Coverage tonight of Virginia and Maryland for the right to go to the College World Series begins at 6:30
The University of Virginia baseball team has one game left at Davenport Field this season. The outcome of that game will determine whether the Cavaliers advance to college’s biggest stage — Omaha, Neb. — for the third time in six seasons.
At 7 p.m. Monday, UVa (48-14) hosts Maryland (40-22) in the final game of the best-of-three Charlottesville Super Regional. The winner moves on to the eight-team College World Series, which begins next weekend in Omaha.
Sophomore Josh Sborz (4-4, 3.38 ERA) will start on the mound Monday for the Wahoos, who are 33-4 at home this season. The game, which is sold out, will be shown on ESPNU.
The Terrapins took Game 1 of the series, winning 5-4 on Saturday afternoon, and the Cavaliers counter-punched 24 hours later, totaling 17 hits in a 7-3 victory before a capacity crowd of 5,001 at Davenport Field.
“Certainly there’s a lot of talent on this ball club,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said, “and they showed that today.”
This is O’Connor’s 11th season with the Cavaliers, who will be the home team Monday night as a result of winning the coin flip mandated by NCAA rules. He’s guided the `Hoos to the NCAA tournament every year and to the round of 16 in five of the past six seasons.
“There’s a lot of anxiety this time of the year,” O’Connor said. “I think that’s natural. I think that’s human nature. But I personally was as calm today as I ever have been at this time of the year, and that was because I know what these guys are made of, and I know the talent that they have.
“You gotta come beat us, because I think what we’re bringing to the table is pretty good.”
Papi said: “Our coaching staff had so much confidence in us today coming into the game. They were so confident in us and with that we were able to play relaxed and keep our approach. Being experienced players, we know that there’s a lot on the line and this could possibly be the last game, so we were going to leave it all on the field.”
That the first NCAA super regional to match ACC teams is going to a third game doesn’t surprise Maryland coach John Szefc.
“Realistically, it was going to be very difficult to come in here and beat these guys the first two [games],” Szefc said.