Virginia Tops Navy, 6-0, In NCAA Regional Opener
Nick Driscoll makes a play in Friday's game.
June 3, 2011
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia's Will Roberts struck out 14 batters and the No. 1 Cavaliers scored a total of four runs with two outs as they defeated Navy, 6-0, in the opening game of the NCAA Charlottesville Regional on Friday afternoon in front of a crowd of 4,749 at Davenport Stadium.
Navy (33-24-1) will now play either third-seeded St. John's or the second-seed East Carolina Pirates on Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner of Saturday's game will move on to play on Sunday at 1 p.m., while the loser will be eliminated from the tournament.
"It was one of those games where Will Roberts dominated," said Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "He had 14 strikeouts, no walks and he went right at some hitters. He just did a great job. Sometimes, the pitching is just going to get you, and I think it was that way today.
"Overall, when you step back and look at it, this is a great experience for our players. It's a great environment for us to be in. Games like this, all though we were on the short end today, are going to help our program down the road, and help us tomorrow."
After allowing a single to Greg Dupell with one out in the top of the fourth inning, Roberts went on to retire 17 consecutive hitters en route to the complete-game shutout and improving to 11-1 on the year.
"He definitely located his pitches well," said Dupell, who went 2-for-3 and extended his hitting streak to five games. "I don't know if he got stronger as the game went on, but he was consistent. It's tough to hit a pitcher when he's that consistent for nine innings."
Virginia's Danny Hultzen led the way at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs - all with two outs.
Holtzen gave Virginia (50-9) its first runs of the day when he belted a two-out triple down right field line, just out of the reach of Navy first baseman Kash Manzelli, which scored two in the bottom of the first. In another two-out situation in the bottom of the third with runners on first and second, Holtzen hit an RBI single to the gap in left center field to make the score 3-0.
Kenny Swab followed in the next at-bat with an RBI single to center field to give the Cavaliers a 4-0 lead.
After going down in order in the first inning, Navy picked up hits in the second, third and fourth innings, but each time Roberts and the Virginia defense stifled the Mids, not allowing them to build any momentum.
With two on and one out in the fourth, Virginia's John Barr singled through the left side to bring in a run and make the score 5-0. Facing the No. 3 hitter in the lineup, John Hicks, with two runners on base, it looked like the Cavs were in position to add to their total. But Nelson got Hicks to hit a grounder to Nick Driscoll at second, who started a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
Hicks capped the scoring in the bottom of the seventh when he led off with solo home run that bounced off the foul pole in left field.
Nelson picked up one more out in the seventh before giving way to Joel Rinehart. The loss dropped Nelson to 6-6, as he allowed six runs off nine hits, walked four and struck out three.
"I thought Ben did a good job today," said Kostacopoulos. "If we get a few more outs in there, maybe it's a different game."
Rinehart allowed just one hit the rest of the way and finished with two strikeouts.
In making his 16th start of the season on Friday, Ben Nelson tied Tom McLemore (1996) for second place on Navy's single-season games started list...With three strikeouts, Nelson now has 80 for the season and moved into ninth place on Navy's single-season strikeout list.
Nick Driscoll and Alex Azor are now tied with Thomas Hamilton (2008) for the most games started in a season with 58.
Joel Rinehart made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday which is now tied for the third-highest single-season appearance total in program history.
Navy is now 4-15 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.