Cavaliers blank 'Eaters

With 24 seasons of Division I coaching and 38 seasons as a college head coach, Mike Gillespie has more experience than just about anyone in college baseball.

But all his years and all his wisdom couldn't save the 71-year-old UC Irvine skipper from mucking up the first important play of an NCAA Super Regional at Virginia's Davenport Field on Saturday.

Gillespie, coaching third base, said his misread of a slow roller off the bat of Drew Hillman with one out and runners on second and third in the first inning, helped provide some early momentum for the Cavaliers, who went on to a 6-0 triumph in front of a capacity crowd of 5,050.

"It was my fault," Gillespie, reached by telephone after the game, said of the play, on which Virginia recorded an inning-ending 5-3-4-2 double play to eliminate the last Anteater to reach third base. "We gave a sign that had the runners running on a ground ball. D.J. [Crumlich, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, advanced to second on a walk to Sean Madigan and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Hernandez] was all set to go, but I read [Hillman's tapper just top the left of the mound] as a comebacker and I gave the code word for [Crumlich] to stop. It was a breakdown on my part and it was a huge play in the game."

UCI (42-17) countered by throwing a runner out at the plate on a slow bouncer to third baseman Hernandez in the bottom of the first. But the Cavaliers (53-9), the No. 1 national seed, scored two in the third and broke it open on junior Jared King's three-run homer in the sixth off of UCI All-American starting pitcher Matt Summers.

King went three for four to pace a 12-hit attack by the hosts, who are now 3-0 against UCI in the postseason, in which they have outscored the 'Eaters, 19-1.

UCI had won the opening game of its two previous Super Regional appearances, in 2007 at Wichita State and in 2008 at LSU.

Summers, the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year who had won his previous nine decisions and his previous six starts, while giving up just one earned run and seven hits in 24 innings over his last three starts coming into Saturday, gave up a career-worst five earned runs in six innings.

Summers, who like Virginia starter Danny Hultzen stayed in the game after an 84-minute rain delay interrupted play in the top of the fourth inning, allowed a career-worst nine hits and took the loss to fall to 11-3. The fourth-round pick of theMinnesota Twins, whose earned-run averages went from 1.72 to 2.02, will need UCI to win Sunday and Monday to extend his college career with a berth in the College World Series.

Hultzen, a national Player of the Year candidate who was the second player taken in the major league draft last week, allowed three hits in 5 1/3 innings to improve to 12-3. He has not been scored upon in 12 2/3 innings against the Anteaters, who lost twice to the Cavs in the 2009 Irvine Regional at Anteater Ballpark.

Hultzen was also one of seven Cavaliers to have at least one hit. Chris Taylor, Steven Proscia and Kenny Swab all had two hits for Virginia, which has now won eight straight and has outscored opponents, 35-3, in four NCAA Tournament games.

Senior Cody Winiarski allowed one hit in 3 2/3 innings to complete the shutout and earn his first save of the season.

"Hultzen is really good, but he was not as good as he has been," Gillespie said. "He's probably a little tired."

Hultzen told the media after the game that he did not feel great in the heat and humidity. His three walks tied a season high and his three strikeouts were a season low.

"It was just one of those days, I guess," said Hultzen, who is now 32-5 with a 2.14 ERA in his career. His ERA in 2011 is 1.49. "I didn't have it. It's my job to just give [my team] the chance to win."

But if Hultzen was less than his best, UCI hitters failed to exploit it. Three double plays turned by the Cavs helped keep the 'Eaters, blanked for the sixth time this season but only the second time in their last 38 games, at bay.

Crumlich lined to center with one out in the third, as did junior designated hitter Jordan Leyland with one out in the fourth. Hillman bounced a ball through the right side with one out in the sixth and junior first baseman JordanFox singled with one out in the ninth to account for UCI's hits.

The first inning marked the only time UCI put its leadoff hitter on base as the 'Eaters stranded one runner in every inning but the fifth.

Gillespie said Summers competed well, but was not as sharp as he had been.

UCI will try to bounce back Sunday at 10 a.m. (ESPNU) with sophomore left-hander Matt Whitehouse (4-0 with a 2.14 ERA) opposing senior right-hander Tyler Wilson (8-0, 2.34).


NCAA Super Regional

Game 1

Virginia 6, UC Irvine 0


UCI 000 000 000 – 0 4 1

UVA 002 003 10x – 6 12 0

Summers, Hoover (7), Lines (7), Ferragamo (7), Hooper (8) and Shaeffer; Hultzen, Winiarski (6) and Hicks. W – Hultzen, 12-3. L – Summers, 11-3. Sv – Winiarski (1). HR – King (UVA).

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