For the third time in six seasons, the University of Virginia baseball team has earned a trip to the College World Series.
In the final game of the best-of-three series against the University of Maryland, the Cavaliers led 6-0 after three innings and never looked back, cruising to an 11-2 victory at the Charlottesville Super Regional at Davenport Field Monday night.
Tunkhannock graduate and junior Mike Papi drove in the final run for the Cavaliers in the eighth with an RBI double and finished the game 1 for 5.
Papi, who was selected 38th overall by the Cleveland Indians in last week’s Major League Baseball draft. went 7 for 13 with 3 RBIs in the series against the Terps.
After a three-run first alotted some breathing room, three more runs in the third inning gave Virginia breathing room to go along with seven shutout innings on the mound from Josh Sborz.
In the eighth, the Terps finally found some life, scoring two runs and forcing the ‘Hoos to bring in their closer Nick Howard, a first-round selection of the Cincinatti Reds.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Howard forced a groundout to short, but a low throw spelled trouble for the Cavaliers.
But Papi made the pick to end the inning and save at least one run, giving the momentum back to Virginia and dashing Maryland’s hopes.
The ‘Hoos added five more runs in the eighth to put the game well out of reach and punch their ticket to Omaha, Nebraska.
The Cavs, now 49-14, lost the series opener on Saturday, 5-4, after going just 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
Papi reached in all five plate appearances, going 3 for 3 with two walks with an RBI and run scored.
In game two on Sunday, Virginia’s bats came alive for 17 hits and the Cavs went on to win, 7-3. Papi again had three hits with an RBI and run scored.
The College World Series kicks off Saturday, although the Cavs won’t play until Sunday, June 15, against Mississippi, which defeated No. 6 seed Louisiana-Lafayette on Monday night.
Virginia, which finished the season as the third seed, is the highest seed to advance to Omaha, and has a No. 1 seed in the double elimination bracket play.
Sunday’s game starts at 8 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN2. The Cavs then play Tuesday at either 3 or 8 p.m.