CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The No. 2 overall pick in this week’s major league draft looked nothing like a two-time ACC pitcher of the year.
It didn’t matter because Danny Hultzen got plenty of help from his Virginia teammates.
Hultzen and Cody Winiarski combined on a four-hitter and Jared King hit a three-run home run to break open a close game Saturday, helping the top-ranked Cavaliers stretch their winning streak to eight games with a 6-0 victory against UC Irvine in the opener at the Charlottesville Super Regional.
“It was just one of those days,” Hultzen (12-3) said after an outing interrupted by a lightning delay of 1 hour, 23 minutes. “I guess I didn’t have it, but it’s my job to just give the team a chance to win. It’s not my job necessarily to throw a shutout or throw a no-hitter.”
The left-hander pitched 5 1-3 innings, allowing three hits with three strikeouts and three walks. He wasn’t sharp early in his first game since the Seattle Mariners selected him Monday, but benefited from two double plays in the first three innings.
“That was awesome,” he said. “Going out there not feeling great and not having the best stuff, getting those double plays, getting two outs on one pitch, was crucial.”
The first came on a grounder to third with runners on second and third in the first. Steven Proscia fielded the ball moving to his left, but D.J. Crumlich froze at third as Proscia fired to first. First baseman King then caught Sean Madigan too far off second, prompting Crumlich to break for home, but second baseman Keith Werman’s throw beat him to the plate.
Anteaters coach Mike Gillespie said he was to blame for the confusion, but said the Cavaliers were “a really, really good team playing really, really well” and “as advertised.”
“I think our best chance was if lightning had blown up the stadium,” he said.
Hultzen also got a 4-6-3 double play with two runners on in the third. He left after Brian Hernandez reached on a wild pitch while striking out and Drew Hillman singled in the sixth.
Winiarski got Jordan Leyland to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Winiarski went the final 3 2-3, allowing one hit while walking two and striking out two.
Leading 2-0, King gave the Cavaliers plenty of breathing room in the sixth. After Kenny Swab and David Coleman singled with one out, he homered to left field off Anteaters starter Matt Summers (11-3). It was just King’s second home run, and the second against Summers this year.
“I was just the guy today,” said King, who had three hits and scored twice.
Summers allowed five runs and had his nine-game winning streak snapped.
He also returned after the long delay, already trailing 2-0, and sailed into the sixth before allowing consecutive one-out singles and then King’s second home run of the season.
“I was hoping it would hook foul,” he said of King’s shot, which easily cleared the wall. “It was a changeup and he must have been sitting (on) it because he was right on it.”
Virginia, which had Chris Taylor thrown out at home when he tried to score on an infield grounder in the first, scored twice in the third on RBI singles by John Hicks and Hultzen.
Swab drove in the final run with a single to score Hicks in the seventh. Hicks reached when center fielder Christian Ramirez dropped what appeared to be his routine fly ball with one out.
In four NCAA tournament games, Virginia has outscored its opponents 35-3.