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Virginia Baseball Smokes Duke in Game Three, Advances to College World Series

Wahoos topple the Blue Devils 12-2 and reach the CWS for the second time in three years.

North Carolina v Virginia Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers are heading to Omaha! With a 12-2 win in game three of the Super Regionals against the Duke Blue Devils, Brian O’Connor’s program is heading back to the College World Series for the sixth time in program history and the second time in the last three years.

Starting pitcher Brian Edgington put in a heroic performance with nine innings pitched, only two earned runs, nine hits allowed, and 11 strikeouts.

After scoring 14 runs on Saturday in game two, the ‘Hoos picked up right where they left off in the bottom of the first inning in today’s rubber match. Griff O’Ferrall led off with a double and Ethan O’Donnell followed that up with a walk. But Duke starter Ryan Higgins was able to get Jake Gelof, Kyle Teel, and Ethan Anderson all to fly out and leave the Cavaliers with nothing in the first.

However, the second would be a different story. Casey Saucke again led off with a double which was followed by a walk to Anthony Stephan. Henry Godbout grounded out, but the runners were able to move to second and third. Harrison Didawick then grounded a ball up the middle for a single which scored Saucke. O’Ferrall got his second hit of the day, a shot through the six hole that scored Stephan. O’Donnell got Virginia’s third single in a row as Didawick scored. A walk to Gelof loaded the bases bringing up Teel who singled to right scoring O’Ferrall and O’Donnell and staking the Hoos to a 5-0 lead.

Edgington then got a little help to produce a shut-down inning. After picking up two quick outs, Edgington gave up a double to Alex Mooney and a walk to Andrew Fishcher. However Teel was able to catch Fishcer too far off first base with a quick snap throw to get the third out and get out of the inning unscathed.

Virginia threatened again in the bottom of the fifth when Anderson and Saucke drew one-out walks. After a pitching change, Stephan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, Duke’s bullpen was able to get Godbout to strike out and get Colin Tuft to fly out to right and end the threat.

Duke got on the board in the top of the sixth when Fischer knocked a one-out single and Jay Beshears then hit a ball that looked like an easy fly ball out. Yet the ball kept carrying, eventually just clearing the fence past right fielder Colin Tuft for a home run that cut the Virginia lead to 5-2.

Edgington kept the Blue Devils at bay after that, forcing a fly out and then striking Giovanni DiGiacomo out swinging to end the inning.

As they’ve been prone to this series, Virginia came firing back in the bottom of the inning. O’Ferrall got things going again with a single to left field before Ethan O’Donnell laid down a bunt and made it safely to first while the Duke pitcher fumbled the ball. And, per usual, Jake Gelof came to the plate and knocked a run in with a single to center field to make the score 6-2.

The inning was far from over, though, with O’Donnell’s advance to third on the Gelof single meaning that he could come home when Kyle Teel sent a grounder to Duke’s third baseman. An odd bounce meant that, while Gelof was out at second, Teel reached first on a fielder’s choice. While that was initially insignificant relative to the run the catcher batted in to bump UVA’s advantage back out to five, his presence on first became mighty meaningful when Ethan Anderson knocked the ball into the left field bleachers.

Anderson’s second homer in as many days put the Wahoos up 9-2 through six innings with Saucke and Godbout both grounding out to end the frame.

In the top of the seventh, Edgington and the Virginia defense prevented a pair of Duke singles from having any impact. After two pop flies, Kyle Teel made an impressive play near the backstop to catch a foul ball and retire the side.

The UVA offense added a few insurance runs before the final two innings. Tuft led off with a single and Ethan Anderson followed an O’Ferrall ground out with a double down the left field line to bring Tuft home. Gelof grounded out, but he advanced Anderson to third base. Teel kept things rolling with a single to left to make the score 11-2. Anderson and Saucke both got on base, but a Saucke strike out sent the game to the eighth.

The iron man Edgington came out of the dugout for the eighth time and made short work of the Blue Devils with a double play cancelling out the lead off single and another ground out leaving Duke with a mere three outs to overcome at least a nine run deficit.

Stephan came to the plate swinging and walloped the ball deep into the right field stands, pushing the Wahoo lead to 10. That would be the only run scored in the inning O’Ferral and O’Donnell left on base after Gelof popped up for the third out.

O’Connor left Edgington in for the final inning of the game and, as it did all day long, his trust in his starter paid off. With nobody in the bullpen, Edgington forced a dribbling ground out that Teel grabbed with one hand and flung to first. The starting pitcher then registered his season-high 11th strikeout before closing the game and the Super Regional with a pop fly to left field.

Despite the game one loss, the Wahoos came firing back in a major way yesterday and today with a pair of 10 run victories. The performance from Edgington today was particularly impressive and it sets UVA up incredibly well for the College World Series should he be capable of putting together another start or two that is at all similar to today’s.

Virginia now heads to Omaha to play #2 seed Florida in the first game of the CWS on Friday.