CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The rematch most envisioned when the NCAA Tournament’s field of 64 teams was announced earlier this week is just moments away. Fresh off of wins over St. John’s and VCU respectively, the No. 2 seed Ole Miss Rebels and No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers are about to take the field.
Today’s game will not be televised but can be heard on 93.7 FM and 105.5 FM. The Cavs-Rebels rematch will be played in front of a sellout crowd of 4,801.
OLE MISS (39-22 overall):
CF Tim Ferguson
LF Taylor Hashman
RF Matt Smith
DH Matt Snyder
3B Zach Miller
2B Alex Yarbrough
1B Mike Snyder
SS Kevin Mort
C Miles Hamblin
RHP Aaron Barrett (7-4, 4.16 ERA)
LF Phil Gosselin
2B Keith Werman
RF Dan Grovatt
3B Steven Proscia
CF Jarrett Parker
1B John Hicks
SS Tyler Cannon
C Franco Valdes
DH John Barr
LHP Danny Hultzen (9-1, 2.43 ERA)
WE BARELY KNEW YE: The first team sent packing from the Charlottesville Regional was Virginia Commonwealth University. The Rams fell to St. John’s 8-6 in the first game of Day 2. Red Storm starter Sean Hagan earned the win, allowing three runs in 5.0 innings. After VCU mounted a comeback and scored three runs in the top of the ninth, closer Daniel Burawa came into the game and got two outs to end the game and earn his 12th save of the season. VCU starter Blake Hauser, who allowed five runs in 2.0 innings, was saddled with the loss. Second baseman Matt Wessinger supplied the bulk of the power for St. John’s, hitting two home runs and finishing the game with four RBIs.
“If you throw a fastball, he’ll get you,” SJ head coach Ed Blankmeyer said following the game. “He has good bat speed and I like him in that two-spot. The kid can hit and he’s only getting better.”
Avoiding elimination, the Red Storm will play the loser of Ole Miss-Virginia at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday.
“We play tomorrow. I don’t care who it is because we’re alive and anything can happen in baseball. Virginia is a very good ballclub and we played Ole Miss last night but you have to play nine innings,” Blankmeyer said. “One thing about baseball is that anything can happen.”
Ole Miss 0, Virginia 1 (Bottom 1): Ole Miss got off to a rough start in the highly anticipated rematch. After going 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Aaron Barrett sailed his first pitch behind the head of leadoff hitter Phil Gosselin. The leadoff hitter would eventually leg out an infield single, advance to second on a wild pitch, third on a ground out and later score on a deep sacrifice fly by Dan Grovatt.
Ole Miss 0, Virginia 3 (Bottom 2): Allowing the leadoff batter to reach once again came back to hurt the Rebels. After Jarrett Parker walked to leadoff the frame, the center fielder advanced to third on a stolen base and ground out before scoring on a a single to shallow center field by Franco Valdes. After Valdes was granted second because of a balk, he would score in the next at-bat when John Barr hit a double down the right field line.
Ole Miss 3, Virginia 3 (Top 3): After Kevin Mort hit a double over Parker’s head in center and Miles Hamblin walked, Taylor Hashman hit a shot down the third base line just fair to score both base runners. Matt Smith tied the game in the next at-bat with a single to left-center that easily scored Hashman from second base.
Ole Miss 3, Virginia 7 (Bottom 3): Barrett continued to struggle with his command in the third. After a leadoff walk was erased by a pitched-out CS, Grovatt hit a triple into the right field line and later scored on a Parker double. Steven Proscia, who had reached base via a walk, would then score when Barrett couldn’t hold onto a throw from Alex Yarbrough at first base. The error allowed Tyler Cannon to reach base and advanced Parker to third base. An RBI-single by Franco in the very next at-bat scored Parker and advanced Cannon to third. It also ended Barrett’s night. Left-hander Matt Crouse entered the game with runners on the corners and immediately surrendered an RBI-single to Barr. Gosselin would fly out in the next at-bat to end the frame.
Ole Miss 3, Virginia 11 (Bottom 4): The ‘Hoos continued to put pressure on the Rebels in the bottom of the fourth as a Proscia double over the third base bag scored Werman from first. Two at-bats later, John Hicks hit a single and error on Tim Ferguson scored Proscia and Parker without a throw. Later, a single by Barr to left field would score Hicks to round out the inning’s scoring.
Ole Miss 6, Virginia 11 (Top 5): Smith’s single to shallow center scored Hamblin, who led off the inning with a HBP. After Matt Snyder walked, a double into the left field gap by Zach Miller scored both runners to bring the score to 11-6.
Ole Miss 6, Virginia 12 (Bottom 6): After not scoring for the first time in the fifth inning, the ‘Hoos got back to it in the sixth. An RBI-single to right field by Gosselin scored Cannon easily from third base with one out. A nice 4-6-3 double play started by Yarbrough got the Rebels out of the frame with minimal damage.
Ole Miss 7, Virginia 12 (Top 7): Hashman welcomed relief pitcher Branden Kline into the game by hitting a solo homer just to the left of the Blue Monster to lead off the seventh inning. Kline recovered to strikeout Smith, Snyder and Miller in order.
Ole Miss 7, Virginia 13 (Bottom 8 ): Barr’s single up the middle off the glove of diving Yarbrough scored Cannon from second base.
PITCHING WRAPUP: Barrett took the loss for Ole Miss to fall to 7-5 on the year. The senior right-hander allowed seven runs (three earned) in just 2.2 innings.
Hultzen, who UVA coach Brian O’Connor admitted did not have his best stuff, improved to 10-1 with the win, allowing six runs in 6.0 innings. Kline allowed one run in 3.0 innings to earn his third save of the year.
QUOTE OF THE GAME:
“Their whole lineup is hitting well. They have guys in the eight and nine holes hitting .350, .360.” — Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco on Virginia’s offense.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: After Hultzen began to show signs of fatigue, having thrown 108 pitches, Kline stepped in and was able to settle in and keep the Rebels’ offense at bay — after surrendering a homer to Hashman in his first at-bat, of course. The freshman right-hander allowed the one run on two hits and one walk in 3.0 innings while striking out four.
NUMBER OF THE GAME: Three — the number of errors that Ole Miss committed. Those errors resulted in four unearned runs being credited to Barrett.
WHAT’S NEXT: With the loss, Ole Miss will now play St. John’s in an elimination game at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday. The winner will stay alive to play Virginia at approximately 6 p.m., while the loser heads home. Ole Miss will start sophomore right-hander David Goforth, while the Red Storm will use Bruce Kern. The senior right-hander is 6-5 on the year with a 5.91 ERA. In 15 starts, Kern has tallied 70 strikeouts and 32 walks. Opponents are also hitting .271 off of him.
AROUND THE COUNTRY: For a complete roundup of how other regionals fared (including links to various Game Trackers), click HERE. (June 5, 2010)