping the Longhorns off of the base paths.

Virginia got its lead-off runners on base in both the third and fourth innings, but were unable to bring them home. Chris Newell worked a walk to lead off the bottom of the third, but he was picked off attempting to steal second. Teel opened the fourth with a single, but Ortiz popped up a bunt, Kent popped out to right, and Tappen struck out.

Texas added an unearned run in the fifth after a pitch in the dirt got away from Logan Michaels. An error by Teel in right let Eric Kennedy extend a single into a double, and he was the beneficiary of the wild pitch from third after getting moved over thanks to a single from Silas Ardoin.

With one swing of the bat in the bottom half of the fifth, Newell made it a tie game. Michaels worked a walk with one out, and the second year center fielder ripped a no-doubter to the Texas bullpen to knot things up at 2-2.

Virginia came close to taking the lead in the sixth after Teel led off with a double, but a lucky play from Hansen led to Teel getting out at third for the second out of the inning. Hansen left the game in the sixth with Tappen coming up to bat, finishing his night with 89 pitches in 5.2 innings of work. He had six strikeouts and two walks and gave up five hits and two runs. Cole Quintanilla was able to get Tappen to groundout to end the inning, stranding another runner.

Vasil cruised in the seventh, passing through 100 pitches and sitting down the side in order. Virginia failed to get anything going in the bottom half of the inning, despite a single by Michaels. The catcher was caught stealing for the second out, a play that was upheld upon review for obstruction.

Matt Wyatt entered in the eighth for the Hoos, ending Vasil’s night with 105 pitches, eight strikeouts, one walk, four hits, and one earned run. The Longhorns retook the lead in the eighth after Antico singled, stole second, and came home on a single from Melendez. Texas threatened to add more, but a beautiful play from Kent defensively ended the inning with a toss to third.

The Cavaliers squandered a huge opportunity with two-on and one out in the bottom of the eighth as pinch-hitter Brendan Rivoli grounded into a double play to end the inning. It was the fifth time in eight innings that the Hoos got the lead runner on.

Texas extended their lead in the top of the ninth, putting the game out of reach with three runs after loading the bases with no outs. Messinger entered the game for Wyatt after just one batter, and after getting two outs with no damage, Zubia laced a bases-clearing double.

Virginia would go down in order in the bottom of the ninth, bringing their season to a close. The team stayed on the field for several minutes after the conclusion of the game, sharing hugs and soaking up the last few moments at the College World Series in 2021.