CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — If I could use one word to describe game one of the Charlottesville Super Regional, it would be “unexpected.” Virginia starter Nathan Kirby was the ACC’s Co-Pitcher of the Year. Against a team like Maryland in uncharted territory for their program, he was expected to go out and set the tone for a low-scoring weekend dominated by UVA pitching. Instead, he was chased in the fifth inning after giving up seven hits and five earned runs to the Terrapins.
We also figured if Maryland was going to have success today, it would be because Jake Stinnett was dominating. That really wasn’t the case either. He was good, giving up six hits and three runs in six innings, but he only struck out two and he never really cruised like he’s capable of
You also had to think that if the Cavaliers made a late push, the Terps would fold up like a cheap tent under the pressure of a situation they had never been in before. But that didn’t happen, either. With the score 5-2 Maryland, UVA scored a run in the sixth and then a run in the eighth to pull within one. Then, in the ninth, they put two runners on and you thought that maybe we were about to witness Maryland’s collapse. But instead, Terrapins closer Kevin Mooney shut the door and they walked away with a 5-4 win, putting them just one victory away from going to Omaha.
As he was in their clean sweep through the Columbia regional, Charlie White was the offensive star for Maryland. He banged out three hits and scored two runs. He got the scoring going in the first when he reached to lead off the game and then came home on an RBI groundout. Jose Cuas contributed two hits of his own with a run scored.
All told, three of the five Maryland runs scored on something other than a hit. One scored on a groundout, one scored on a squeeze bunt, and another scored on a sac fly.
Two things did go on as expected for UVA in this one, however. For one, Mike Papi led the offense. He went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. The second is that Whit Mayberry was fantastic in relief. After Kirby left the game, his team needed him to come in and settle things down and he did just that. He ended up throwing 4.1 innings, giving up three hits and no runs.
Even down 1-0 in the series, this is no time to get down on UVA. Not only are they a veteran group brimming with talent, but they have seen their fair share of adversity in home Super Regionals. It seems that Charlottesville Super Regionals always seem to be among the most dramatic every time we have one there. Already, you get the feeling this series is headed that way as well.
Game two is set for Sunday at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN2.