CHARLOTTESVILLE — The top-ranked Virginia baseball team’s rampage through the NCAA tournament continued on Sunday night with much the same formula that launched it through the opening two games. First the Cavaliers accumulated early runs with two outs, then the starting pitching made that production stand for another convincing victory.
The casualty this time was East Carolina, which was all but helpless in a 13-1 loss that crowned the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed champions of the Charlottesville Region before 5,050 at sold-out Davenport Field. The Cavaliers won their third consecutive regional, scored 29 runs, including 25 with two outs, and permitted just three during a weekend of overpowering baseball.
Leadoff hitter Chris Taylor provided many of those highlights on Sunday by going 3 for 6 with four RBI and two runs, and John Barr, John Hicks and cleanup hitter Steven Proscia each added a pair of RBI. Senior right-hander Tyler Wilson, meantime, hardly needed that much support, yielding one run and seven hits with seven strikeouts and one walk over 61 / 3 innings.
Junior Danny Hultzen was named region most outstanding player. The 2008 All-Met Player of the Year from St. Albans went 7 for 11 with four RBI over the weekend as a designated hitter and allowed one run and three hits as the starting pitcher in Saturday’s 10-2 win against St. John’s.
“This a good accomplishment, and we’re very proud of it, but at the same time, we know our work isn’t even close to done yet,” said Hultzen, whose next start will come when Virginia plays in next weekend’s super regional, also in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers all but ensured that on Sunday with five runs in the second, sending 10 batters to the plate and chasing Pirates starter Zach Woods after just 12 / 3 innings. Proscia got it going with a single and wound up on second when Woods’s errant pickoff throw sailed to the wall behind the first base line.
Hultzen then flied to center, and Kenny Swab struck out. But just when it seemed the Pirates may have been in the clear, Woods walked David Coleman before permitting Jared King’s single to right field that allowed Proscia to score the first run. No. 9 hitter Keith Werman loaded the bases after getting hit, and Taylor made it 3-0 with a two-run single through the middle of the infield.
Woods didn’t last past that 35th pitch, marking the second straight time the starter-reliever failed to get out of the second inning. Shawn Armstrong came on in relief, but the sophomore right-hander fared little better against the Cavaliers’ robust lineup, which added the final runs on Barr’s two-run single for the team’s highest-scoring inning of this year’s tournament.
“For crying out loud, I think Virginia may have beaten the ’27 Yankees tonight,” Pirates Coach Billy Godwin said.
Virginia got four more in the fourth in an inning that began with King striking out and a walk to Werman. One batter later, Taylor singled but was out at second on Barr’s fielder’s choice that put runners on the corners.
Again with two outs, the Cavaliers pounced with a bases-clearing double from Hicks that ended Armstrong’s appearance. Seth Simmons took over from there, and Proscia greeted the senior right-hander with an RBI double for an 8-0 advantage.
“We have a lot of guys that are excited to get the ball,” said Wilson, who is part of a staff that struck out 42 and walked four this weekend. “Everybody did their job and did what was asked of them.”
l NORTH CAROLINA 9, JMU 3: Chaz Frank drove in three runs, and the Tar Heels pulled away after the game was tied at 3 in the fifth inning to eliminate the Dukes and win the Chapel Hill Regional.