Virginia Edges Army, 2-1, At Charlottesville Regional

Jacob Page

Jacob Page

May 31, 2013

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NCAA Regional Central

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Brandon Waddell struck out eight batters over seven strong innings, and Joe McCarthy went 3-for-3 with an RBI to help top-seeded Virginia past fourth-seeded Army, 2-1, in the opening round of the NCAA Charlottesville Regional in front of 3,826 spectators Friday afternoon at Davenport Field.

Kenny Towns and Nate Irving registered two hits apiece for the Cavaliers (48-10), who advance to play the winner of the game between second-seeded UNC Wilmington and third-seeded Elon on Saturday at 6 p.m. Army (29-22) will play the loser of the UNCW-Elon contest in an elimination game Saturday at 1 p.m.

Waddell (6-2) allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter en route to the victory. Kyle Crockett, who struck out the side in the ninth inning, worked the final two frames to earn his 11th save of the season.

Army starter Chris Rowley (9-4) went toe-to-toe with Waddell throughout, pitching seven solid innings. The Black Knights' ace permitted just two runs on eight hits, while striking out three.

"It obviously was a hard fought game," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "Congratulate Virginia, they were exactly what we thought they were going to be, a solid team that didn't beat themselves. They throw strikes, move the baseball across the infield, put balls in play. We came down here to compete, came down here to win and play well, and we fell shy of that goal today. Our aspirations are not moral victories, our aspirations are not to be close, we came here expecting to win and we didn't do that today. Virginia had something to do with that, they played the game really well and there's a reason they are successful as they are. We compliment them on that and hopefully we'll see them again."

After four scoreless innings, Army grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth on Grant Van Orden's suicide squeeze bunt. Jacob Page singled up the middle leading off the frame, advanced to second base on Andrew Johnson's sacrifice bunt, took third on Michael Sands' base hit to center field and scampered home when Van Orden bunted back to the pitcher.

Virginia responded in the bottom of the fifth inning, plating two runs on four hits to take a 2-1 advantage. Towns began the uprising with a double to left center field, and Irving singled to center to put runners on the corners. Mike Papi followed with an RBI single to right field, driving in Towns with the game-tying run. After Jared King walked to load the bases, McCarthy delivered an RBI single to make it 2-1. Rowley was able to minimize the damage by striking out Brandon Downs and Derek Fisher, and getting Reed Gragnani to fly out to center field.

Virginia appeared poised to add to its lead in the sixth inning after Towns lined a leadoff triple down the right field line. He was erased at home plate on a failed squeeze attempt, however, and the score remained 2-1.

Army's best chance to tie the score came in the top of the eighth when Van Orden and Harold Earls hit singles against Crockett. The Black Knights' rally was snuffed out when Alex Jensen grounded out to third base. Crockett then struck out Army's 4-5-6 hitters in the top of the ninth to finish off the game.

Game Notes: Army falls to 1-5-1 all-time versus Virginia ... the Black Knights slip to 3-11 all-time in NCAA Regional games, including 0-2 against Virginia ... the one-run setback marked Army's fifth one-run loss at the NCAA Regionals ... the Black Knights' season-best eight-game win streak was snapped ... Chris Rowley moves into first place on Army's single-season innings pitched list (97.2) ... Patrick Mescher's second-inning single extended his hitting streak to eight straight games.

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