Michaels, Abbott help Virginia beat Tennessee in CWS opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Logan Michaels homered for the first time this season, Andrew Abbott pitched six shutout innings and Virginia beat Tennessee 6-0 at the College World Series on Sunday.
Abbott and the Cavaliers held down a powerful Tennessee offense that averaged eight runs and hit 16 homers in its first five NCAA Tournament games.
Michaels hit Chad Dallas’ hanging breaking ball out to left in the second inning for only his second homer in 343 at-bats since he joined the Cavaliers in 2019. His RBI single to center began a four-run seventh inning, and he singled and scored the Cavs’ final run in the ninth.
Michaels came into the game batting .240 (6 for 25) in seven tournament games and .242 for the season. The senior catcher’s Father’s Day performance came as his dad, a three-year pancreatic cancer survivor, watched from behind the dugout. TV cameras showed Jeff Michaels holding the ball his son hit out.
Virginia (36-25) is the first team since 2008 to make it to Omaha after losing openers in regionals and super regionals. The Cavaliers, who made the tournament as a No. 3 regional seed, had to win six elimination games to advance to the CWS for the first time since they won the 2015 national championship.
Tennessee (50-17), the No. 3 national seed, came to the CWS off a six-home run game in a 15-6 super regional-clinching win over LSU. Against Virginia, the Vols had no extra-base hits, struck out 13 times and were held scoreless for the first time since April 16.
Abbott (9-6), who had worked out of the bullpen until this season, was masterful in leading the Cavaliers to their sixth shutout of the season, and second of the tournament, as well as 18th-year coach Brian O’Connor’s 750th career win.
The senior left-hander allowed five singles, walked two and struck out 10 before he turned the game over to Matt Wyatt to start the seventh. Dallas (11-2) went 6 1/3 innings and gave up four runs.
Tennessee, at the CWS for the first time since 2005, threatened three times against Abbott but couldn’t push a run across.
The Volunteers had runners on the corners with no outs in the first inning, and Abbott bookended strikeouts around a flyout.
They had runners at second and third with one out in the fifth with the top of their lineup coming up. Virginia second baseman Max Cotier saved a run with a leaping catch of Liam Spence’s liner, and shortstop Nic Kent went into the hole to pick up a grounder and throw out Max Ferguson.
Abbott’s best work might have come in the sixth when Tennessee had runners on second and third with one out. Luc Lipicus got caught looking at strike three and Jordan Beck went down swinging at a belt-high fastball.
Virginia: Plays on Tuesday night against the winner of the Mississippi State-Texas game Sunday night.
Tennessee: Plays on Tuesday afternoon against the Mississippi State-Texas loser.