Virginia, St. John's search for pitchers for NCAA elimination game
It did not appear Virginia would need to worry about pitching on Monday after winning its first two NCAA baseball tournament games and entering Sunday with Robert Morey healthy and a bullpen mostly rested. But after a stunning 6-5 loss to St. John's, the Cavaliers enter Monday's elimination game against the Red Storm with questions on the mound.
The likely starter is either Cody Winiarski, who struggled in Friday's win over Virginia Commonwealth while throwing 86 pitches, or freshman Branden Kline, who threw 43 pitches in relief on Saturday and held Ole Miss to one run and two hits in three innings.
"One of the two," Virginia Coach Brian O'Connor said after Sunday's game. "That's what I'm leaning toward right now."
Tyler Wilson has displayed a rubber arm all year, so expect him to be prepared to pitch again. Closer Kevin Arico has not pitched this weekend, and could possibly enter the game for a two-inning save.
St. John's has even more pitching concerns, having played four games in three days. Red Storm Coach Ed Blankmeyer said it's the nature of tournament baseball to run into pitching problems on the final day of a regional, but his strategy is to call on anyone available for the final day.
"All hands on deck," Blankmeyer said. "Every one of these kids will take the ball. We got a bunch of a kids that are gamers, they're winners. In our tournament the last couple weekends, beating Louisville and doing some of the things we did, they're starting to believe. And we're young. Maybe young and stupid sometimes, but sometimes that naiveness, it's a little scary. It takes you a long way."
June 7, 2010; 11:35 AM ET
| Tags: Brian O'Connor, Virginia baseball
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