The Virginia Cavaliers (54-10) win in dramatic fashion Monday afternoon with a 3-2 victory over UC Irvine (43-18), propelling the Cavaliers to the College World Series in Omaha later this week.
The No. 1 overall seed was one pitch away from being knocked out of this tournament but a two-out bases-loaded single by Chris Taylor in the bottom of the 9th inning scored pinch-runners Corey Hunt and Mitchell Shifflett to give Virginia the walkoff victory in one of the most exciting games of the tournament thus far.
David Coleman started the two-out rally in the 9th with a single before Jared King reached base on an infield single to the pitcher. With runners at first and second with two outs, pinch-hitter Reed Gragnani walked to load the bases for Taylor. The rest was up to Taylor, and he delivered the most important hit of the Cavaliers season to this point.
It was a heart-breaking loss for a UC Irvine team that came into this game as the underdog and came very close to knocking off the No. 1 team in the tournament. Jimmy Litchfield and his change-up threw fantastic in relief for the Anteaters as he went 4.1 innings, giving up just one run on three hits.
Will Roberts was also fanstastic as the Virginia starter went 7.1 innings in the most important start of the year for the Cavaliers. He gave up just one run on five hits with only one walk.
Virginia joins Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and California as the seven teams so far that have earned their spots in the College World Series next week. Texas A&M and Florida State are scheduled for 7pm ET with the winner filling the 8th and final spot in the CWS next week.