- - Friday, June 3, 2011

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia pitcher Will Roberts not only overshadowed a big offensive day from teammate Danny Hultzen, he provided a tough act to follow. Roberts threw a complete game shutout and Hultzen drove in three runs to lead the top-seeded Cavaliers to a 6-0 victory against Navy in the NCAA regional opener.

The victory puts Virginia (50-9) in the winners’ bracket of the Charlottesville Regional, where Hultzen will get the start on the mound Saturday at 6 p.m. against the East Carolina-St. John’s winner.

Hultzen, a Bethesda product expected to be among the top pitchers taken in Monday’s Major League Baseball draft, went 3-for-4 as the designated hitter and provided more than enough run support on his own for Roberts (11-1). 

The Patriot League champion Midshipmen were no match for the junior righty, who scattered four hits and struck out 14 with no walks. After Navy (33-24-1) was able to get a runner on base in the second, third and fourth innings, Roberts retired the final 17 batters he faced.

“I don’t know if he got stronger as the game went along, but he was definitely consistent,” Navy third baseman Greg Dupell said of Roberts. Dupell had two of the four Navy hits, though one came on an infield popup lost in the sun by Cavaliers third baseman Steven Proscia.

Roberts, who pitched a perfect game against George Washington on March 29, has emerged as a dominant member of the Cavaliers’ staff after struggling for stretches in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“It’s always great to get runs early and I think Danny drove in the first three runs,” Roberts said. “That was big that we could get a lead and put them on their heels a little and be more aggressive.”

Hultzen got the scoring started with two on and two out in the bottom of the first, hitting a sharp ground ball that rolled through the visitors’ bullpen into the right field corner. The St. Albans graduate legged out a triple to drive in John Hicks and Proscia and give the Cavaliers an early 2-0 lead.

Hultzen added an RBI single in the third, part of another two-run frame for the Cavaliers, who opened up a 4-0 lead. John Barr singled to drive in a run in the fourth and catcher John Hicks added a solo home run to lead off the seventh and add to the Virginia lead.

“We don’t have a whole lot of left-handed hitters,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “So anytime we have the opportunity to get Danny in there, we need to get him in there. He’s just got the ability to spray the ball all over the ballpark.”

The Midshipmen will try to avoid elimination when they face the ECU-St. John’s loser Saturday at 1 p.m.

“Sometimes the pitcher is just going to get ya,” Navy coach Paul Kostacopoulos said. “That was today. Games like this are going to help our program down the road. It’s going to help us tomorrow. The bottom line is just that their guy pitched very well.”

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