Cava­liers open with a win

Daniel Pinero has three hits as Vir­ginia starts its stay in Omaha with a 5-3 win over Arkansas.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY IS­ABELLE KHURSHUDYAN is­abelle.khurshudyan@wash­post.com

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.

STEVEN BRANSCOMBE/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

JoeMcCarthy (31) is greeted af­ter sock­ing a solo home run in the sec­ond in­ning for Vir­ginia, which scored two late runs to top­ple Arkansas.

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