OMAHA, NE (WWBT) - Brian O'Connor handed the ball to Tyler Wilson when he needed a victory. And once again the Midlothian product did not disappoint.
Behind Wilson's great start, the Virginia baseball team remained in the hunt in the College World Series with an 8-1 win over California. Now the Cavs have to beat South Carolina the next two nights to make the CWS Championship Series.
Wilson (10-0) was brilliant in pitching 7.2 innings, tying a career high. He allowed just a run and five hits while striking out five. He did not walk a batter and cruised through most of the game, retiring 17 of 18 batters from the second into the eighth innings. Wilson now has thrown 10 innings in the CWS, earning both UVa wins while allowing just two runs.
Wilson becomes the third UVa pitcher to record 10 or more wins this season - a first in Virginia history. He joins Danny Hultzen, who owns 12 wins, and Will Roberts, who has 11 victories. Wilson also earned his 27th career victory, moving into a second-place tie with Jacob Thompson (2006-08) on the Virginia career wins ledger.
California starting pitcher Dixon Anderson (4-4) took the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) and four hits in 3.0 innings.
The Cavaliers' offense came alive with 11 hits Thursday, as all nine starters recorded at least one hit. Keith Werman went 2-for-2, scored two runs and laid down a pair of sacrifice bunts; he now is 4-for-7 (.571) in the CWS. Kenny Swab also notched a pair of hits, including a key single which was misplayed into a three-base error that allowed Swab to circle the bases.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Virginia plated two runs in the top of the third, staking the Cavaliers to an early 2-0 advantage. Jared King singled on the first pitch of the inning and advanced to second base on Werman's sacrifice bunt. Anderson's throw to first was wide and forced first baseman Devon Rodriguez off the bag for an error. Chris Taylor laid down a sacrifice bunt down the first base line, advancing the runners to second and third. King scored on a wild pitch, with Werman advancing to third. A sacrifice fly by John Barr scored Werman to give UVa the 2-0 edge.
The Cavaliers added four runs in the top of the sixth inning, storming out to a 6-0 lead against Cal reliever Kevin Miller. With one out Swab singled to center field, but scored easily on a three-base error when the ball skipped past center fielder Darrel Matthews and rolled all the way to the outfield wall near the 408 mark in dead center. David Coleman (Sr., Richmond, Va.) followed with a double down the left-field line and scored with two outs on a single by Werman, making it 4-0. Werman advanced to second on the throw when Coleman slid in safely at home. Taylor then plated Werman with a double into left-center. The base hit extended his team-best active hitting streak to 14 games.
California then went to the bullpen for the second time, bringing in LHP Louie Lechich, but Barr welcomed Lechich with a single to left to plate Taylor and cap the scoring streak.
Cal broke through with a run in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out Matthews singled to right field. He advanced to third with two outs on Austin Booker's single to left field. With runners on first and third and two outs, UVa head coach Brian O'Connor went to the bullpen and brought in Cody Winiarski. Tony Renda squeezed a base hit off the glove of a diving Taylor at shortstop, plating Matthews.
Virginia added two more runs in the top of the ninth inning to take an 8-1 advantage. Steven Proscia walked with one out, followed by a Danny Hultzen single up the middle to place runners at first and second. Swab reached on a fielder's choice when shortstop Marcus Semien threw errantly to second base, allowing Proscia to score. Corey Hunt, running for Hultzen, later scored on a Coleman groundout.