- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Cardiac Cavaliers are heading back to the College World Series.

Ernie Clement lined a two-run single to left to cap a three-run ninth inning for Virginia and the Cavaliers stunned Maryland 5-4 on Saturday, sweeping their super regional in two games to earn their fourth berth in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, and second in as many years.

“This is the greatest feeling ever,” the Cavaliers’ No. 9 hitter said, a feeling the 160-pound second baseman expressed even while sporting a huge welt on his forehead that he got when he wound up at the bottom of the team’s dogpile.

Clement’s hit came after reliever Robert Galligan, brilliant for 7 1-3 innings, allowed two walks and a single in the ninth, loading the bases with none out. Maryland coach John Szefc then turned to closer Kevin Mooney, who walked Kevin Doherty on five pitches to force in one run before Clement’s line drive hit.

“This game is a reflection of our season,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “We hung in there, guys didn’t quit and we found a way.”

Virginia (39-22) will return to Omaha, where it played in the final series last year before losing to Vanderbilt in three games.

“I think I’m going to buy a lottery ticket after this,” catcher Matt Thaiss said.

The Terrapins (42-24) saw their winningest season come to a crushing end. On Friday, they got brilliant pitching from Mike Shawaryn for 7 1-3 innings and led until Virginia scored five times in the eighth inning for a 5-3 victory, with Mooney, the program’s career saves leader, again failing to deliver in the clutch.

This time, Alec Bettinger (5-5) earned the victory with a perfect ninth in relief of Brandon Waddell, who labored through the first eight innings.

“I just couldn’t come to take the ball out of the kid’s hand,” O’Connor said of Waddell, who allowed 10 hits and all four runs.

Szefc couldn’t take it from Galligan, either, surmising that that was what the Cavaliers wanted because he’d handcuffed them badly.

The left-hander had allowed just three hits when he went out to begin the ninth, and the Cavaliers had not managed to get more than one baserunner against him in any inning until he walked Pavin Smith, allowed a single by Robbie Coman and walked Joe McCarthy, loading the bases with no one out.

Galligan (4-5) had come on came on after starter Ryan Selmer allowed four straight singles and two runs in the first.

“I was just trying to battle and compete as hard as I can, get ‘em out as quick as I can,” the junior said, adding that he told Szefc he wanted to finish the game. “I just really didn’t know when I was going to come out. I was just trying to last as long as I could to give my team a chance to win.”

The Terrapins, who had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, added runs in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings, the last coming on a triple by Anthony Papio to make it 4-2 in the eighth.

Maryland tied it at 2-2 in the fourth when Papio led off with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on LaMonte Wade’s popped up bunt that fell just beyond a diving Waddell’s reach.

They used small ball again in the fifth to go ahead. Kevin Smith led off with a single, Patrick Hisle sacrificed and Kevin Martir singled him home.

Virginia went ahead in the bottom of the first, and knocked out starter Selmer in the process. Daniel Pinero singled and scored on Thaiss‘ double. Kenny Towns’ single scored Thaiss and when Smith singled, the Terps pulled Selmer and brought in Galligan, who had made three starts this season.

The Terps took a 1-0 lead in the first as Wade walked, was sacrificed to second, took third on a grounder and scored on Nick Cieri’s single.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide