Virginia strong in Game One win at CWS in Omaha

Posted by Andy Durham on June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am under College | Comments are off for this article

University of Virginia Cavaliers 4
University of California Bears 1

from Steve Phillips, formerly of the High Point Enterprise and now one of the top leaders at

OMAHA, Neb. – Danny Hultzen and Tyler Wilson were expected to provide a 1-2 pitching punch for Virginia in the 2011 College World Series. But few foresaw the Cavaliers making full use of that weapon in their very first game.

No one was surprised the see Hultzen – a consensus All-American and the No. 2 overall pick in the recent Major League Draft – get the starting nod for Sunday’s series opener against California. But when Hultzen threw over 100 pitches and was forced to depart with one out in the seventh inning of a scoreless game, the call went to the bullpen.

And on the receiving end was none other than Wilson – the same guy who earned All-ACC honors as the Cavaliers’ No. 2 weekend starter, the same guy who owned an 8-0 record and 2.29 ERA in 15 starts, and the same guy most assumed was in line to start Virginia’s second CWS game on Tuesday.

That Tuesday game will be a winner’s bracket contest, thanks in large measure to the relief stint Wilson provided. The Midlothian, Va., senior closed the door on the Bears in both the seventh and eighth innings, during which time the Cavaliers finally pieced together enough offensive punch to grab a 4-0 lead.

“I thought he was solid,” California coach Dave Esquer said. “I think he was their Saturday starter on the weekends for most of the year. He’s a quality pitcher – fastball with a good down breaking slider.

“Obviously,when you go from Danny Hultzen, it’s hard to stay at that level. But it wasn’t that it dropped off all that much. (Wilson) was just a different type of pitcher and he gave us a different look.”

Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said his decision to use Wilson out of the bullpen wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment hunch, but calculated decision.

Wilson had been a reliever for the first three years of his collegiate career, including a junior season that saw him post an 8-4 record out of the bullpen with a 3.41 ERA and three saves.

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