Virginia Advances to Title Series
Omaha, Neb. — Robbie Coman’s two-run, bases-loaded single gave Virginia the lead, and Josh Sborz and two relievers limited Mississippi to six singles in a 4-1 victory Saturday that sent the Cavaliers to the College World Series finals.
Virginia (52-14), in the CWS for the third time, will go to the championship round looking for its first national championship in baseball. The Cavaliers will play Texas or Vanderbilt in the best-of-three finals starting Monday.
The Rebels (48-21) lost to Virginia for a second time in the CWS, ending their first trip to Omaha since 1972.
Sborz (6-4) threw 12 pitches on Friday before a heavy thunderstorm forced suspension of the game in the second inning. He was on the mound when play resumed and worked through the fifth inning. Artie Lewicki took over to start the sixth, and closer Nick Howard worked the ninth for his 20th save.
Virginia has allowed 15 hits and two earned runs in 33 innings of CWS play for an 0.55 ERA. The CWS record for lowest ERA in a series, in a minimum four games, is 0.60 by California in 1957.
Virginia, which had been batting .091 in the CWS with runners in scoring position, took a 3-1 lead in the fourth after loading the bases against Chris Ellis (10-3). Coman drove Ellis’ 1-0 pitch into right field for two runs, and another came home on Branden Cogswell’s squeeze bunt.
Joe McCarthy, who came to bat in the seventh 1 for 12 in the CWS, delivered an insurance run with a double deep into right center.
The Cavaliers stayed close after falling behind 1-0 thanks to some gritty work by Sborz in the third. Ole Miss loaded the bases on a single and two walks, but the threat ended when Sborz got Will Allen to line out to third.
Coman, who went 2 for 4, was in the lineup for the first time at the CWS, taking over for Nate Irving at catcher.
Irving had come to Omaha 3 for his last 34 and hitless in 18 at-bats, but he had come through in Virginia’s first two games. Last Sunday he scored the winning run against Ole Miss in the bottom of the ninth, and on Tuesday he bounced a hit over the left-field wall for a ground-rule double to set the stage for a 15-inning win over TCU.
But with Sborz on the mound, Coman drew the start Saturday, as he did when Sborz pitched Virginia to victory in the super regional-clinching win over Maryland two weeks ago.