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The Cavaliers, striking out 12 Cadets, opened play in the NCAA tourney with a win for the fifth consecutive year.
Virginia's Kenny Towns (9) is tagged out at home by Army catcher Andrew Johnson (35) during the sixth inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament regional game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, May 31, 2013.
UVa | File May
Virginia first baseman Jared King (right) and third baseman Kenny Towns celebrate after beating Army in the NCAAs.
JIM DAVES | Virginia
Left-hander Brandon Waddell held the Cadets to three singles over seven innings Friday.
Friday, May 31, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE - From a baseball team that ranks among the national leaders in a variety of hitting categories, Virginia's 2-1 victory over Army was all about pitching.
Left-hander Brandon Waddell held the Cadets to three singles over seven innings and combined with closer Kyle Crockett to strike out 12 as the Cavaliers opened the NCAA tournament with a win for the fifth consecutive year.
"Our starting pitching, all year long, has kept us in the ballgame," said UVa coach Brian O'Connor , who agreed that his pitching staff has been underrated.
"There has been times when it has been dominant, but not very often. Fortunately, early in the season, we found the right roles for each of our pitchers and have kept them in those roles the whole season."
Waddell, a 6-foot-2, 160-pound freshman from Houston, was UVa's starter in its opening game of the season Feb. 14 at East Carolina and remained in the No. 1 spot in the rotation through ACC play.
On Friday, he was pitching for the first time since the Cavaliers dropped a 10-1 decision to Virginia Tech in the first game of the ACC tournament. He gave up 10 hits and six runs (two earned) in four innings that day.
"It always comes back to making pitches and knowing that you've got a whole team behind you," Waddell said. "You're not the only one out there. I just put [the Virginia Tech game] completely behind me."
Waddell ( 3.80 ERA ) was pitted against Army senior Chris Rowley, a 2012 All-American who came into the game with a 20-4 record over the past two seasons.
One of those losses occurred in the first game of the 2012 Charlottesville Regional, when Virginia defeated the Cadets 9-1 in a game that was halted by rain in the first inning, resulting in a postponement until the next day.
Upon his return, Rowley walked five batters and hit four.
"It was nice to come down here and complete a better [game]," Rowley said, "but there's never a perfect game. There's obviously more that I could have done."
Rowley held the Cavaliers to eight hits before handing off to reliever Brian Hapeman to start the eighth, at which point Rowley had thrown 122 pitches.
Rowley had thrown 148 pitches in his previous start and didn't hesitate when asked about his pitch limit.
"In short, I don't have one," he said.
At that point, coach Joe Sottolano interrupted and said Rowley probably had thrown more than 100 pitches in a game fewer than five times in his career.
The Cadets (29-22) staked Rowley to a 1-0 lead when Jacob Page, who had singled to lead off the fifth, scored on a squeeze bunt by No. 9 hitter Grant Van Orden.
Virginia (48-10) responded in the fifth inning with its only two runs. After No. 8 hitter Kenny Towns doubled, catcher Nate Irving missed two bunt attempts before his single moved Towns to third.
Mike Papi 's single made it 1-1, and freshman Joe McCarthy had another single to provide all the insurance UVa would need. McCarthy, the ACC freshman of the year, had three singles and a walk in four plate appearances.
Virginia's first five batters reached base in the fifth, but Rowley worked out of a bases-loaded jam, striking out Nos. 4 and 5 hitters Brandon Downes and Derek Fisher before Reed Gragnani flew out to center.
Waddell retired the last 11 batters he faced before turning the ball over to Crockett, who saw the Cadets put runners on first and second with two out in the eighth. Crockett induced a ground out and then struck out the side in the ninth.
"For [Waddell and Crockett] to have 12 strikeouts, that's almost unheard-of against us," Sottolano said.
Army 000 010 000 - 1 5 1
Virginia 000 020 00X- 2 9 0
Rowley. Hapeman (8) and Johnson; Waddell, Crockett (8) and Irving. W-Waddell. L-Rowley. S-Crockett.
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