Maryland has some competitors in the upcoming women's track and field NCAA championships, but, whatever. They'll run or jump or whatever they do and it won't make a ripple. For all real intents and purposes, UVA just closed the book on 60-ish years of Maryland and the ACC. You can leave the exit fee right there in the clubhouse. Cash only, please, no checks.
Last time the Hoos tripped out to Omaha, major drama was involved. No such doings this time. UVA took Maryland's best shot, reeled a tiny bit, and then let slip the dogs of war. The most meaningful run Maryland would score in games 2 and 3 was a single scratch-out against Brandon Waddell on Sunday, tying game 2 at 1 run each; UVA got that one right back the next chance they got and the Terps would from then on score only too late. I guess going from 6-0 to 6-2 counts as a miniature rally, but Nick Howard needed exactly one pitch to snuff it and by the time he returned to the hill, he'd been given five more runs to work with. Not that he needed it; just a little something to put the home crowd in a good mood.
It should worry UVA's Omaha opponents that the Hoos won these games without major contributions from their best players. Nathan Kirby pitched very eh on Friday, and was still almost bailed out. Nick Howard didn't even throw until game 3, then threw one pitch of any import and then, well, it's not like he was the only guy who could've protected that nine-run lead. Mike Papi came to the plate in the 8th on Monday, with his team already ridiculously comfortable in their lead, and the announcers pointed out he was the only one not to reach base that night. (And then he hit a double.)
The CWS field is now set, of course, with UVA learning their opponent about 15 minutes after getting up from the dogpile. That will be Ole Miss. Vengeance Tour '14 is now flipped on its head, with Mississippi awaiting in Omaha and UC-Irvine on the other side of the bracket, and let's hope the revenge trail has gone cold. The Rebs are several steps up from the kind of competition UVA has faced so far. That game will be Sunday in prime time. Halfway there, folks.
-- The CWS schedule meshes just beautifully with the World Cup. UVA plays on the 15th; USA vs. Ghana is a day later. USA vs. Portugal is the 22nd, which happens to be the day in between the "if necessaries" for the double-elimination round and the start of the best-of-three; USA vs. Germany is the day after Game 3.
-- I absolutely need to single out Joe McCarthy because his 3rd-inning base hit was pure hit-and-run perfection. The ball skipped merrily through the exact spot that had been recently vacated by the base-covering shortstop.
-- Last weekend the regional announcer said that this was a much more athletic UVA team than ones he'd seen in the past. After seeing some of the leaps to the top of the dogpile, I believe it.
-- Is there a worse feeling in baseball than leaving your glove on the wrong side of the fence and then having to chase down an eventual triple? That has to be even worse than if the ball had landed over the fence too.
-- I don't know whether 17 hits is the more amazing stat, or 15 singles.
-- Omaha and a basketball title (and the Sweet 16) in one year; not too shabby.