Cavaliers open with a win
Daniel Pinero has three hits as Virginia starts its stay in Omaha with a 5-3 win over Arkansas.
Another late-inning rally, complete with run-scoring two-out hits, stolen bases and camouflage uniforms, delivered Virginia’s baseball team another postseason win. The Cavaliers beat Arkansas, 5-3, in their College World Series opener in Omaha, plating the goahead run in the eighth inning.
Virginia is 6-0 in the NCAA tournament and next will play the winner of Saturday night’s Miami-Florida game on Monday at 8 p.m.
“Just really proud of our team for again continuing to find a way to win a ballgame,” Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor said. “That ballgame is kind of how we’ve played for the last couple of weeks.”
Virginia (40-22) got a boost from the heart of its order, led by Daniel Pinero, who was 3 for 4 with two runs and three steals. Continuing a trend of winning postseason games in dramatic fashion, the Cavaliers took the lead in the top of the eighth. Pinero singled to right and stole second base and then third. Virginia tied its season high with five steals.
With two outs, senior Kenny Towns, who has the most career postseason RBI (22) in school history, doubled to score Pinero and give the Cavaliers a 4-3 lead.
“We were just trying to put the ball in play, anyway anyhow, and it worked out for us,” Pinero said. “We shortened up our swings a little bit with two outs, made the defense work a little bit. We came through and did a good job.”
Added Towns: “I think I just feel comfortable in the postseason. . . . I think I’ve kind of gotten used to it and got comfortable in those situations, and you obviously want to rise up for your team.”
The Cavaliers added an insurance run in the ninth after an Ernie Clement single scored pinch runner Thomas Woodruff. Closer Josh Sborz surrendered just one hit and struck out five in three innings of relief.
Virginia jumped out to an early lead in the second inning on Joe McCarthy’s solo homer, but the Razorbacks (40-24) answered with two runs in the third.
With two outs in the fifth, Pinero doubled to left to bring Clement home. Matt Thaiss tacked on an RBI single that put Virginia back up, 3-2.
Andrew Benintendi tied it for Arkansas in the fifth with his nation-leading 20th home run.
JoeMcCarthy (31) is greeted after socking a solo home run in the second inning for Virginia, which scored two late runs to topple Arkansas.