Friday, June 5, 2009

WAHOO HORSEHIDE SQUAD ARRIVES SAFELY IN MISSISSIPPI


The Virginia baseball team takes a trip into uncharted territory this weekend, competing in the program’s first-ever super regional as the Cavaliers travel to Ole Miss to play in the NCAA Oxford Super Regional.

The best-of-three series begins at 2 p.m. Friday on ESPN2. Game two is slated for noon Saturday on ESPN2, while the third game (if necessary) is at 3 p.m. Sunday. The winner of the series earns a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., beginning next Saturday.

UVa is looking for its first-ever CWS berth, while Ole Miss has not reached the CWS since 1972.

All three games also will be available on ESPN360.com. The Saturday and Sunday games will be a split national broadcast. Viewers in Virginia, the D.C. area and Mississippi will receive exclusive coverage of the Ole Miss-Virginia game, while viewers in the rest of the country will get whiparound coverage of Ole Miss-UVa as well as another game.

Both teams had practice sessions Thursday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field on the Ole Miss campus.Virginia (46-12-1) has won eight straight games heading into the super regional.

After winning the final game of their series May 16 at Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers ran off four straight wins (including three over NCAA tournament host teams) to win the ACC Baseball Championship before sweeping three contests at the NCAA Irvine Regional last weekend.

Virginia gave up only two runs in the NCAA Irvine Regional – the fewest number of runs allowed in an NCAA regional since the tournament went to a 64-team format in 1999. The previous low was three, set by Arizona State in 2003.

The Cavaliers will start LHP Danny Hultzen (Fr., Bethesda, Md.) in the opener Friday. He will be opposed by RHP Phillip Irwin of Ole Miss. Saturday, the Cavaliers will start RHP Robert Morey (So., Virginia Beach, Va.), while the Rebels have yet to announce a starter.

Ole Miss is 43-18 this season after winning the NCAA Oxford Regional last week. The Rebels defeated Monmouth and Western Kentucky in the regional, then lost to the Hilltoppers before rebounding to top WKU in the second regional championship.

The Rebels earned the SEC West Division title this year after going 20-10 in the SEC. Ole Miss is particularly strong in front of its home fans and has gone 27-9 at home this year. Tim Ferguson leads Ole Miss with a .361 batting average.

Jordan Henry is the motor of the Rebels’ offense, with a .347 batting average and a team-high 35 stolen bases.Virginia is making its first-ever trip to Ole Miss.

The teams have met just two times previously, and ironically both came in the 1972 NCAA District III Playoffs. UVa won the first game, 9-3, before the Rebels took the second, 9-0.

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