A 4-1 Cavaliers’ victory Sunday night, before 1,500 at Anteater Ballpark, proved to be last call this season for UCI and its fans, who have come to expect extended postseason performance.
And this one was no fluke.
Virginia (46-12-1), the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament champion, which extended its winning streak to eight, merely pitched better, played better defense and hit better than the rest of a field that comprised what was generally considered to be the toughest of the 16 NCAA Regionals.
“This was a very, very good college baseball game,” UCI Coach Mike Gillespie said of the finale. “There was very little margin for error and I don’t remember Virginia making any.”
The team known colloquially as the Wahoos, left West Coast fans wondering “Who are those guys?” after displaying a level of play that no team could match over the weekend.
“It’s not going to get any tougher than this,” Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor said, when asked about the potential Super Regional matchup against either Mississippi or Western Kentucky. “We beat the No. 1 team in America two times and the greatest pitcher, from what I read all the time, in college history. I can tell you that [Strasburg, who struck out 15 in a 5-1 opening-game loss to the Cavs, his only loss all season] is the best I’ve seen, in my playing days and coaching days. That is an unbelievable accomplishment for this team. We’re going to carry that with us for a day and move on.”
UCI moved on from the afternoon elimination game with a 14-3 trouncing of San Diego State.