Top Performers: CWS Day 4
Tuesday proved to be a great day in Omaha.
It started off with Mississippi staving off elimination by beating Texas Tech 2-1 with a RBI single by John Gatlin in the bottom of the ninth. That base hit sent the Red Raiders home from their first trip to the College World Series without a win.
As good as the day's first game was, it turned out to be just a teaser for the nightcap. TCU and Virginia were locked in a pitcher's duel but it was the Cavaliers edging the Horned Frogs 3-2 in 15 innings. Now the Cavaliers get to rest until their game at 8 p.m. ET Friday.
Let's see who were the top performers on a day that saw two walk-off wins at the CWS for the first time since June 21, 2005.
DANIEL PINIERO, VIRGINIA
Daniel Piniero's stat line wasn't dominating, but it was that one RBI that proved important. Just as the clock struck midnight in Omaha, Piniero hit a long flyball to centerfield that drove home pinch runner Thomas Woodruff (who scored the winning run on Sunday night) to end the game in the 15th inning. That probably makes up for failing to get a bunt down on the first two strikes. "Coach [Kevan McMullan, assistant coach] put the bunt sign down, and I missed twice, two curveballs," Piniero said. "Then I just went into a two-strike approach and he threw me another curveball. I just stayed back and put it in the air and got the job done."
ARTIE LEWICKI, VIRGINIA
There were a number of very strong pitching performances from Tuesday's late game, but Artie Lewicki's may have been the most important. He pitched the 14th and 15th innings out of the bullpen and prevented the Horned Frogs from having any shot at driving in a run. He faced just the minimun six batters in those two innings and recorded two strikeouts during that time. To add to his performance, he came into the game with a 1-1 count to Garrett Crain, who was immediately pinch hit for by Will Fox. "I just felt like [the Frogs] were going to bunt, and I wanted to make a switch because one move, one decision, one move in a game like this can be the difference whether you win or lose the ballgame," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor.
CHRISTIAN TRENT, OLE MISS
With Ole Miss' offense high-powered offense shut down for most of the day by Texas Tech, Christian Trent needed to keep the Red Raiders off the board. That's exactly what he did in his eight innings of work. Thanks in part to a devastating breaking ball, Trent struck out six Red Raiders while only giving up six hits. Trent seemed to come through with a big pitch when he needed it, stranding a Red Raider at second or third in four innings. "Normally it takes a little while to get my [secondary pitches] going," Trent said. "But I felt early on, fastball command was good. Really got a good use of my slider and changeup. So I was able to keep [Texas Tech] off balance and use those pitches in full effect."
JOHN GATLIN, OLE MISS
John Gatlin made his fourth hit of the season count. His bloop single on a 1-2 pitch drove in Aaron Greenwood for the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth. That hit broke a four-game losing streak for the Rebels at the CWS, with its last win in Omaha coming in 1969. "That's what makes this team special, we contribute in so many different ways," Gatlin said. "When the game is on the line like that, we're called upon in different situations. Every one of us feels like we're prepared for it and expected to get the job done."