(2) Titans 5, Cavaliers 7
June 15, 2009
Virginia rocks ace to oust No. 2-seeded Cal State Fullerton
Updated: June 16, 2009, 2:22 AM ET
OMAHA, Neb. -- Virginia trumped another ace.
The Cavaliers beat All-American Daniel Renken and Cal State Fullerton 7-5 on Monday, extending their first appearance in the College World Series and eliminating the Titans.
Just two weeks ago, Virginia defeated San Diego State star and No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg in the regionals.
Virginia scored four times against Renken in the second inning, and he was finished in the sixth after allowing a season-high six runs.
"To put up four runs on an All-America pitcher like Renken is a great inning for us and, believe me, I wanted more," Cavaliers coach Brian O'Connor said.
The Cavs did get more, which was a good thing for them because Fullerton had the winning run at the plate in the ninth inning before Virginia secured its first win in Omaha.
Virginia (49-14-1) next plays Arkansas (40-23) in a Bracket 1 elimination game Wednesday. Fullerton (47-16) has lost five straight in the CWS.
• A year after Cal State Fullerton ended Virginia's season in the regional round, the Cavaliers picked up their first CWS win.
• Virginia is the third straight team to lose its Omaha debut and then win its second game (Louisville and UC Irvine in 2007).
• Fullerton joined LSU in 2003 as the highest national seed to go winless at the CWS (LSU was also a No. 2 seed that year; national seeding began in 1999).
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Renken (11-3), who had gone at least eight innings in 10 of his previous 11 starts, was taken out after Franco Valdes' two-out double in the sixth. Nick Ramirez came on and gave up a pair of RBI singles that made it a four-run game.
"I'm pretty upset with myself today for falling behind on counts and not sticking to my game plan," Renken said. "It was inexcusable for me. Virginia is a good team, but I made them look a lot better. That's my fault. I'll come back next year and prove I shouldn't have done that."
Dustin Garneau's two-run homer off Virginia starter Robert Morey put Fullerton up 2-0 in the second inning. Virginia took the lead for good in the bottom half by scoring four times.
Keith Werman, the Cavaliers' ninth-place hitter, singled home the tying run and Danny Hultzen hit a two-run single past diving right fielder Gary Brown.
Werman continued his key hitting in the College World Series, going 2 for 4 and driving in two runs. The 140-pound freshman is 6 for 9 with two doubles and three RBIs in two CWS games.
"Keith Werman is winning over the hearts of people here in Omaha," O'Connor said. "He's a special gutty player who comes up big again today."
Hultzen said he and his teammates drew confidence from beating Strasburg.
"A guy like Stephen Strasburg is a different case because he could be the best college pitcher ever," Hultzen said. "But we prepare for each starting pitcher the same way."
Fullerton, 21-9 in NCAA tournament elimination games since 1999, tried to come back against closer Kevin Arico in the ninth.
Joey Siddons had an infield single and Christian Colon reached on an error before Brown's RBI single.
Arico struck out Josh Fellhauer, but then Virginia shortstop Tyler Cannon's backhand flip to Werman pulled the 5-foot-7 second baseman off the bag as he tried to get the forceout, allowing another run to score.
Cannon redeemed himself moments later when Khris Davis grounded to him. This time Cannon made a perfect flip to Werman for the final out.
Virginia used five pitchers, with Andrew Carray (9-1) getting the win after taking over for Morey in the fifth. Carraway allowed four hits in 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
"He did a nice job, because the game was on the ropes a little bit when he came in," O'Connor said. "They had momentum working, and he calmed us down. That's what your senior veteran players do."
O'Connor, who grew up in the Omaha area and pitched for hometown Creighton in the 1991 CWS, said the Cavs showed poise in responding to Saturday's 9-5 loss to LSU in their opener.
"They've handled all this with an unbelievable amount of maturity," he said. "First time here, I thought we played a really good ball game on Saturday night. Bouncing back today is pretty special."
Fullerton saw its troubles in Omaha continue after breezing through regionals and super regionals.
"This wasn't the same team we saw the last five or six weeks of the season," coach Dave Serrano said. "No excuses, though. We were beaten fair and square. We didn't play a very good game today."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press