Virginia wins NCAA regional as bats awaken

Sometimes, pedigree matters, and once Virginia scored its six-pack, this one was about done.

Reliever David Rosenberger, a freshman left-hander with a microscopic 1.42 ERA in 18 previous appearances, made sure of that, silencing the Phoenix (34-30) for five innings, his longest stint this season in his first NCAA tournament appearance.

During this regional, the Cavaliers bullpen worked shutout 11 innings. In the three games, Virginia allowed four runs while opponents batted .221.

"Hitting, you have all heard this many times, is the hardest thing to do in sports," O'Connor said Saturday, "and it can come and go. I've always talked about how, to win at championship time, you have to pitch and you have to defend."


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Aside from whether Virginia's bats would stir, another question that loomed Sunday was whether closer Kyle Crockett would be available, and if so, for how long.

Crockett recorded two-inning saves Friday and Saturday, and while he worked three consecutive days in April against Wake Forest, those appearances totaled only 3.1 innings. In four shutout innings Friday and Saturday, Crockett fanned seven and walked none.

"We've had some pretty special closers here, and this is no disrespect to any of them, but this guy is the best," O'Connor said after the 2-0 victory over Elon.

A graduate of Poquoson High, Crockett was voted the regional's most outstanding player.

Virginia's bats made the Crockett question moot. He enjoyed a much-deserved day off and will be fully rested for next weekend.

If the Cavaliers can match, or even approach, this weekend's pitching in the super regional, they'll be bound for the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., for the third time in five years.

David Teel can be reached at 757-247-4636 or by email at dteel@dailypress.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/ teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP

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