OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — With one swing of the bat, Mike Papi delivered a victory for Virginia in its College World Series opener and kept a sensational pitching performance from potentially going to waste.
Papi's RBI double into right-center with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Virginia a 2-1 win Sunday night. The Cavaliers' win came as Nathan Kirby and Artie Lewicki combined for the first one-hitter at the CWS in 31 years.
"I'm playing for the guys next to me. I'm doing everything I can to get the job done," Papi said. "When we have two guys like Nathan and Artie do a fantastic job and only give up one hit, our offense needs to put it together and give them more run support."
The win sent Virginia (50-14) into a winners game against TCU on Tuesday night. Ole Miss (46-20) meets Texas Tech in an elimination game in the afternoon.
"I thought they outplayed us tonight," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "Not by much, but enough to make a difference, especially in this tight of a ball game."
Virginia was just 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position when Papi went to the plate in the ninth. The Rebels elected to pitch to the Cavaliers' top hitter and RBI leader even though first base was unoccupied.
Aaron Greenwood (3-2) ran the count full before Papi drilled the ball into the gap, allowing Nate Irving to score from second.
"We kept getting opportunities and couldn't get that big hit to tack on some more runs," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "I guess we saved it for the dramatic there in the ninth."
Lewicki (2-0) earned the win after Kirby gave up one hit and one run over seven innings. Ole Miss converted two walks and a groundout to tie it in the eighth.
The one-hitter was the first since Alabama's Alan Dunn and Tim Meacham combined for one against Arizona State in 1983, and came after Kirby had pitched poorly and took the loss in last week's super-regional opener against Maryland.