OMAHA, Neb. — It took 15 innings, but Nate Irving and Daniel Pinero finally got the job done for Virginia.
Pinero’s sacrifice fly scored pinch runner Thomas Woodruff in the bottom of the 15th to give Virginia a 3-2 victory Tuesday night in a game that matched the longest in the College World Series’ 66-year history.
Before Irving started the inning with a ground-rule double, the Cavaliers had 16 batters in a row retired.
“You’ve got to string hits together, you’ve got to find a break in this World Series these days, because these games are just tough to win,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said.
It was the longest game, as measured by innings, since Southern California beat Florida State 2-1 in 15 in the 1970 national championship game. Two other CWS games had gone 15. The game went 4 hours, 51 minutes, making it the fourth-longest ever on the clock.
Virginia (51-14), which had a walk-off 2-1 win against Mississippi on Sunday in nine innings, plays Friday in its bracket final. TCU (48-17) plays Ole Miss in an elimination game Thursday.
Artie Lewicki (8-1) got the win with two innings of no-hit relief. Trey Teakell (6-1) worked 2 1-3 innings and took the loss as players on both teams, swinging the restricted bats that entered the game in 2011, struggled to generate any offense with the wind blowing in at up to 30 mph at TD Ameritrade Park.
“It’s hard to get offense when you’re facing that kind of pitching, especially … I got to be careful before I say some things about this ballpark that I’ll regret, but it’s just a travesty what we’ve done to college baseball,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
TCU pitchers retired every Virginia batter in extra innings before Irving’s fly to left bounced over the wall to start the bottom of the 15th. Woodruff entered as a pinch runner and moved to third on Branden Cogswell’s sacrifice.
Pinero fouled off two squeeze-bunt attempts before he lofted a fly to center. Cody Jones’ throw toward home never had a chance to get Woodruff. The Cavaliers’ bench and bullpen emptied, with everybody mobbing Pinero near second base.
After Pinero failed to get a bunt down, he went to his two-strike approach.
“He threw me a high curveball,” he said, “and I stayed back and put it in the air.”
Mississippi 2, Texas Tech 1
OMAHA, Neb. — Pinch hitter John Gatlin’s single into short right field over a pulled-in, five-man infield in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Mississippi a 2-1 victory over Texas Tech in a College World Series elimination game Tuesday.
The exciting finish came after Texas Tech had tied it in the top of the ninth on a couple daring steals and a sacrifice fly.
Ole Miss (47-20) or Virginia on Thursday in another elimination game. The Red Raiders (45-20) went 0-2 in their first CWS.
Ole Miss won after Colby Bortles walked with one out. Brantley Bell hit a comebacker to Cameron Smith, who tried to force out Bortles at second. But he threw high into center field, allowing Bortles to go to third.
Aaron Greenwood then pinch ran for Bortles, Dominic Moreno came on to face Gatlin and Texas Tech shifted an extra player to the left side of the infield and went with only two outfielders. Gatlin punched a 1-2 pitch over second base, Greenwood scored, and the celebration was on.
Scott Weathersby (4-4) got the win for an inning of relief of left-hander Christian Trent, who allowed six hits, walked one and struck out six in eight innings.
Smith (8-3), the fourth of five Texas Tech pitchers, took the loss after working a third of an inning. Tech starter Ryan Moseley had pitched 7 1-3 strong innings.
Tech tied it 1-1 in the top of the ninth. Adam Kirsch singled with one out, and Zach Davis entered as a pinch runner. With pinch hitter Anthony Lyons at the plate, Davis stole second and third. Lyons then lofted a sacrifice fly to right to bring in Davis, who is 9 for 9 on steals this season.
Ole Miss broke a scoreless tie in the seventh in what, up to then, had been another frustrating offensive day. The Rebels had entered the CWS with a .303 batting average that was best among the eight teams in Omaha. But they managed only one hit in their 2-1 loss to Virginia on Sunday and were 4 for 49 (.082) in the CWS when Holt Perdzock stepped in against Ryan Moseley.
Perdzock, who drove in the Rebels’ only run against Virginia on a groundout, sent Moseley’s first pitch down the third-base line between the bag and Ryan Long’s glove. That allowed Sikes Orvis, who had reached on an error, to score from second.
Ole Miss is 13-9 in one-run games this season, including 2-1 in the NCAA tournament.
Texas Tech was 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position in two CWS games, including 0 for 6 on Tuesday.