OMAHA, Neb. — Virginia endured the weather and the Ole Miss Rebels to lock itself into its first ever College World Series championship. Robbie Coman, an unlikely hero in the No. 9 spot in the lineup, led the Cavaliers back from an early deficit to win the conclusion of a rain suspended game, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon to clinch the spot.
The game began on Friday night and provided some weird action. In the first inning, Mike Papi was called out on an attempted stolen base, even though Ole Miss second baseman Preston Overbey never caught the ball.
After the out was called, Overbey pulled the ball from under Papi and flipped it to the mound. All the players cleared the field, changing sides, but the umpires conferred and changed the call, bringing the Ole Miss defense back out from the dugout.
In its second at bat, Virginia put runners on first and second base when lightning in the area caused a delay. The game was halted and then had to be suspended when the lightning was followed by a torrential downpour.
Reliever Scott Weathersby took over on the mound for the Rebels and did a great job in his only inning of work. After a sacrifice bunt, Weathersby struck out a batter and got a groundout to end the threat.
Ole Miss carried the momentum into its at bat, scoring the first run of the game on a first and third double steal. Virginia catcher Robbie Coman fired to second base to nail J.B. Woodman, but Virginia essentially conceded the run. Branden Cogswell never even looked home after applying the tag.
The Rebels let a golden opportunity slip away in their next at bat after having two men in scoring position with one out and then the bases loaded with two outs.
But Josh Sborz, who started on Friday and continued on Saturday despite the rain suspension, got a strikeout and Will Allen‘s line drive with the bases loaded landed right in third baseman Kenny Towns‘ glove.
The big out seemed to shift the momentum of the entire game. Virginia loaded the bases with a single and two walks against Ole Miss ace Chris Ellis, who entered to start the third inning. Coman helped unload them with a two-run single to right-centerfield. On the hit, John La Prise advanced to third. He scored two pitches later on Branden Cogswell‘s squeeze bunt that put Virginia up 3-0.
With the lead, Sborz was a different pitcher. He pitched with more confidence and put up back-to-back scoreless frames before giving way to the dynamic combination of Artie Lewicki and Nick Howard, The Cavaliers’ backend combination in the College World Series continued their dominance with four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and a walk.
The Hoos added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Joe McCarthy doubled home Daniel Pinero to make it 4-1. Not that it mattered with Lewicki and Howard on the mound.
In Omaha, Lewicki and Howard have pitched a combined 12 innings of goose eggs. They have given up three hits and two walks while striking out 12.
Coman and Brandon Downes both finished with multi-hit efforts for Virginia.
The Cavaliers advance to the championship series, starting Monday night, where they await the Texas/Vanderbilt winner.
Ole Miss‘s season is over. The Rebels finish 48-21 on the year as the Oxford Regional and Lafayette Super Regional champions. In one of the most successful seasons in program history, Ole Miss returned to the College World Series for the first time since 1972.
Here’s CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling‘s top shots from the 2014 College World Series Friday night/Saurday afternoon matchup at TD Ameritrade Park: