Texas defeats Virginia 6-2 to reach bracket final at CWS


OMAHA, Neb. — Ivan Melendez singled in the go-ahead run, Zach Zubia broke the game open with a three-run double in the ninth inning, and Texas knocked Virginia out of the College World Series with a 6-2 victory in a weather-delayed game that ended early Friday.

The No. 2 national seed Longhorns (49-16) won their second elimination game to reach the Bracket 2 final. They’ll play Mississippi State and need to win Friday night and again Saturday to advance to the best-of-three finals next week.

Mike Antico singled and stole second before Melendez ripped a grounder up the middle to break a 2-2 tie in the top of the eighth, and the Longhorns got an inning-ending double play in the bottom half to turn back a Virginia threat.

Texas built a cushion when Zubia cleared the bases with a two-out double into the left-center gap. It looked as though Virginia might escape the inning when shortstop Nic Kent saved a run picking up a deflected ball and making an off-balance throw to get Douglas Hodo III at the plate on a close play upheld on video review.

The loss ended an impressive postseason run for the Cavaliers (36-27), who made the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 regional seed and were playing their seventh elimination game.

They had tied it in the fifth on Chris Newell’s second homer in two games and fifth of the season. It was the 400th home run of the national tournament, the most since it expanded to 64 teams in 1999.

The Cavs might have been able to take the lead in the sixth had it not been for Texas left-handed starter Pete Hansen knocking down Kent’s line shot up the middle with one out. Kyle Teel was running from second on the play and was thrown out at third when the ball deflected off Hansen’s glove to shortstop Trey Faltine.

Hansen left after that play, having gone 5 2/3 innings in his shortest start since March 30. The redshirt freshman was mostly effective, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out six.

Cole Quintanilla (5-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings and got the win, and Aaron Nixon went 1 2/3 innings for his ninth save. Matt Wyatt (4-2) took the loss after relieving Mike Vasil.

Vasil pitched seven innings to match his career high. He allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits with a walk. He struck out eight.

It was the third straight strong start for the Cavs at the CWS. Andrew Abbott pitched six innings in a 6-0 win over Tennessee on Sunday, and Griff McGarry took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in what turned out to be a 6-5 loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday.

The game started 3 hours, 39 minutes late because of rain and lightning. The 9:45 p.m. CDT first pitch was the latest at the CWS since an LSU-Alabama game on June 7, 1997, started at 11:40 p.m.

More NCAA baseball tournament coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-world-series and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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