OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — It took 15 innings, but Nate Irving and Daniel Pinero finally got the job done for Virginia.
Pinero's sacrifice fly scored pinch runner Thomas Woodruff in the bottom of the 15th to give Virginia a 3-2 victory Tuesday night in a game that matched the longest in the College World Series' 66-year history.
Before Irving started the inning with a ground-rule double, the Cavaliers had 16 batters in a row retired.
"You've got to string hits together, you've got to find a break in this World Series these days, because these games are just tough to win," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said.
It was the longest game, as measured by innings, since Southern California beat Florida State 2-1 in 15 in the 1970 national championship game. Two other CWS games had gone 15. The game went 4 hours, 51 minutes, making it the fourth-longest ever on the clock.
Virginia (51-14), which had a walk-off 2-1 win against Mississippi on Sunday in nine innings, plays Friday in its bracket final. TCU (48-17) plays Ole Miss in an elimination game Thursday.
Artie Lewicki (8-1) got the win with two innings of no-hit relief. Trey Teakell (6-1) worked 2 1-3 innings and took the loss as players on both teams, swinging the restricted bats that entered the game in 2011, struggled to generate any offense with the wind blowing in at up to 30 mph at TD Ameritrade Park.
"It's hard to get offense when you're facing that kind of pitching, especially ... I got to be careful before I say some things about this ballpark that I'll regret, but it's just a travesty what we've done to college baseball," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
TCU pitchers retired every Virginia batter in extra innings before Irving's fly to left bounced over the wall to start the bottom of the 15th. Woodruff entered as a pinch runner and moved to third on Branden Cogswell's sacrifice.
Pinero fouled off two squeeze-bunt attempts before he lofted a fly to center. Cody Jones' throw toward home never had a chance to get Woodruff. The Cavaliers' bench and bullpen emptied, with everybody mobbing Pinero near second base.