So much that was said about the Lake Elsinore regional came true. Evenly-matched? Yup - the regional flipped upside-down right out of the gate, with the top two teams both facing elimination after one day. UCSB as a shaky host? Yup again - the only one seed not to win a game. And UVA needing to race through at top speed or else miss out on the supers? I guess we don't know for sure, which is good.
But BOC sure felt that way. In other years, Josh Sborz probably wouldn't have been kept on the mound after his team padded a 3-1 lead with three more runs brought to you by Geico. And he wouldn't have been asked to "save" a five-run lead after pitching the previous two days, either. Sborz's usage tells you all you need to know about how BOC felt about stretching out the series, which is to say, DON'T, at all costs short of shredding all his elbow ligaments.
It's obvious why: come the 11th inning, the Hoos were down to one unused pitcher, who was also the center fielder. Had UVA lost that game I don't know what the hell, man. You'd have had to hope a combination of Adam Haseley and Alec Bettinger could've gotten you through seven innings, eight if you're really lucky, and then I suppose more of Sborz (who wouldn't have gone on Sunday if he wasn't protecting a lead) and then some dudes who'd pitched like three innings all year.
Scary thought. Less scary had San Diego State held on in the losers' bracket, because their pitching staff is in even worse shape, which makes me sort of wish they'd beaten USC and then us on Sunday to set up a hitters' duel for the ages. If 14-10 represents the mutual near-collapse of two pitching staffs, I'd've bet everything on the over in a UVA-SDSU matchup on Monday. I guess we'll just have to settle for winning the regional the semi-easy way.
A lot of credit goes to hitting that was clutcher than clutch. Ernie Clement delivered the game-winning hit on Saturday and almost the whole lineup made Sunday happen, but for my money the guys who won this regional are Connor Jones and Brandon Waddell. This simply doesn't happen if they don't both pitch into the eighth, combine for sixteen innings, and allow one lousy run each. UVA will advance through the tournament as long as those two pitch lights-out, and be eliminated when they don't.
I have yet to exult in UVA's 22nd national championship, so: woohoo tennis! Five schools have won multiple national championships this season - UConn, Colorado, Ohio State, Stanford, and, of course, because I wouldn't mention it otherwise, UVA. Three years ago, men's tennis was a program with a rep for being that program that couldn't get over the hump. Now with two trophies, they've taken their place in the elite. Hopefully for quite some time.
I was also going to write about consecutive trophies, but I forgot it was two years ago they won their first. I realized I was thinking of Danielle Collins's individual singles championship last year. Silly me, mixing up our powerhouse programs like that. It didn't help my muddled situation that Ryan Shane won the singles title this year. All these damn trophies are so confusing to keep track of. How I long for the simplicity of life in Blacksburg and the clean, uncluttered trophy cases and freed-up postseason schedules. Oh wait no I don't.
-- Don't you love when you watch this really long drawn-out recruitment that takes years and then the subject of said recruitment sticks around for one season and then boogies? Jamil Kamara's name first popped up when he was a high school freshman at Princess Anne. His full UVA career: one catch, six yards. Unlike the loss of Greyson Lambert I don't really chalk this up to the fact that this program is the result of a crash between a fireworks truck and an oil tank. I guess you could argue that there's excessive WR depth and that the inmates are just a little too much in charge of the asylum when it comes to redshirting decisions. I'd happily concede both points. It's just that Kamara's overinflated opinion of his readiness is why he didn't redshirt last year in the first place, and why he'll be suiting up elsewhere next year.
-- I know the baseball team's camo unis have a near-perfect win-loss record. I still hate them. Especially when the home whites are so damn classy-looking and they finally got a set of decent road grays. I'd just hate to think we might finally win a national title and all the lasting images of the team that does so would be in brown.