Regardless of how Monday’s final game of the Columbia Regional turns out, the story will be the Virginia pitching staff. In four games, the Hoos got a combined 15.2 innings pitched from its top four starting pitchers (Andrew Abbott, Mike Vasil, Nate Savino, and Griff McGarry). The remainder of the staff has picked up the slack — and more — pitching 19.1 innings, and posting a 1.87 ERA and an absurd 33 strikeouts.
With all the success of the staff however, the Hoos are running out of arms. Abbott is still probably a day away, Blake Bales left Sunday’s game against South Carolina with an injured arm, and McGarry couldn’t continue the nightcap after leaving with a blister on his throwing hand. So with that as a backdrop, Virginia will turn to senior Devin Ortiz to start Monday’s Regional Final against the top-seeded Old Dominion Monarchs.
While Ortiz has spent most of the last two seasons as a designated hitter and first baseman, batting .284 with seven home runs this season, he’s no stranger to the mound. He was Virginia’s only two-way player in 2018 and 2019 while this season he has two appearances with 2.0 innings pitched. He was particularly solid in 2019 going 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in 35.1 innings pitched.
Virginia fans will have fond memories of a position player coming in to start a critical postseason game. In the 2015 College World Series, first-year Adam Haseley earned the start in Game 2 of the College World Series final against Vanderbilt. Haseley had only pitched 23.2 innings that year but went on to throw five scoreless innings against the Commodores leading Virginia to a 3-0 win and forcing the championship deciding Game 3.
The Monarchs’ pitching is in much better shape as they’ll counter with their ace Hunter Gregory. Gregory was named to the Conference USA First Team and enters the game with a record of 8-2, 3.16 ERA, and 86 strikeouts.
The two teams square off at 7 PM from Founders Park in the Columbia Regional. The game will be televised on ESPNU and the winner will advance to next week’s NCAA Super Regional facing the winner of the Ft. Worth Regional Final between Oregon State and Dallas Baptist.