CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - With the painful memories of losing in a do-or-die Super Regional game on their home field last season stinging in their minds, UVA would not let it happen again. The Wahoos scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat UC Irvine Monday at Davenport Field, sending them back to the College World Series for the second time in three years.
After the game, UVA head coach Brian O'Connor called it the "best game in school history".
Virginia will open play at the College World Series on Sunday, June 19, against California at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. That game will begin at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN and online at ESPN3.com. UVa will be making its second trip in the last three years to Omaha.
Taylor was one of four Cavaliers with two hits on the day, along with John Hicks, Kenny Swab and David Coleman. D.J. Crumlich had three hits and Tommy Reyes had two hits to lead the Anteaters.
Sophomore Branden Kline got the win for Virginia, improving to 4-1. He pitched the final 1.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit. Cavalier starter Will Roberts went the first 7.1 innings, allowing one run on five hits.
Matt Summers, UC Irvine's starter for game one of the series on Saturday, pitched in relief and took the loss, falling to 11-4 on the season. He pitched 1.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Anteater starter Crosby Slaught pitched three-plus shutout innings and Jimmy Litchfield allowed one run in his 4.1 innings of relief.
UC Irvine (43-18) took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the fourth. Crumlich led off with a double down the leftfield line. He moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on Brian Hernandez's RBI groundout.
The Cavaliers (54-10) drew even in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Swab hit a solo homer over the leftfield wall. It was his first home run of the season and tied the game 1-1.
UC Irvine retook the lead with a run in the top of the ninth. Sean Madigan led off the inning with a single to centerfield. Hernandez followed with a bunt, but the throw to second went into the outfield and the Anteaters had runners at first and third with no outs. Drew Hillman grounded into a double play, but Madigan came around to score the go-ahead run.
Virginia came from behind win a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth. After the first two batters were retired, Coleman started the comeback with a single up the middle. He was replaced by pinch-runner Mitchell Shifflett. Jared King followed with an infield single off the pitcher to give UVa runners and first and second. Pinch-hitter Reed Gragnani drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases and Corey Hunt entered the game to run at second for King, setting the stage for Taylor's game-winning hit. After taking a strike, Taylor sent the next pitch up the middle into centerfield, bringing in both Shifflett and Hunt.
The win was Cavaliers' 54th of the season, extending their school record.