OMAHA, Neb. — In Virginia’s opening game of the 2014 College World Series, Mike Papi blasted a walk-off double to score pinch runner Thomas Woodruff with the game-winning run and gave reliever Artie Lewicki the win.
Virginia (51-14) did nearly the same on Tuesday night to finish off a marathon 15-inning battle and knock off TCU, 3-2. Thomas Woodruff came on to pinch run and scored the game-winning run on a walk-off. This time it was a sacrifice fly from Daniel Pinero that ended the game, but again reliever Artie Lewicki was the beneficiary, picking up his eighth win of the season.
Both times the rallies started with Nate Irving. Irving blasted a double to left field, one hopping the fence, for the Cavaliers first hit in extra innings. And Woodruff came on to pinch run for him just like he did on Sunday.
Branden Cogswell, who had an impressive 3-for-5 game with two runs, two doubles and a walk, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Woodruff to third base. Pinero twice tried to lay down a squeeze bunt, but twice fouled it off. But with a 2-2 count, he stayed on a breaking ball and hit it deep enough to centerfield to allow Woodruff to score easily and give Virginia its second straight walk-off College World Series victory.
Here’s a slideshow of the walk-off hit (full game gallery below):
The Cavaliers opened up the scoring in the first inning. Cogswell led off with a double into the right field corner. He scored a play later when he tagged on a Pinero flyball to right field and the throw bounced away from the third baseman.
TCU responded quickly in the next half inning. Three straight singles from Garrett Crain, Jerrick Suiter and Dylan Fitzgerald tied the game. Fitzgerald’s slicing liner to left field nearly went for extra bases when Derek Fisher slipped down, but he quickly sprung to his feet and barehanded the ball on one hop to keep the runners from advancing.
The Horned Frogs got some help from Pinero with two outs to take the lead. A routine chopper bounced out of Pinero’s glove, allowing the go-ahead run to score, but TCU couldn’t further capitalize when it had Virginia starter Brandon Waddell on the ropes.
Both Waddell and TCU starter Brandon Finnegan struggled early, but got better and better as the game progressed.
The only other scoring came in the fifth inning when Cogswell again led off with a double. The Cavaliers got him over with a bunt and got him in with a grounder to second base, tying the score, 2-2.
Virginia had a golden opportunity to score in the eighth inning when Kenny Towns doubled with one out, but a crazy play ensued on a seemingly routine grounder to shortstop with two outs.
Keaton Jones‘ throw pulled Kevin Cron off the bag, but Cron wisely fired home, catching Towns in a rundown after he had took an aggressive run around third base. But after two exchanges, Derek Odell‘s throw bounced off Finnegan’s glove. Towns was destine for home plate, but out-of-nowhere came Cron, who tried to scoop the ball, bobbled it for an instant, making Towns think he had a shot at scoring. Instead, the Hulk-bodied Cron gloved the ball and gave Towns a face full of glove with an unintentional, but hard, tag.
The score remained 2-2 until the fateful walk-off in the 15th inning. Both starters were excellent, allowing one earned run apiece. Each team sent its closer in next for four frames. The fabulous sophomore duo of Nick Howard and Riley Ferrell battled back and forth, combining to pitch eight innings while allowing no runs on two hits and two walks. They also combined for 10 strikeouts.
TCU reliever Trey Teakell took his first loss of the season, falling to 6-1 on the season. His catcher, Kyle Bacak, led TCU with three hits.
The Horned Frogs have to turn around and face Ole Miss in an elimination game on Thursday night at 7 p.m. CST. Virginia is sitting in the cat bird’s seat, getting an extra day of rest for their pitching staff and awaiting the Ole Miss/TCU winner in the championship round of Bracket Two.
Here’s CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling‘s top shots from the 2014 College World Series Tuesday night marathon matchup at TD Ameritrade Park:
Be sure to check out our other coverage from Virginia’s walk-off victory: