June 15, 2010

By Shane Mettlen
Special to NCAA.com

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Oklahoma took the long way to Omaha, but the detour through Virginia didn't keep the Sooners from getting to the College World Series.

Four home runs sparked the Sooners on the way to an 11-0 win in Game 3 of the NCAA Division I Baseball Charlottesville Super Regional, sending OU (49-16) to the CWS for the 10th time in program history and the first time since 1995.

Virginia (51-14) saw the season come to an end after setting a school record for victories. The Cavaliers won the first game, but dropped the next two of the best-of-three series, coming up one win short of a return trip to Omaha.

"They were the best club this weekend," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "They got hot at the right time, which is what it takes to get to Omaha. They deserved to win and they deserved to be advancing."

Cody Reine continued his eye-popping NCAA Tournament run with his second two-homer game in a row, part of a four-homer night for the Sooners.

Reine opened the scoring with a three-run blast in the first and Cameron Seitzer added a solo shot in the second to make it a 4-0 Sooners lead as OU made it an early night for the Cavaliers' starting pitcher for the second game in a row.

Pitching hadn't been a problem for the Cavaliers leading up to the Super Regional. Virginia entered the Super Regional with a team ERA of 3.76, 15th-best in the country, but the Oklahoma bats pounded two of their best starters.

Freshman right hander Branden Kline, like Cavs starter Robert Morey on Sunday, came into the game with an ERA of less then 4.00, but gave up that many runs in the first two innings. Kline (5-1) was in the game long enough to give up Reine's first homer of the night.

"I had to go out there and make quality pitches and unfortunately I missed my spot," Kline said. "I left a fastball right down the middle and he took advantage of it. I tried to concentrate (on catcher Franco Valdes) and make some quality pitches and unfortunately I left some pitches up."

O'Connor didn't waste any time going to the bullpen, calling on reliever Tyler Wilson in the second. But with the Oklahoma bats blazing and Virginia unable to string any hits together against OU starter Bobby Shore (1-4) it mattered little who Virginia had on the mound.

Shore locked down the normally potent Cavaliers offense, pitching eight shutout innings, scattering four hits and striking out five.

"I was in a groove and I was throwing strikes," Shore said. "I was just trying to keep the ball down and make them hit the ball weak. That's what I did today and it felt good."

Now Oklahoma gets ready to go back to the College World Series, which will be played at Rosenblatt Stadium for the final time. It's a place the Sooners got used to going in the 1990s, but haven't been to in a while.

"It's not an easy road to get to Omaha," Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway said. Golloway was an assistant with the Sooners the last time OU advanced to the CWS, under then-coach Larry Cochell.

"You want something so bad for some student athletes and you almost spend the whole day feeling guilty because I've been to Omaha and got to be a part of a national championship," Golloway said. "Our players clearly haven't been there and it's surreal. We're going to Omaha. We're looking forward to pulling up on the bus and seeing the statue and being part of the last year at that stadium."