If you enjoyed a true pitcher dual, then for the first 6 innings this was the game for you. The Trojans outstanding defense and a dominating performance from Kyle Davis was the highlight of the NCAA Regional Opening Round for USC. Trojan RHP Kyle Davis was hitless through 6 innings. The USC offense, however, struggled mightily in the low scoring affair. USC was able to get two runners on in the bottom of the first before an inning ending double play. The Trojans failed to produce much more offense afterwards. Throughout most of the game there was an undeniable feeling that the Trojan offense would explode at any moment, until it didn't.
Catcher Garrett Stubbs picked up his second single of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning followed by an error that put Martinez on first and advanced Stubbs into scoring position. The Trojans had runners at first and second with one out in a tie game. Timmy Robinson popped out allowing Stubbs to tag up giving the Trojans runners on the corners with two outs. With a runner in scoring position Dante Flores hit a weak grounder to the pitcher for an easy final out to end the inning. USC once again left runners on and failed to help out their pitcher.
7th inning implosion:
On the first pitch of the 7th inning the ball was hit cleanly but third baseman Blake Lacey was unable to field it cleanly. An error put a runner on first for Virginia, but Davis' no hitter was still intact. The next at bat however went for a single into left field officially ending the no hitter and put runners on first and second for the Cavaliers. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out in the seventh. A hit that bounced off the glove of Davis allowed the runner at third score. The batter was out at first, but the damage was done. Virginia took a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch got past Stubbs allowing the runner on third to score providing a 2 run lead and the game had really begun to unravel for the Trojans.
USC finally got out of the top of the seventh. The bottom of the seventh came and went quickly. With the offense struggling this greatly a two run lead already seemed insurmountable and it was. A hit, bunt and error tacked on another run for Virginia in the 8th leaving the Trojans with only 6 outs to pull off a 3-run comeback.
With a runner on second and 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th Martinez knocked a single that drives Stubbs home and USC finally is on the board causing Virginia to make a pitching change in order to protect their 3-1 lead. Robinson struck out to end the inning largely thanks to some very questionable calls and a vastly expanded strike zone. Virginia held on to the lead headed into the 9th inning.
For as dominant as the Trojan defense was in the first 6 innings their defensive collapse in the final 3 innings was equally impressive. Poor fielding in the 9th inning cost the Trojans an additional 3 runs headed into the bottom of the 9th. Barring a miraculous reversal of fortune the Trojans would clearly not mount a 5 run comeback down 6-1.
The Trojans went out with a whimper and Virginia wins 6-1.
Kyle Davis final stats- 8.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 2 K. Even though Kyle Davis officially gave up six runs it is very difficult to place this loss on him.