After a strange series opener that saw nothing really go as planned for Virginia, game two in the Charlottesville Super Regional was exactly how Brian O’Connor would have drawn it up for his team. For the first few innings of the game, both pitchers were giving us an escape act that Houdini himself would have been proud of.
Virginia’s Brandon Waddell has made a career out of doing just that and he did it with aplomb again on Sunday. In the first, he escaped runners on the corners. In the fourth, he escaped a bases-loaded jam with the help of a line-drive double play. In the fifth, he gave up three hits in the inning, but limited the damage and gave up just one run. In the sixth, he allowed two runners on with two outs and Artie Lewicki came in to shut the door for him.
For a while, Maryland’s Mike Shawaryn was keeping up with him. He had given up ten hits when he was removed in the seventh inning, and at the time, he had given up just two runs. His team was still very much in the game. But then the levee broke.
The Cavaliers put up three runs in that seventh inning before adding single runs in the eighth and ninth to put the game out of reach. The Terrapins did mount a small rally in the ninth inning, scoring two runs, but it was too little and too late, as Lewicki finished his outstanding outing to close out the 7-3 win.
The offensive attack was right on par with what Virginia has done all season. They pounded out 17 hits, 16 of which were singles. It was truly death by a thousand cuts for Maryland. Daniel Pinero, Mike Papi, and Kenny Towns had three hits each. Brandon Cogswell, Derek Fisher, and Brandon Downes had two apiece. John LaPrise, who had been among UVA’s hottest hitters in the postseason, was actually the only starter that didn’t register a hit.
On the mound, Waddell gave them exactly what they wanted. He threw 5.2 innings, scattering seven hits and giving up just one run. He wasn’t dominating, but he got deep into the game and he gave his offense time to break through on Shawaryn. Artie Lewicki, who was slated to start game three if needed, was great in relief. He threw 3.1 innings, giving up two hits and two runs (neither earned).
With nine hits, Maryland’s offense wasn’t particularly poor, but it’s tough to score when all nine hits came from the same four players. Brandon Lowe had three hits and Jose Cuas, Anthony Papio, and Kevin Martir had two each. And that was it. Those four were consistently on base and the hitters after them consistently left them on base.
The win for UVA Sunday forces a deciding game three on Monday. The game time is not yet set, as it depends on the results of other Super Regionals.