June 3, 2005
CORVALLIS, Oregon - The #2 seeded Virginia Cavaliers (41-19) dropped a 5-3 decision to the #3 seeded St. John's Red Storm (40-16) in day one of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in the Corvallis Regional at Coleman Field at Goss Stadium on the campus of Oregon State University. UVa jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third inning and was tied 3-3 through five innings before the Red Storm plated two runs in the sixth inning to knock off the Cavaliers. Virginia threatened to cut into St. John's lead in the eighth inning when UVa had the bases loaded with one out, but was unable to cut into SJU's two-run lead as the Red Storm held on for the victory.
"This was a difficult loss to open up the NCAA Tournament," said UVa head baseball coach Brian O'Connor. "Craig Hansen from St. John's did a tremendous job in his first start in two years and he showed today why he's one of the top pitching prospects in the country. We battled him all day but we couldn't get the clutch hit and make the clutch pitch to get out of those two big innings in the fifth and sixth. We'll have another opportunity tomorrow to advance on to Sunday, and I still like our chances to do that because I believe we've got very good pitching depth."
In the bottom of the third inning, Virginia broke open a scoreless ballgame and made it a 2-0 contest by scoring a pair of runs in the side. The Cavaliers' Kyle Werman led off the inning with a bloop-single to left field before Ryan Zimmerman was later intentionally walked three batters later to put runners on first and second base with two outs. That's when UVa's Sean Doolittle stepped to the plate and ripped a two-run RBI-double to center field to drive in Werman and Zimmerman to make it a 2-0 game.
St. John's got on the scoreboard and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning by scoring three runs in the side. The Red Storm's Chris Joachim led off the inning by reaching base after being hit by a pitch before he scored a run three batters later on a RBI-single down the right field line by Will Vogl to cut Virginia's lead in half at 2-1. One batter later and with runners on first and third base, SJU's P.J. Antoniato tied the game at 2-2 when he lined a RBI-single into left field to drive in Joe Burke (who singled to reach base) to knot the game at two apiece. After a UVa pitching change, St. John's took its first lead of the game at 3-2 when the Red Storm's Eddie Schultz drew a bases loaded walk on four pitches to plate Vogl from third base.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cavaliers came back and tied the game at 3-3 by scoring a run to counter the Red Storm's three-run side. After Tim Henry reached base on a fielder's choice, he stole second base and advanced to third on a single by Matt Street before he scored a run in UVa's next at-bat when Zimmerman drove him in on a RBI sacrifice fly to right field.
But in the top of the sixth inning, St. John's snapped the tie and made it a 5-3 contest by scoring a pair of runs that would prove to be the difference in the game. With the bases loaded and one out, SJU's Antoniato drove in two runs with a RBI-single to center field to plate Jim Martin and Burke after both baserunners singled to reach base. That would be enough scoring to lift the Red Storm to the win.
The Cavaliers' Doolittle (3-2) took the loss after going 1.0 inning and allowed two runs on four hits. UVa starting pitcher Matt Avery went 4.1 innings and allowed three runs on five hits and walked three batters in a no-decision.
St. John's starting pitcher Craig Hansen (3-2) picked up the win after he went 7.0 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out a game-high eight batters. The Red Storm's Anthony Sullivan posted his second save of the game after going 0.2 of an inning and struck out one batter.
The Cavaliers will return to action on Saturday, June 4th when Virginia faces the loser of the #1 seeded Oregon State vs. #4 seeded Ohio State game at 1:00 PM (PT) at Coleman Field at Goss Stadium.
-- UVa --
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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