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The top-seeded Cavaliers batted around during a six-run third inning Sunday in an 11-3 win against Elon to sweep their way through the Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field, advancing to a super regional after a year's absence.
Virginia's Whit Mayberry pitches against Elon in the NCAA regional Sunday in Charlottesville, Va.
Courtesy of University of Virginia
Virginia players celebrate during the Cavaliers’ six-run third inning on Sunday. UVa beat Elon 11-3 to advance to the NCAA super regionals next weekend in Charlottesville.
Monday, June 3, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — The reintroduction of Derek Fisher and Jared King led to the rediscovery of Virginia’s identity Sunday night as the Cavaliers played their way into college baseball’s super regionals.
Fisher and King were a combined 1 for 43 in NCAA play before they took a lead role in a six-run third inning that provided the momentum in UVa’s 11-3 victory over Elon at Davenport Field.
Virginia will play host to the winner of the Starkville (Miss.) Regional in a two-of-three series next weekend. Mississippi State (45-18) plays Central Arkansas (42-21) for the regional title tonight.
The Cavaliers, making their 10th straight NCAA appearance, went undefeated in the first round for the second time in three years and reached the 50-win mark for the third time in four years.
UVa (50-10) had beaten Elon 2-0 on Saturday night and faced the Phoenix again after Elon had rallied for a 6-4 victory over UNC Wilmington in the first game Sunday.
The Phoenix (34-30), who would have needed to beat Virginia twice to advance to the super regionals, quickly jumped on Virginia starter Whit Mayberry.
Elon first baseman Ryan Kinsella, second in the nation in home runs but previously 0 for 12 for the weekend, hit a two-run homer in the first inning and the Phoenix extended its lead to 3-0 on a Casey Jones double in the third.
UVa catcher Nate Irving opened the bottom of the third with a double. Then, after a Mike Papi flyout, King, a fifth-year senior from Pulaski County, drilled a ball just inside the left-field line for a run-scoring double.
Until then, King had gone 1 for 20 in NCAA games over the 2012-2013 seasons.
Fisher, a sophomore, was still looking for his first hit in NCAA play when his ground single eluded the grasp of second baseman Chris Bresnahan and brought home two runners.
Fisher had gone 0 for 23 before that.
One inning later, after the Cavaliers had batted around in the third, King and Fisher each had a hit in a two-run fourth inning.
“Derek Fisher, as a hitter, is so gifted,” UVa coach Brian O’Connor said. “If he just sticks with it and has confidence in himself, it’s just a matter of time before he has a monster day, even back-to-back monster days.”
Freshman left-hander David Rosenberger, who had been warming since the second inning, came on for Mayberry to start the fourth and was able to neutralize an Elon lineup that had been stacked with left-handed hitters against Mayberry, a right-hander.
Rosenberger (3-0) got credit for the win after pitching five innings of two-hit, shutout ball and facing the minimum of 15 batters.
“It was a pleasure to watch him pitch,” O’Connor said. “I have to give a ton of credit to coach [Karl Kuhn]. This guy is the best pitching coach in the country. The results show that for the last 10 years.”
O’Connor and Kuhn had a long discussion after the third inning.
“He loves Whit Mayberry; I love Whit Mayberry, but the right decision at the time was to change the momentum of the game,” O’Connor said. “He was emphatic about making that move and fortunately it worked.”
Elon, playing its fourth game of the weekend, sent senior right-hander Nate Young to the mound for his fourth start of the season, and Virginia did not get a runner past first base in the first two innings.
Young had been the Phoenix closer for most of the season and coach Mike Kennedy didn’t hesitate to pull him after Fisher’s RBI single in the third. Reliever Ryan Pennell was making his second appearance of the day and began a parade of Phoenix hurlers.
Southern Conference champion Elon used seven pitchers, with Kennedy clearly trying to get NCAA action for as many players as possible.
“If we had been playing a three-inning game, that would have been great, but even if it had been a three-inning game, we would have lost,” Kennedy said. “That’s [the third] when they had the six-run inning.
“When they were throwing a right-hander, we knew we had a shot. We’ve hit right-handers all year. When they brought the left-hander in, we knew we were in trouble.”
Elon 201 000 000 — 3 8 1
Virginia 006 210 11x — 11 14 0
Young, Pennell (3), Baker (5), Darnell (8), Kacer (9), Antonelli (9), Manez (9) and Swim. Mayberry, Rosenberger (4), Young (8), Sborz (8) and Irving. W— Rosenberger (2-0). L— Young (2-1).
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